This is a discussion page for the illegal letting situation. For reasons of space, changing situation and ease of use, I keep it just as a current discussion page – information pages contain everything that needs to be retained, and there is also a Q&A page specifically on illegal letting HERE. Links to all pages and posts about illegal letting are HERE  in list format.

This article has 101 Comments

  1. Just to clarify, once again, that I will not allow this site to be used by anyone intent on posting theories about Bokestein’s application to Canarian tourism legislation – legislation which, I repeat once again, has been confirmed both in Spain to the topmost courts and in Europe itself as constitutional and legal, and so, in my opinion, speculation about it is both pointless and designed to confuse. I guarantee that the day someone takes a case to the European court based on Bolkestein I will report it because, naturally, I will be extremely interested in it myself. I will not “hide” or “cover up” anything, but I insist that those who want to post about Bolkestein do so only after they or someone else has initiated legal action – and is engaged in doing something more than shouting about it on this website.

  2. Hi Janet. Firstly I’d like to add my thanks for the clarity of the information on your pages. Much appreciated.

    We bought a property in January this year via an estate agent and we have arranged lettings through the sister company of this agent. We didn’t realise at the time that this was illegal because our property does not have a tourist licence. We have suspended future bookings but would like to ask if Lettings Agents on the islands have any responsibility with regard to the legalities. We have asked the agent for clarification of the position but have received the typical and expected vague replies! Surely a registered Letting Agent should know the laws and should not accept bookings knowing they are illegal?

    Thanks

  3. They have a legal responsibility to trade as a “tourism intermediary” legally in all respects. This means having a licence to be an agent in its own right, and they must also carry out that business legally, which means not letting illegally. As such they can be fined for being an agent for an illegally let property, but sadly, owners who believe they are in safe and legal hands will also be fined.

  4. Any ideas if Arona is able to do give out plaques and do the paperwork yet for VV? I have a good Gestor who can do IGIC etc, she is also in Arona Town Hall once a week. Where is the best place to start?

  5. It’s the Cabildo who will do this, that is where applications must be made. The law gives them a fortnight to process an application, but more than one is saying that this is impossible at present until systems are up and running, and that it will take a few months or so, at least for these early applications.

  6. I imagine this has probably already been asked and answered so if that is the case I apologise. I am already a home owner in Arona and am resident here. I intend to purchase with the idea of holiday rentals. How or where can I find a list of Touristic Registered Complexes that I would be legally allowed to rent out? Understanding I must use a sole “agent” on site, could anybody give me any further information regarding costs and taxes? Much appreciated! Ian

  7. You can’t find “a list”, but you can check with the Cabildo as to whether a complex is touristic. The links are on my links page – scroll down towards the bottom to the Tourism Resources section; many, though not all, touristic complexes are listed. As to costs and taxes, you’ll need to pay income tax on declared rental income, and costs would be IBIs, community fees, and whatever might be arranged with the sole agent.

  8. Thanks so much for all the detailed and thorough explanations you are providing, Janet!
    In the context of the new law, what makes me wonder is how does it apply to short-term rentals of only a part of property. Say, I own an apartment or a house in which I and my family are living, however we have an unused bedroom. Is renting out this one bedroom short-term in an otherwise privately used property illegal as well?

  9. It doesn’t apply to part of a property. Urban Letting legislation concerns property rented out as an entire unit, that is a prerequisite. Renting out a room is a different thing, and comes under the Codigo Civil in the section concerned with the hiring out of “things” generally. The detail of how this affects this rental is something a qualified lawyer would need to explain, but it certainly gives tenants far fewer rights than a residential rental contract under Urban Letting law. Having said that, though, as long as the contract is drawn up in accordance with the Codigo Civil rather than a short-term or Vivienda Vacacional rental contract under tourism legislation, or a long-term one under Urban, it is perfectly legal.

  10. I red some comments in this blog . My idea was to move in one of the Canary Island, to buy a couple of flats to rent just to have an income and probably to set up a small business in the tourism field . After reading about the new decree I’m quite scary to invest there. I’m Italian right now I’ m living in Thailand. Thanks for any suggestions.

  11. Rather than being scary, you should be reassured that the system and situation here is now very clear indeed. As long as you know what you want, and what you want is possible within the rules (which I’ve detailed HERE), and as long as you make absolutely sure that the property you buy will allow you to do what you want to do within the rules, there is absolutely no reason not to proceed, nor to run any risk. As to running a tourism business here, however, do bear in mind that businesses in Spain are somewhat onerous to set up, and that most people operate as self-employed, which is itself not a cheap option; also bear in mind that to operate in the tourism field at all you need a tourism licence yourself.

