Balearic Islands: Court overturns ban on tourist apartments in Palma de Mallorca | Economy and business

The High Court of the Balearic Islands on Thursday overturned a ban on tourist apartments in the city of Palma, unofficially known as Palma de Mallorca, on the grounds that it is “disproportionate and unnecessary”.

The decision followed an appeal by the Association for Temporary Rentals of Apartments and Housing (HABTUR), which argued that the ordinance – which was introduced by Palma’s local government in 2018 – was designed to promote hospitality industry on the popular Spanish island destination. .

Although the judges did not agree with this claim, nor with the association’s claims that the ban violated the principle of equality and the right to private property, they concluded that it violated several European and Spanish laws.

There will be no tourist apartments in Palma

Mayor of Palma José Hila

In its ruling, the court argued that the local government had banned tourist apartments across the city, ignoring the differences between neighborhoods or justifying “overriding public interest reasons” on which the measure was based. The judges said the ordinance referred to the high levels of energy and water consumption, neighborhood conflicts and noise related to the tourism sector in general, “without attributing parameters and adverse effects to rentals. tourist in multi-family homes “.

The decision agreed that Palma’s local government introduced the ban with the aim of protecting and safeguarding the community, the environment and access to housing, describing it as “a laudable goal that must be proportionate and required” . But the court argued that the local government could have employed “less drastic” measures to achieve the same goals. “The ban, logically, is the last possible solution to the harmful effects that the administration was trying to avoid and combat,” the sentence reads.

HABTUR celebrated the court ruling and now hopes to negotiate with Palma government zoning regulations that will allow vacation rentals in certain areas. Palma mayor José Hila of the Socialist Party (PSOE), however, said the city would appeal the decision, insisting that “there will be no tourist apartments” in Palma. “The decision did not change the rules of the game for vacation rentals in Palma,” he said.

If the local government loses its appeal, the ban will be replaced by restrictions introduced by the administration of Mallorca, which created a moratorium on new tourist rental licenses in single-family homes in June 2020. This measure, which will remain in effect in force until December 31 of this year, increases the fines for renting homes without a license. If the owner is an individual, the fine is between € 20,001 and € 40,000, while platforms may incur penalties of up to € 400,000. These restrictions received support from the High Court of the Balearic Islands in May.

Residents of the Balearic Islands face high rental and real estate prices due to high demand from tourism. This has also become a problem in other popular tourist destinations, such as Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Valencia, where local governments have also taken action to limit vacation rentals.

english version by Melissa Kitson.