Mayor of Palma Joan Fageda yesterday called on the owners of between 10'000 and 15'000 empty flats in Palma to make them available to meet demand. He said that estate agents are reporting 250 requests a day from young people seeking to rent accommodation. The Mayor was speaking after signing an agreement with Josep Oliver, president of the Official College of Real Estate Agents (API), under which the College has joined a programme to help young people to rent accommodation. The programme was launched in May 2000 by the Municipal Housing Board. Fageda called on the owners of empty flats and buildings which are in a poor state of repair to take advantage of the subsidies offered by the Palma city council and the Balearics to refurbish them, and put them on the rental market. Oliver said that refurbishing these flats to let them “is the best investment” and he underlined the fact that there are about 250 enquiries a day from young people interested in renting flats. The Mayor also expressed his satisfaction at the results of the programme, thanks to which, he said, 104 homes had been let for an average of 72'000 pesetas, providing accommodation for 251 young people. The estate agents say that they have a waiting list of 600 and will inform the council of property to let with a rent of under 80'000 pesetas. The programme is aimed at people aged between 18 and 35, who earn at least 1.5 times as much as the minimum legal wage or have a guarantor. The council scheme offers the owner of the flat a series of guarantees which include one that the rent will be paid and a multi-risk insurance policy covering a wide range of accidents. The Mayor said that since the programme started it had handled 3'102 enquiries by flat owners interested in the scheme, and had also answered 1'672 enquiries connected with insurance companies and official bodies. The scheme is considered one of the council's priorities for this legislature.

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