The Supreme Court in Madrid has endorsed Palma town hall's ban on tourist apartment lets. The court has accepted a town hall appeal against the decision of the Balearic High Court which found in favour of the holiday rental sector after it challenged the prohibition that was approved by a council meeting in 2018.
This latest judgement considers that the decision of the high court in Palma implied that all apartments in the city could potentially be made available as tourist accommodation and that this went beyond the possibilities as set out in Balearic regulations.
The high court had felt that the town hall had limited tourist apartments without addressing "compelling reasons of general interest" required by European regulations to restrict services in the internal market. The Supreme Court has annulled this criterion, as potentially declaring all apartments as suitable for tourist activity could not be done in accordance with regional regulations.
The Supreme Court made reference to similar judgements - one in respect of Barcelona housing regulations and another by the European courts. In these cases, municipal authorities justified their decisions based on the right of access to housing. In the case of Palma, the town hall justified its measure based on the high cost to rent in Palma and on the fact that it was a city experiencing great housing pressure because of tourist letting.
The Balearic High Court's judgement was not acted upon as it was subject to appeal. In theory, holiday apartment lets in Palma have been prohibited since the approval in 2018.