The Balearic Association of Tourism Property Rentals (Habtur) yesterday confirmed that it is going to legally challenge the discussions taken by the Council of Majorca and Palma City Council to introduce “zoning” to stipulate which property owners and in which area they can rent their homes out as short term holiday rentals.

At a press conference, the president of Habtur, Joan Miralles, said that the associations considers the discussions taken by the two authorities to be “unjustified.”

“This is the only case in Spain in which a municipality has radically banned the development of this type of tourist activity,” he said, adding that “no city or town council has banned holiday rentals in multifamily dwellings such as Palma City Council has done.”

In addition, he added that the Balearic Tourism Law asked the municipalities for regulation, not a radical prohibition and that in the case of the Council of Majorca, the zoning violates, according to Habtur, both the principles of good regulation and the regulation of services.
While Habtur waits to receive the courts response to its denouncement, it will be closely watching the Supreme Court which will shortly rule on a similar case in the Canary Islands where they have tried to prohibit holiday rentals in tourist areas. The sentence will be key to the Balearic case, Habtur stressed yesterday.

The rental association has also asked the Council of Majorca to provide a more in-depth explanation as to how it went about zoning and on what grounds were such decisions based.

Habtur is also objecting to the “prohibition” because of the damage it will cause to the local economies of areas which for decades have relied on the extra income from holiday rental clients.

Palma City Council responded yesterday claiming that they are by no means surprised by the latest move by Habtur.

The city councillor for city planning and urban development, Jose Hila, said that the legal challenge had been expected and that the council’s lawyers are ready to contest Habtur’s claims.

“If Habtur had not lodged a legal challenge in Palma, then this would have been the first case in Spain to have not been challenged about taking measures to regulate holiday rentals.

“We understand and know that Habtur is defending a few private interests, but we, as a council are defending the general interests of the public and are trying to create a happy balance,” Hila said.

“The holiday rental sector does not want any restrictions, but that is impossible, every business sector has rules and regulations to comply with,” he added.