Residents have denounced allegedly illegal rentals in this building in Playa de Palma. | Archive

A Palma court of instruction having admitted a lawsuit for "prevaricación" against the mayor of Palma, Antoni Noguera, in respect of the apartment holiday rentals ban, another court - the Balearic High Court - has admitted a different legal case.

Whereas the action against Noguera has been taken by the national Fevitur holiday rentals federation, the High Court is to consider an action brought by Habtur, the Balearic holiday rentals association. It is against the town hall rather than Noguera specfically and focuses on the principle of zoning as adopted by the town hall. This amounts to much the same thing as the Noguera case, as the zoning has prohibited apartment holiday rentals anywhere in the city.

Habtur has brought what is called a "recurso contencioso administrativo", which boils down to an appeal against an administration (and a decision by an administration), in this case Palma town hall. The association says that the ban on apartment holiday rentals is "unjust, savage and radical", adding that 53% of holiday rental accommodation has "disappeared in Palma".

While accepting that there should be a limit on the number of rental places, Habtur considers the town hall's zoning to be "totally restrictive". It argues that the ban has not had the effect which the town hall (and the Balearic government) had hoped for, which was to bring down the cost of residential letting. The ban has, Habtur maintains, deprived many families of an important source of income and placed the benefits from tourism in the hands of just a few.