  12. Hi Janet. Are you able to update us on the Monopolies Hearing on 7th September? I’ve looked through various websites but can’t see any new information.

    Thanks

  13. Yes, I haven’t posted because, yet again, there is much speculation but nothing firm to say. They are looking into whether it’s an issue they can deal with. That is the latest. As I say, there is much speculation, and the fact that they are considering it is being presented as though it’s some sort of victory … but they have to consider it because it’s been presented to them as a case to consider! As soon as they rule one way or the other, I’ll post 🙂

  14. And is it the same for the ASCAV talks and representations, Janet? I think I read that they had had a big meeting on Wednesday, but I couldn’t make sense of the Spanish.

  15. Yes, in reality they were just keeping up the pressure on something the Monopolies Commission was doing in any case.

  16. Thank you for this discussion. My partner and I would like to buy a villa or apartment in either Gran Canaria or F’tura. The plan was to live in it from Nov to Mar and rent it out Apr to Sep/Oct. I don’t know f we have enough family and friends to rent it out to without needing to look at owners direct or holidaylettings. The discussion here has made us very cautious now. We will follow the discussion with real interest.

  17. In case it affects your decision, I should stress that with the law as it is right now, friends and family will need to be your personal guests, so there is no question whatsoever of “renting it out” to them! Under the law, however, you might now be able to apply for a touristic licence for a villa provided it complies with the criteria for touristic villas, and of course if it’s a villa on a touristic complex then you can rent to anyone provided it’s through the on-site sole agent. The only thing pending is the recently passed – and quickly frozen – Vivienda Vacacional decree: when this is rewritten you might find that you can let it out privately to any holidaymakers … but we need to wait for the revised decree before we know what the terms and conditions will be for private rentals.

  18. Thank you Janet for all your information. I and many owners on our complex are slightly confused re what we are allowed to do right now. We are a residential complex but many owners rent their properties to holiday makers through various internet sites. Most of these holiday makers have recently become “friends or family” of the owners (but I guess that is difficult to prove one way or another). 1. As the law stands now, will people get away with renting their apartments out to short term holiday makers? 2. The complex doesn’t have a VV licence but can an individual owner get a VV licence for their apartment? 3. Are long term rentals shorter than 12 months allowed ie 3 and 6 month contracts? 4. What evidence of rental activity needs to be provided to get a denuncia issued as the administration company for the complex seems to be struggling getting these issued. 5. Where can we get a copy of the statutes of the complex to make sure that holiday lettings are prohibited there in rather than just in “the community rules “?

  19. 1. No. The law says that residential apartments may NOT be let for holiday purposes under any circumstances. The only hope they had was the new decree which would allow them to register – but still not just to let willy-nilly without registration – but that decree is for the moment frozen. The law stands without the decree. They cannot let to holidaymakers. Friends and family are “personal guests”, and if money changes hands it’s illegal because then it’s rental, not having personal guests! This is regardless of the fact that that it might be hard to prove money had changed hands. Just to be clear: there is a law, and there is a decree. The law is the law and is unchanged; the decree, concerned with registration to allow residential property to be let privately to holidaymakers, is frozen – and the “decree” being frozen does not affect “the law”.

    2. VV licences are always individual. A complex cannot apply for VV registration. Instead it applies as a complex for touristic status – I’ve explained how a residential complex could do this on the Q&A Living on a Complex page HERE. But as I say in 1. above, for individual registration purposes, the VV decree is now temporarily frozen.

    3. Please have a read of the Renting a property page HERE for explanations of the 3 and 12 month contracts. There are short and long term ones – 1 day to a year for short term and one year plus for long term ones. Only long term ones are “residential”. Short term ones are for a specific purpose and legally may not be used for people to “live” in a property – by “live in” I mean permanently; a short term contract must always have the usual permanent address, i.e. a different one to the contract! Even with a legal short term one, however, anything under 3 months will be deemed by Turismo to be a commercial holiday let.

    4. Evidence is a diary of activity, copies of adverts, photos, multiple signatures to a statement … the actual requirement is flexible, but the Courts say it cannot just be an advert.

