Illegal letting p3 Illegal letting discussion continued. Page 1 is HERE, page 2 HERE. 78 Responses to Illegal letting p3 Janet on 30 May 2012 at 10:42 pm continuation from p2 … Owner 123 on 30 May 2012 at 10:48 pm If the Canarian newspapers are not interested in this story, why dont we as a collective group put say 100 euros each in a pot and take out a half page advert in each of the Canarian newspapers, where we can have our say and make the Canarian people aware of the problems this law is going cause the islands. Carmen on 30 May 2012 at 11:11 pm I was born in Gran Canaria, where I have always lived and I work for a Spanish solicitor. After reading a considerable number of your reviews, I would like to say what I see from my own experience, based on my work, the opinion of a close friend that works for the Government (not tourist area) and my brother in law, who owns a state agency in the south of Gran Canaria. Those who have a property in a residential complex nowadays must be considered privilege people and have the following advantages: A — Residential properties are usually more valuable (expensive) than touristic (in the same conditions including distance to beach, year when was built, square meters, views and services around). Where there is a reception and a sole agent exploiting, the apartment prices to buy or sell are lower. B — An apartment in a touristic complex would have a higher income potential if you could carry on letting privately. But you will not be able to do it anymore in legal conditions, which means your alternatives are really restricted. C — Legally you can not rent a touristic apartment long term either although authorities are not fining the residential use of a touristic property yet. After giving up holiday lets by a private owner, the only legal alternative is using the property by himself, family and friends with no commercial purposes (free of charge). D — The long term rent is not as well paid as the illegal holiday let, but it allows the owner to get enough money to afford the expenses and the amount of money received is most times higher than the rent paid by the authorized sole agent in a touristic complex, who often pays very little money. Community fees in tourist complexes where there is a legal agent in charge of exploiting the majority of the apartments are usually expensive because that majority dominated by the agent helps him with their votes to approve high community budget and fees. A sole agent knows how important is to him having as many apartments rented by his company as he can get and the best way to achieve his aim is by rising community fees and general expenses. In most cases, the sole agent pays little money as I mentioned before, but he pays the fees in the name of those owners who have signed a contract with him including that agreement. The rest of the community members normally afford by themselves the high fees approved by the majority controlled by the agent. Apart from this fact, in touristic complexes run by a company/agent community expenses and exploitation expenses are sometimes unfortunately and intentionally confused/mixed. That never happens in a residential complex. E — The Government is in favour of exploitation companies and rarely inspect them, unless somebody denounce. I respect affected people that expect the law to be changed. Personally I think it is really difficult to achieve such purpose. As a result, there will be a huge number of touristic properties for sale soon (even more than those at present) and that will make prices decrease (much more than some 30% that has already become cheaper in the last 4 years according to the National Statistics Institute. After the crisis in Spain most apartment sales are in the hands of foreigners who want to invest their money on the Islands to let or spend periods of time here (mostly retired people). Spaniards are not buying property because banks are really reluctant to approve mortgages (credit restrictions). The second of these two options will soon be the most common and, needless to say, a residential apartment is much more suitable than a touristic one for that use. On touristic complexes there are tourists coming in and going out all the time. In residential complexes where residents are respectful and quiet, there should be fewer problems. According to my review, with which you can agree or disagree with no need to create a dispute instead of a controversial civilized debate, it is surprising that those investors who have bought a property in a residential complex are seen on this site as the worst victims of the present situation when it is doubtless just the opposite. sarah on 31 May 2012 at 8:22 am carmen, i agree with some of what you say, but not everything. it is not a black and white situation. there are a lot of grey areas. many foreigners were told that they could rent their apartments out in residential apartment complexes with a nod and a wink, and this was the case, many of us were told the complexes would eventually be touristic. the apartments were sold (many off plan) giving these impressions. the canarian government should have had the notarys at the time of sale pointing out that it would be illegal to rent to holidaymakers. this was never done. most people did