Joan Miralles, the president of the Habtur holiday rentals association, yesterday presented a report in which it is claimed that the cost of residential letting in Palma has risen by 19% in the past two years.
Meanwhile, the number of “stays” in holiday rental properties has fallen by 53%. Habtur has used data from the Fotocasa website in arriving at these figures. Last week, Habtur announced that a Madrid lawyer, Tomás Villatoro, who specialises in housing issues, had been taken on to pursue writs registered with the Balearic High Court. These call for judicial review of holiday rentals’ decisions made by Palma town hall and the Council of Majorca.
Habtur argues that the zoning applied by the two institutions lacks legal robustness. Villatoro said last week that the zoning in Palma is “savage” and is the only example that he was aware of anywhere in Spain. “No town hall has prohibited holiday rentals in apartment buildings in the way that Palma has.”
Although the report presented by Habtur yesterday is not directly related to the legal process it has initiated, it does highlight - as Habtur has long insisted - that Balearic holiday rentals legislation has not had the impact which the government believed that it would. Rental affordability has not improved. In the case of Palma it has gone up, and yet there is less holiday rentals activity.
Palma’s deputy mayor for urban planning, José Hila, has responded to the Habtur writ by saying that the association is defending “private interests” while the town hall is defending “the general interest”.