    5. The statutes should be with your administrator, and if they don’t have them, they should be able to acquire them.

    There’s an “in a nutshell” page HERE for the rules on letting.

  20. does the law apply to residential properties in the Valencian region concerning letting,is it illegal

  21. Laws on illegal letting and other tourism policy are set at autonomous region level. The law we’re talking about is Canarian – Valencia is a different autonomous region of Spain. As I understand it, the Valencian regional Government has a licensing system for private rentals BUT I do not know the detail of how it operates. I do know that “illegal letting” is defined in law there, and that there are fines for it, but I don’t know how it works in practice, or what the words mean there. You will need to check this out with sources who a specific or specialised to that region.

  22. Hi Janet, Can you clarify the letting situation regarding complexes that fall into mixed tourist-residential areas? That’s the case with my complex and following contact with the admin he says that theoretically “villas vacacionales” rentals are not legal. Am I right in thinking the only options for rental in this case is (1) onsite agent, (2) 1day-1year short term one-off contract or (3) 12+month recurring long term contract?

  23. With the VV decree as it was, bearing in mind that it is now frozen, it allowed private registration to let private property provided that it was not in touristic or mixed areas. And so, the options would be the onsite agent if the community is touristic, or a short-term contract of more than 3 months, or a long-term 1-year-minimum contract. I’ve detailed the options HERE. Bear in mind that the VV decree has to be rewritten now, and so we don’t know what they’re going to legislate in the new version.

  24. I don’t know whether this has been asked before but what would the situation be if a property in a residential complex was let out long term and the tenant went on to sub – let it for short term holiday rentals?

  25. sub-letting is normally prohibited in contracts, but the bottom line is that whatever is done with a property, the owner is liable.

  26. I was advised by the local Police that I could go to the Cabildo to report illegal letting but when I did I was told I needed to obtain a complaint form from our residential complex similar to a complaint form one would get if complaining about a shops goods or services.

    According to the President and community Lawyer they don’t have such a form but the Cabildo were adamant I needed one both to denounce illegal letting and illegal building without a permit. Could you advise please.

  27. The local police aren’t best informed, nor the Cabildo. Legislation and sanctions concerning illegal letting are Regional Government level issues, not insular or municipal. Therefore it’s the Canarian Government’s Tourism Department you denounce to, not the Cabildo or the police. The details of how to do this are an answer on THIS page, scroll down to “Q: To whom, where and how do I report an illegal apartment letting owner?”

  28. Thank you Janet but do I need this complaint form to denounce my neighbours illegal extensions as it seems I’m being sent from one dept to another but not getting very far.

  29. You need to go to Turismo the tourism department to denounce illegal letting, they will have paperwork for you there. For illegal extensions, however, you need to go to the council’s planning department to make a denuncia. Which is your complaint about?

  30. Hi Janet

    I wish to complain about both, illegal tourist letting and illegal building by my neighbour because the President and Community won’t do anything about it. We went to the local Police Station primarily because we’ve just had 13 consecutive nights of tourists returning around 2.00am on one occasion so drunk they fell over breaking glass and knocking furniture over. It was the Police who told us to go to the Cabildo which we did with a fluent Spanish speaking friend, who in turn told us to complete a complaint form for each complaint, letting and building without a permit.

    Thanks very much for your help.

  31. So, you have two separate complaints. The illegal building should be denounced to the local ayuntamiento’s planning department, and the illegal tourist letting to the Canarian Government’s tourism department, as I linked to in my previous reply. The local police were wrong to tell you to go to the Cabildo.

  32. Kaz, if you are in Tenerife, you can visit the Turismo offices in Santa Cruz and in the reception area they have forms available on public display to report illegal letting to the Turismo Inspection team. You fill the form in and lodge it with the Turismo Inspection team on the first floor. If you visit the office it would also be worthwhile to discuss your problem with a member of the team. They are very accessible.

  33. Thanks Snowbird. I am in Lanzarote so I’m not sure if they do things differently but that sounds very user friendly for Tenerife. I wish we had something similar here to make the process easier but I will pursue a denuncia for illegal letting. I’ve had enough of some owners arrogance and doing whatever they like.

  34. you have the same thing – it’s all the Canaries. Your office, though, is in Las Palmas, the eastern province capital.

  35. Hi Janet

    I wonder if Snowbird could help with this question. Does he know if I wrote to Turismo in English whether they would deal with it or would it need to be translated to Spanish. many thanks.

