Many of the buildings date back decades. | M. Serra


On Tuesday, the Council of Mallorca will ratify the Balearic government's amnesty for buildings on so-called rustic land that are currently deemed to be illegal.

The coalition of Partido Popular and Vox will approve this at Tuesday's plenary session. They have a majority, and so opposition rejection of the amnesty will be immaterial. Procedures being as they are, the Council's approval will be published in the Official Bulletin in the coming days. Once it is, the amnesty will come into effect and owners will be able to start the process of legalising the properties.

It is estimated that there are around 30,000 homes on this type of land that have never been legalised; some were built decades ago.

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When the Partido Popular were last in power, a law was passed which enabled legalisation in exchange for a penalty payment based on the value of the works. That law was amended after there was a change of government (the PSOE-led coalition) in 2015. The legalisation process was blocked.

These properties are in a state of legal limbo. The PP's law did lead to some being demolished, but there are plenty to which the statute of limitations applies. However, as they don't appear on municipal registers as legal constructions, there cannot be applications for permissions to undertake renovation or additional work.

The government and now the Council have looked to end this limbo by issuing an amnesty. Opposition parties have said that they will consider lodging an appeal against the amnesty with the Constitutional Court in Madrid. There has also been an opposition concern that legalised properties could end up becoming holiday rentals. The government has said that this will not be allowed.

* Rustic land doesn't necessarily mean rural land, although the properties covered by this amnesty mostly all are in rural settings. It means land that has not been classified for development by a town hall and can therefore also be in an urban setting. It's not impossible to build on it if certain regulations are followed, e.g. regarding the minimum size of the plot, while land classification can and does change from time to time.