An example of a commercial unit that has been rented out. | Pilar Pellicer

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The shortage of affordable housing and the conditions for renting are forcing Palma residents to live in commercial premises, motorhomes and vans. At the same time, and despite being prohibited, the offer of holiday apartments to rent continues to increase.

On one property website, the cheapest apartment to rent in Palma is 540 euros per month for 25 square metres. For a two to three-bedroom flat, the minimum is 800 euros with three months deposit. An employment contract is a necessity.

Those who can't afford these prices or don't meet the conditions are having to look for alternatives, but the situation is likely to get more difficult as the season progresses and more tourists arrive. Josep María Rigo, director of housing at Palma town hall, says that affordable housing is scarce and that prices are rising, "but wages are not". If it's any consolation, he notes, the situation isn't as difficult as it is in Ibiza.

"There are examples of substandard housing, and we fear that requirements such as the signing of a legal contract are not being met. We have come across adverts for accommodation that in reality are not what they seem."

A recent case in Cala Major highlights the issue. On the ground floor of one building, commercial premises without certificates of occupancy were being rented as accommodation for 600 euros each. Rigo stresses that these don't meet habitability regulations. "At most they have a toilet, but there are no separate rooms or ventilation and they lack light. These are desperate solutions to the lack of places for affordable rent."

The Platform for People Affected by Mortgages regularly deals with cases of people who live in commercial premises because they have no other option. Carlos will soon be evicted from the premises where he lives due to non-payment. "I receive a pension for absolute and permanent disability of 700 euros and I am paying 580 euros for renting a 30-square-metre premises. Housing is inaccessible for most Palma residents."

"The owners have gone crazy trying to make money, while evictions are increasing like wildfire." He confesses that he had never imagined living in such conditions. "I have friends who are living in motorhomes or in vans. People live where they can." All he wants is "to live with dignity".