  36. I can answer that … it can be done in any one of the major European languages, including English.

  37. Hello Janet

    Is there any feedback from the VV/monopolies commitee meeting earlier this week yet, please?

  38. Hi Janet
    Do you think Turismo would accept that a couple are ‘apartment sitting’ as an explanation as opposed to the fact they are renting for 6 months over the winter months on our residential complex. In previous years they stayed in their relatives apt and I know from when they were last here they were looking for a long winter let.

  39. Well, a six-month rental isn’t a Turismo issue anyway, so it wouldn’t be anything to do with them.

  40. Hello Janet

    I have to admit I’m confused by your answer to Kaz. We have an identical situation on our complex. How do we report it if not to Turismo as these people are here on holiday for the winter and not any other reason. The only difference being they are here longer than most renters because they are retired and can afford to do and it’s much less costly than buying their own place. They have been doing this for years, they even have a half share in the owners car. Could they be considered permanent residents and liable to tax.

  41. Kaz: what would you be reporting? It sounds like someone is renting on a six months contract – albeit on a very informal basis. Any offence is likely to centre on the lack of a legal temporada contract, or not paying tax on rental income. If there are disturbance issues, then you call the police. If you want to take the possible lack of temporada contract issue further, then I guess the right place is the urbanismo department in your local council.

    Stan: as I have just said to Kaz, then it’s an urbanism issue, not a tourism one. Your definition of “holiday” is different to Turismo’s. They would not be considered “permanent” residents if only here for six months, and whether they’re liable to tax would depend on the exact number of days – see the Being Legal in Tenerife page.

  42. Hi Janet. In your post above on 9th October you mention applying for a touristic licence for a villa [which is not part of a complex]. Where can I find more information on the criteria and procedure for applying for such a licence? (I own a villa in Maspalomas which is not part of a complex that I would like to rent on a weekly basis.)

  43. This is information covered by the Canarian Government’s somewhat complicated criteria, David. In the first instance, I would approach the tourism department of the GC Cabildo.

  44. Hi Janet, this is the first I have ever heard of this issue so forgive me for my lack of knowledge on this. We have booked an apartment rental for a week in February 2016 through AirBnB, in a complex called ‘Los11’ near to the Vincci Tenerife Golf hotel in the Golf Del Sur area. Do you have any idea if this complex is a legitimate ‘Touristic’ place? Would be very grateful if you could clarify this for us because obviously we are worried.
    Thank you

  45. Pete, I’ve checked today with San Miguel tourism department and they say that Los 11 are indeed residential. Even though they were built as “holiday homes”, they were built for private ownership not touristic exploitation. This doesn’t mean that your holiday is unsafe legally, however, because they’re quite clearly marketed as holiday apartments … and even though that’s illegal from the owners’ perspective, you are doing nothing wrong by going on holiday there. I’ve answered HERE other holidaymakers’ concerns about the risks they might be incurring by booking an “illegal let holiday” – scroll down towards the end of the questions, and I hope it helps.

  46. Janet

    I’m not sure if this is an issue you can help me with, we manage a number of apt’s on a complex that is supposedly residenciAl however it has currently come to light that it is still classed as touristic in which case it would appear that under the current legislation which I know is currently under review, individuals wouldn’t be able to get a Vv licence. The administration have said that to reclassify the complex is a complicated process. Can you enlighten me on the process and confirm that what the administration are telling me is true. Many thanks.

  47. You are right that if it is actually touristic, then with the VV decree as it was, owners wouldn’t have been able to get an individual licence, but bear in mind that if the complex were residential but in a touristic area, they would not be able to register for a VV licence anyway! This is because the VV decree didn’t just apply to residential property, but specifically to residential property in purely residential areas. As far as the decree itself is concerned, it’s not just “under review”, it’s completely frozen and being redrafted. It is impossible to know which way this is going, so I would advise doing nothing until you know the actual score when the decree comes back into force.

  48. Hi,

    I have been told I can buy a villa in a quiet street in Playa Blanca and rent it out (I want to visit 6 weeks a year and have short-term lets inbetween). But I have to apply for a “Vacation Licence”…

    Is this correct or am I going to be hit with a surprise fine?

    The noise created around this issue is certainly scaring off potential investors like me

    thanks

    Adam

  49. no, it’s not correct. Please see HERE for the latest on the “vacation licence”, otherwise known as “vivienda vacacional”. Please also see HERE for the actual situation on your legal options.

