PALMA will become the first Spanish city to ban short-term tourist rentals.

The legislation aims to combat mass tourism on the island which has led to overcrowding and soaring rental costs for locals.

During 2015 and 2017, the number of unregistered short-let apartments on the island grew 50% to reach 20,000.

Out of the 20,000 available, only 645 properties were found to have the correct licenses.

“Palma has always been a bold and diverse city,” said Mayor Antoni Noguera. “We believe it will create trends in other cities when they see that finding a balance is key.”

According to the proposed new law, which is set to come in this July, only detached, single-family homes will be able to offer accommodation to tourists.

There will be a complete ban on apartments in blocks of flats.

Family homes will be banned from renting if they sit on protected rural land, or are near the airport or in non-residential areas.

In Palma there are roughly 180,000 homes, of which 23,000 are single-family and therefore potentially unaffected by the new law.

“There is a parallel between the evolution of vacation rentals and the rise in rental prices,” said Jose Hila, the former Mayor of Palma.

“This decision is meant to protect residents as tourist accommodation affects the makeup of buildings and neighbourhoods and it also affects social harmony.”

The island’s Ombudsman has seen a steep rise in the number of complaints filed by residents complaining about tourists renting in their buildings.

It soared from 42 in 2015 to 192 in 2017.

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