José Hila with Alberto Jarabo, Antoni Noguera and Neus Truyol. | Europa Press


On Wednesday, representatives of Palma town hall's ruling coalition described the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the ban on tourist apartment lets as "a great victory for the city". The measure was "pioneering" at an international level and was introduced to avoid impact on access to housing for residents.

At a press conference, Mayor José Hila was accompanied by the administration's spokesperson, Alberto Jarabo, the councillor for housing, Neus Truyol, and the councillor for welfare, Antoni Noguera, who was mayor at the time of the ban being approved in 2018. Hila said that the prohibition "protects residents in terms of access to housing against speculation by owners" but he called on the Council of Mallorca to strengthen its tourism inspection department in order to clamp down on illegal holiday letting.

"The department currently doesn't have either the mechanisms or the agility necessary to stop the illegal offer. We are demanding legislation that will allow more inspection efficiency, tougher sanctions and procedures to be expedited more quickly."

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Truyol pointed out that the ban is to be extended. Under the revised urban plan for the city, which is due to be given final approval this year, it will also apply to townhouse and semi-detached properties. This is because in certain areas of the city, e.g. Santa Catalina and Son Espanyolet, there are already a significant number of such properties that are dedicated to tourist letting.

Meanwhile, the Habtur holiday rentals association in the Balearics, which challenged the ban and gained a favourable judgement by the Balearic High Court (now overturned by the Supreme Court), is critical of the ruling. "It is based on a false premise that tourist rentals generate housing problems. This has been demonstrated, as prices to rent have not dropped while there are no more homes available."

In advocating "the rights of citizens", the president of Habtur, María Gibert, said on Wednesday that "everyone should be able to do what they want with their home, without disturbing or causing harm to neighbours". They should be allowed to rent out "within the legal framework and with all the guarantees".