    See HERE too for the specific question “Some agencies are claiming that they can obtain a VV licence by submitting documents, floor plans, photos, NIE, etc, and paying them a fee of around €600 in total … and that you can then legally let while the decision on your application is pending. Is this claim all nonsense?” It’s towards the end of the questions … just click on the question itself to reveal the answer.

  50. HI janet,
    I live here permanently and as you know what rumours are like here.
    So can a person reside permanently in a tourist complex.
    Also under Spanish law can a person have a pet in any complex regardless of the community banning
    pets.

  51. Technically no, one cannot reside permanently in a tourist complex … though many do! This is what has caused concern in Gran Canaria recently, where one council’s planning seemed about to enforce this, and residents feared they might have to vacate their own homes, but the council was at pains to stress that nothing of the sort was intended. As to pets, communities cannot ban them. Have a look at the second section (Animals) on the Living on a complex page HERE.

  52. Hello Janet

    If as you say, that technically no one can reside permanently in a tourist complex, would that also mean that technically no one can rent for three months or more within a tourist complex?

  53. no … short-term lets are anything from 1 day to 1 year. They are not residential contracts. This is the usual confusion with rental contracts, which I’ve explained in detail on the Renting page HERE. It is perfectly legal to issue a short-term specific purpose “temporada” contract for a touristic complex … precisely because it is not a residential contract!

  54. Taking a dispassionate view (as dispassionate as I am able, being a property-owner in Tenerife) it seems to me that the new president, Fernando Clavijo, is taking an extremely sensible long-term view of Tenerife. He understands that, being a small island, the infrastructure (roads, sewerage system, water supply, basura, public authorities, police, airport etc) is incapable of serving increasing numbers of users.

    Far better to have an up-market clientele spending the same amount of money as larger numbers of ´down-market´ tourists (and I include myself among those).

    Long-term plans and visions inevitably have to ignore short-term problems…and it´s no different in the UK. If you are young and with a mortgage in the UK you probably won´t care that the Bank of England´s decision to keep the bank interests rate low mean that millions of people who worked for 40-plus years and saved (as encouraged by successive governments) now find that their savings are being decimated every year (with virtually no interest paid on their savings) and that they are hitting the 23,000 pound limit years before they had expected it, and are having to rely on councils paying for their care. But mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low (while mine went up to 17% in the 1970s). So lots of people (voters) are happy.

    So the Canarian government is ignoring short-term unemployment and small businesses being hurt knowing that the unemployed can move elsewhere – abroad if necessary. Twas ever thus. If only this President had been in power in the 1990s, when thousands of building plans were allowed, resulting in thousands of complexes remaining half-finished or complexes being almost finished with virtually no buyers – in my area there are BOGOFs on apartments being offered (buy one, get one free).

    Every cloud has a sliver lining, though. If the vision becomes reality, apartments and villas on Tenerife will probably prove to be great 40 to 50-year investments. Unfortunately I won´t be here then!

  55. As I said above HERE, “one cannot reside permanently in a tourist complex … though many do! This is what has caused concern in Gran Canaria recently, where one council’s planning seemed about to enforce this, and residents feared they might have to vacate their own homes, but the council was at pains to stress that nothing of the sort was intended.”

    This ban on permanent liiving was reinforced in the Reglamento to the Canarian Government’s most recent tourism legislation (see Resources page HERE) which actually regulated that not only could such apartments not be lived in permanently, but that if their owners did not make them available for tourism letting, they could be expropriated. I haven’t posted on this because there have been various (quite urgent) discussions going on and the picture was not clear, and I didn’t want to cause panic which could have been quite unnecessary. And in response, the Government said that despite the clear interpretation in the Reglamento, they had no intention of enforcing it. And yet the law allowed it …

    And now, over the last few days, the Canarian Government has made its position explicitly clear, not by changing the tourism law or its Reglamento, but in the new Ley de Suelo (for land designations) which has been introduced and is now going through the Canarian Parliament. This new Land Law explicitly states that touristic apartments which are being used residentially may not be expropriated. Information from the Canarian Government on the new Ley de Suelo is HERE.

    So once again we have conflicting laws, BUT the new land law gives touristic apartment owners protection by a clause in the law itself, rather than the Reglamento of prior tourism legislation.