not even question the point when purchasing, and those that did were told not to worry – “it was an unused law”. even our spanish bank manager told us it was not a problem. these are grey areas which the canarian government now want to take advantage of. it is unfair, unjust. maybe they should reintroduce the law now from 2012. anything owned before that should be exempt. and they should publicise this everywhere in all national newspapers around europe. that’ll stop people coming over. Janet on 31 May 2012 at 9:21 am Can I just thank Carmen for joining in – and say that I hope it at least serves as a very good example of how many Canarians are viewing this. Those who think they will be up in arms about Governmental stupidity if they were only to know what is going on are rather wide of the mark. Those who do know do not see it in the same light. Their viewpoint is perfectly valid, of course, and these are their own islands! But as I’ve said on several occasions, residential apartments are not the be all and end all of the issue, and there are many who just do not see that there is a problem. As Carmen says, her brother has an estate agency, so she’s aware of this from several perspectives. What I’d like her to respond to though, if she’s continuing to read, is whether she thinks the Government’s clampdown will harm tourism. This is, after all, not a “property” issue so much as a “tourism” one. People are writing to me now afraid to come to Tenerife. They are looking for reassurance that they won’t have the police knocking on their door, or being arrested for renting an apartment, or lose their deposit before they come on holiday because the owner withdraws the offer … I’d also like to know her view of the the sole agent system, which is abusive. It is all very well to talk about “foreigners investing” … but investors need to be looked after, not just have their money taken and then ignored. Finally, I’d like to know whether she approves of the fall in property prices that she is expecting. I agree with her that the market will soon have many more apartments for sale at falling prices – but who does she blame for this, and does she think this will be good for the islands.? Camen on 31 May 2012 at 11:38 am Janet and Sarah, thank you very much for reading and giving your views about the brief summary I sent yesterday. Just to answer some of your questions and make clear several points I am not sure if they were expressed clearly enough due to my language limitations, I would like to say something else. It is obvious most investors were not warned of this unfair law and they were blind when they bought a property. Others were informed in a wrong way. Estate agents want to sell above all and some of them are not real qualified professionals or even don’t know laws. Now it is time to look at the future and try to find the best way to solve this problem. In my modest opinion, you are not fighting with enough weapons and you are not perfectly joined in a group to win this battle. I appreciate your efforts to communicate with other victims as well as Janet’s association action but that’s not sufficient. This problem and its possible effects should be aired in newspapers and somebody has just suggested on this site paying to make it public. It is not a bad idea, but the most important media action ought to take place OUT OF OUR BORDERS, exactly where most tourists come from (UK and Germany). That would make the Government worry about your strength and the consequences of such out of proportion punishment. And bad press would cause a real reduction of tourists travelling to the Canaries, not the fact that a few thousand private apartments are no more on offer on different websites. It is not a 5% fall what you need to be heard by authorities, but 25% when you can read in British Press headlines like these ones: “British investors on property in the Canaries harmed by the abuse of local Government”, “British investment on the Canaries treated in the same way as Repsol in Argentina”. If I were from, let’s say, Newcastle and were interested in enjoying a holiday in Lanzarote, after reading such sensational articles, I would travel to Morocco. The aim shoud not be to cause damage to tourist industry on the Islands, but a temporary crisis will be worth producing if you that makes your complaints about an abusive law be heard by authorities. Janet, I don’t think the Government clampdown will harm tourism as much as most of you have predicted. It will have an obvious repercussion but, as somebody mentioned a few days ago on the forum, private lettings represents just a low percentage of the total beds on the Islands. That’s the reason why if you keep silent, nothing will change. Organization is vital for you. Nowadays, very few tourists are aware of the problem you are having. When it is widely known in the UK, some for sympathy, others for patriotism and quite a few for ignorance will not choose this destination. (“Oh dear, we’ll have to change our plans about our usual holiday place in Lanzarote just in case there are any collateral damage to us this year…”). The sole agent system reminds me of communist policies applied in countries like Venezuela or Cuba. It is abusive not only because you are not allowed to rent