Palma protesters. The legislation and zoning don't seem to have made much difference to rented accommodation availability. | Jordi García

The Habtur holiday rentals association's legal challenge to the Council of Majorca's zoning (and Palma town hall's ban on apartment rentals) uses evidence from a report which indicates that in the past two years the number of holiday rental properties has decreased by 20%.

The report, compiled by a company called inAtlas, has taken into account both licensed and non-licensed holiday rentals. In 2016 there were 32,089. Two years on and this number had fallen to 25,686.

The decrease has been uneven. There have been higher reductions in municipalities where the toughest restrictions apply. A further factor, Habtur point out, has been the cost of purchasing an accommodation place since the Balearic government's 2017 legislation came into force.

Depending on the type of property and whether it can be rented out all year or for no more than two months a year, this cost ranges from 291.67 euros to 3,500 euros per place. Prior to the legislation, there hadn't been a charge per place, this system now being similar to what it had long been for hotels.

The Habtur challenge refers to the negative economic impact of the Council's zoning and to the loss of tourists who stay in holiday rental accommodation. The association cites a figure of 455,417 in 2018.

The figures show the greatest decrease to have been in Palma - a 54% reduction from 3,952 properties in 2016. This is followed by Ses Salines, down 45.2% to 342 and Calvia with a 45% decrease to 841. As a consequence of the decline, Pollensa, which was slightly behind Palma in 2016, now has vastly more properties than any other municipality. The 2018 figure was 3,334, the decrease since 2016 having been only 14%.