    I’m sorry if this is confusing, but the bottom line, in point by point form, is that:

    * Tourism law says that touristic apartments may not be lived in as a permanent residence because they must be available, at least in part, for touristic purposes.
    * Official Tourism law interpretation (the Reglamento) says that these apartments may be taken away from owners who will not make them available for tourism purposes,
    * The new land law, in explicit clause within the law itself, says that touristic apartments belonging to owners who do not make them available for tourism purposes are safe, and cannot be taken away from their owners. This law, as of 25 February, has been presented to Parliament but will only become law if it is approved by the Canarian Parliament. This is likely, but I’ll update as and when it’s approved and/or comes into force.
    * None of this excludes the possibility that hefty fines will be imposed under tourism law on owners who will not make their apartments available for tourism purposes, and upgrade them if necessary to the standard required (allowed in the Reglamento) rather than expropriation. Official fines for tourism infractions can result in the property being appropriated by the Government if the fines are not paid and of an amount equal to or in excess of the value of the property.

  56. Hello Janet

    Thanks again for the update, on the potential problem of owners using touristic apartment for residential use. I think I am correct in saying that it took the authorities 15 years to vigorously enforce the 1995 sole agent/illegal letting legislation, so perhaps this may go the same way. If this was to be enforced it would cause a considerable amount of concern at our touristic complex as 75% of the apartments are used for residential purposes.

  57. Hi Janet

    I’ve been following this saga for some time. All seems to have gone rather quiet though I do understand that the Monopolies Commission are still deliberating and this could go on and on. In the meantime, are there are figures available on how many prosecutions have been made over the last few years/how many owners are being investigated or is the whole process on hold until the Monopolies Commission makes its decision …?? I have seen figures from your post in 2012 but nothing recently. I’d be interested to know how ‘serious’ the Canarian governments are about pursuing ‘offenders’

    Thanks for your clear and concise comments!

  58. The Monopolies Commission ruled last September, and the decree has been frozen since then (see HERE … and also have a look at the comments underneath). The Canarian Government is now redrafting it … and that could take some time. There are no figures as such released by the inspectorate, but in the last couple of days alone I have become aware of two fines (as usual, now, originating in adverts and prosecuted following investigations). The ONLY thing that is on hold is the Vivienda Vacacional decree. Everything else is still in place, the law is in force, and being applied … and the inspectors are still engaged in inspecting, and issuing fines.

    For a complete list of posts I’ve made on the whole sad issue, see the directory HERE.

  59. Hi . IllegalLettings. As a retired ex property professional, I bought in November specifically on a” residential”, well run community of 40 properties. Despite this, I now see blatant holiday letting, indeed two are on Trip Advisor with write ups from very satisfied holidaymakers. A steady stream of ” visitors” in and out of the otherwise gated immaculate complex, paying big euros without any responsibility cannot surely be justified even if ( though doubtful) the owner s are struggling financially. The market for long term letting is very buoyant, so that argument really doesn’t,t
    Hold water. Though I understand as owners corporately we cannot be held liable, the question of possible insurance validation is still in question.

  60. Janet, you mentioned that you have become aware of two fines in the last couple of days. Do you know what the fines are actually for? For example, are they for not having the complaints forms and inspection books, as was common in the past, or are they for something else, some other technicality?

  61. Just a couple more observations please. Unlike the red tape required by and on hotels etc, these, sometimes 2/3 night stays are totally uncontrolled. No-one seems to know or care who is in their midst least of all the owners who are taking the proceeds. On enquiry for one letting, I was told ” of course there are staff on-site in case” this is utterly false and therefore fraud. There is a hard – pressed owner / president, not on hand to improve the experience of illegal renters. Q E D

  62. Well Bob welcome to the world of illegal renting in Tenerife. You are absolutely correct, I too am surrounded by complete strangers around my swimming pool. The illegal renting owners haven’t a clue who they are, they just take their money. Its all done over the internet. Some of us however are trying to change things.

  63. Hi Snowbird. I really thought I had left previous incarnation behind, as MD of a v large residential management co. ! However, I wonder if you have had advice as to whether any community could, in the eyes of the Tourist authorities at least be criticised if knowingly disregarded obvious infringement of letting law, also whether you have enquired as to the status of any rental contracts in the context of insurance. As two of our properties are on Trip Advisor, I have tried every way I can think of to tell that company they are involved in illegal contracts but no messages penetrate. Would be interested to hear of your progress or otherwise.

  64. I have been following this illegal letting issue for some time and I am under the impression that the authorities appear to focus on the owners of touristic apartments rather than the owners of residential ones.

  65. That’s an incorrect assumption Ken. I think it might arise from the fact that tourist apartments tend to be owned by non-residents, and so their notices of fines imposed are less likely to be delivered, and are therefore more likely to appear in the Boletín.

  66. Yes Bob, if the President was seen to be doing nothing about an illegal renting situation and was shown to be well aware of the situation and/or was doing anything to promote illegal renting then he/she could be pursued by Turismo. The same would apply for the administrator.

    If an owner is illegally renting and one of his/her clients makes a claim against the owner say for personal injury then in my opinion the owner’s insurers would not respond to the claim as the owner was committing an illegal act.
    Perhaps you should contact Janet directly about the subject.

  67. I can confirm what Snowy says. If a president is seen to be promoting, or even ignoring, illegal letting, s/he becomes complicit and as figurehead of the community, becomes personally liable for the activity … in addition to the owner’s particular culpability. This is a very clear legal responsibility on the president.

    As to insurance, legal opinion is that it will be invalid despite any promises made by insurance companies when policies are taken out … those owners who say they have made successful claims despite illegal letting are (apart from an open admission of criminal activity!) lucky that they’ve had payouts! At the point that an individual claim was rejected, then clearly the onus shifts to the community, and that is a far murkier area, and one that could be very costly for a community to fight.

  68. Murkier and murkier. I wonder if the tourism department could have any clout / contacts at a higher level with web sites such as Trip Advisor. At least it would show that on the ground the community are taking it seriously. Our A G M is imminent, hoping that other owners can be motivated.

  69. It would seem wise for all presidents & administrators to notify all the owners of the tourist/illegal letting laws. Beyond that, it may be a bit difficult for a president to prove an illegal activety, because the owners will probably say the guests are either family or friends. However in relation to an owner of a tourist apartment who uses it for residential purposes, it may be a lot easier to accuse that owner of failing to use it for touristic purposes.

  70. Hi Janet ,after reading many comments I am still not exactly sure where I stand, or may be just hoping that the law may change to accommodate my position ,,I have a house in Fuerteventura which i use for my holidays and a small amount of renting in a touristic area the income just covers the costs of keeping the property up to date ,is it a clear cut I can not rent it if so is the law being enforced ,many thanks

  71. yes it is clearcut that you cannot rent if your property is residential, unless you do more than a “small amount of renting”. The area being touristic is not relevant – if your house is residential, you can only rent with short term temporada contracts or long term vivienda contracts. You cannot let for holidays. And yes the law is being enforced … I am not really sure how many times and in how many ways I am supposed to say this.

  72. Hi Janet, my new neighbour is renting out her house, she has recently required a VV licence with number , this is displayed in her front window. We live on a residential complex, so would this licence be genuine. How and where can we find out if this is licence is legal and if the neigh our is legitamitely registered for holiday renting. Thanks ‘ Geoff

  73. Anyone with a VV plaque might have got it in the short time the decree was in force before it was frozen, so any plaques displayed are not necessarily intrinsically illegal. They are no longer valid, however, because the regulation is not in force, having been withdrawn. It is currently being redrafted by the Government, and until the new decree is released, we won’t know what the new terms and conditions are. At the moment, there is no VV regulation in place, and so no VV lets are legal.

  74. Thanks for your reply Janet. Neighbours v v licence has only recently been obtained, probably 2 months or so. Forgot to add we live on a Residential complex. Does this still make it illegal,and where could I get this information confirmed if it is .Thank you , Geoff.

  75. Please have a look HERE. The VV decree was suspended last September. The detail about where a VV registration was allowed while the decree was actually in force is HERE.

    If you have a look HERE, scroll to the annex 1 at the end and you’ll see what the official plaque actually looks like.

    The bottom line is that if you suspect illegal letting is taking place you can denounce it to Turismo. The details are HERE.

    The fact is that whether any registration (not “licence”) under the VV system was valid or not when it was acquired, any such lets are no longer legal because the decree is suspended while it is being redrafted. Note that the decree is frozen/suspended …the Canarian Government’s own word is “paralysed”, and legal opinion is that until the decree is resurrected after being redrafted, all activity under its terms is also suspended.

    The decree has not been cancelled, however, and so registered properties are in an “a-legal” situation rather than an “illegal” one. Since there is no regulation in force – because it has been frozen/suspended/paralysed – fines can be issued because overarching tourism legislation prohibits rentals in residential property. Any such fines could be appealed, of course, as all fines can be appealed, and how the Courts would view the situation is anyone’s guess because no such appeals (of fines for violations of the VV decree or for continuing activity after the decree was suspended) have yet taken place.

  76. Janet,
    your clear, balanced and patient advice is very much appreciated.

    Where do I send the legal advice payment (in wine, of course)?

  77. Yes, Ascav has been mentioned many times, and their fight continues, in the courts and in the media. The latest is that the Government has refused to release papers they are demanding until the forthcoming election is over.

  78. Hi Janet. On a recent Easyjet flight I read an article on the great cycling on Teneriffe. Photos showed open roads with cyclists occupying the whole road. We have all experienced the racing which motorists would incurr penalty. Nowhere in this article is there any advice to cyclists. There has to be more realistic attitude , compulsory insurance, a method of warning at least.

  79. The traffic rules for cars overtaking cyclists are that they must leave a minimum of 1.5m leeway on all roads and in all circumstances, and if a car is coming from the opposite direction, a cyclist may not be overtaken even if a 1.5m leeway exists. Tráfico confirms (link) that drivers can even cross a central white line where safe to do so in order to leave this required overtaking margin.

    Cyclists themselves can ride two abreast, but not more, and those under 18 must now wear a safety helmet on all roads, regardless of where they’re cycling (previously youngsters were only required to wear a helmet on urban roads). Despite pressure groups requesting for legislation requiring adults to wear safety helmets, this has not been included in the latest law (see HERE). I’m not aware that cyclists are required to have insurance.

  80. Hi Janet,
    With the change of rules, could I own my own home, live in it permanently as a resident and let out a room?

  81. You can do that anyway under the Codigo Civil, the existing tourism law and the new VV decree doesn’t affect that … you just can’t let that room out for holidays. Have a look HERE, particularly at the end, for the options available for owners to let.

  82. Hi Janet
    We own a house on a residential complex in Fuerteventura. It doesn’t have a touristic licence and we are having massive problems with holiday lets. We have been told that there is nothing we can do about it as it is legal because everything has been put on hold.

  83. I have just returned from a weeks holiday in Lanzarote. The accommodation an annex to the main house. I payed on arrival in cash and got a recent only when I asked. The small pool had no markings showing depth and no life ring or hand rail.The BBQ had no fire blanked and no fire extiquisher anywhere. There was no plaque or certificate on display showing a tourist licence. The licence situation never crossed my mind were it not for the lack of safety features. Do you know if these safety features are legal requirements and should a licence be on display.

  84. There’s no “licence” system. If the property was being let legally – and assuming it wasn’t an apartment on a complex – it should display a Vivienda Vacacional plaque (see HERE). That system is only for whole properties, however, and since you refer to an annexe, it’s hard to see how it could be legal. As such, i.e. as an illegal holiday let, the question of legal requirements for safety features doesn’t arise.

  85. Hello Janet, very appreciate your work!
    I have couple questions after reading your answers. Hopefully you don’t mind 🙂
    According to your answers about renting out just a rooms in private villas, its very interesting topic and could be more explained. I own villa in rural area and have one empty room. Can I just rent it through for example airbnb? How renting through internet channels will be found by Turismo? Straight away as a renting for tourist purposes? What kind of fines may apply, there are other set of financial fines for it?
    And how I can pay tax when renting just a room (i’m a resident) What does it mean contract is drawn up in accordance with coding civil?
    Will be happy if get any of above questions..
    would donate your web site if possible.

  86. Hi Janet, I have a neighbor who resides above me. I live on a residential complex in the South Tenerife. This neighbor constantly holiday let their apartment. I follow your excellent web site and you have made it clear that the 1995 law is fully in place and enforceable by the authorities. However this neighbor is in denial regarding this by stating that the law was thrown out and it is now reverting to the pre 1995 law. I would like to demonstrate the current legal position to him and was wondering if you had a link to any formal document ruling, which shows the current position. This would be evidence to conclusively prove to him the law.
    Many thanks for all your help

  87. I’ve given the links many a time. Please see HERE as a starting point and follow the links it contains. There are also links on the Resources page HERE for all tourism legislation – see sections headed “Tourism” and “Illegal Letting Situation”, the latter of which itself contains a link to a directory of all posts I’ve made on this subject over what is now seven years.

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