individually, but also for being a lucrative business just for the company. You are normally paid “a tip” at the end of the month while the sole agent is becoming wealthy. He perfectly knows you can’t do anything else with your property in legal terms to get money apart from having your apartment confiscated. It is like being his prisoner. So the rent he offers depends only on his volition and it is not regulated by any rule. Anyway, you are not allowed to compete with him. It is nothing to feel proud of that property prices are gradually falling down. But while there are more sellers than buyers, it will be something inevitable. concerned owner on 31 May 2012 at 11:42 am Further to Carmen’s post and Janet’s response, I was talking to my bank manager today who is from Gran Canaria. He said his island has too many complexes, in the boom times the building rate was overdone and now hotels see acre after acre of complexes threatening their existence and have pressured to have this law enforced. As Janet says the consequences for tourism have to happen, it is knock-on. This is duplicated over all the islands so the future of our beloved islands is dire if something isn’t resolved. Camen on 31 May 2012 at 12:10 pm Usual sole agents’ abuse is the main cause of touristic property falling prices. In olden times, when a reservation had to be made 3 months in advance in order not to find overbooking when arriving in the Canaries (1995-1999 boom), a tourist property used to be a great investment. But too many building licenses were given to build new hotels and occupation rates, which would previously be over 90% all year round, dropped as much as to reach the lowest figure in 2009, when only 60% of beds were average occupied on the Canaries. We were eyewitnesses of a getting over situation in 2011, but nothing to do with the high levels experienced during the former Yugoslavia war. Of course, the questionable prosperity seen in 2011 took place due to Tunisia, Egypt and some other problems in Africa, our most important competitors. So the Government was responsible for increasing the beds of offer too much and for making the rent everywhere dropped as a result. Apart from the referred sole agents’ obvious abuse, when the occupation rate was 90% the business was much more profitable to deliver good money to apartment owners than today. Janet on 31 May 2012 at 12:15 pm Carmen, that’s brilliant perspective and context. It is so important for British owners who read this site to hear from a Canarian. Thank you very much. I will be interested to hear whether your comments have given them food for thought, or changed their minds, or … All I would say about publicising the problem beyond the Canaries is that we have tried to avoid this so far for the reason you say. We have not wanted to harm the Canaries, nor our tourism, if it were possible to resolve this without taking it to foreign press. It is beginning to look inevitable, though. B Freeman on 31 May 2012 at 3:32 pm In Carmen’s original post paragraph D, she makes two excellent points which I am very pleased to see confirmed as they match my experiences entirely: First that the Comunidad fee in a tourist complex can be kept high to try to force owners into the explotación, second that the expenses between community and explotación company can and do get mixed up. Both of these factors are inevitable, given the law. If the people running the explotación get in control of the Comunidad, it’s impossible to get them out and they gain an abusive position. So, I’m in agreement that the situation in Tourist complexes is much much worse than in residential. But, that’s looking from the owners’ point of view only. If you take into account the viewpoint of the “tourist” (“guest” or “visitor” I prefer) it’s the other way round. The law is saying to these (generally nice, quiet and well-behaved people): “No, you can’t stay in this nice complex near the beach. You have to go 2km, up the hill to a tourist complex. I think that the islanders’ view of tourists is that they “buy” a holiday based on what they can afford (3-star, 4-star or 5-star) without having a clue about where they are going. Certainly, those who have been before are very particular. Even those who haven’t been to the islands before can be particular about the facilities they want (e.g. washing machine) because private self-catering is the kind of holiday that they are familiar with. Why should they have to accept lower standards because they fancy coming to the Canary Islands? Enough rant for now. andrew on 31 May 2012 at 4:06 pm very interesting to read carmens views. She repeats Jorge view that the private rented apartments are so few , that they are insignificant , and that attacking them will not cause serious harm to the canary economy. That is basically the heart of the issue. If the private renters who are being attacked and stopped from renting are very few and insignificant in economic impact, then why should the canary government attack them in the first place? If the private renters are so few then why should the hotels have demanded this crackdown to try to get these customers into their hotels? It seems clear to me that there were many thousands of private renters visible on the internet ads in 2008, and the hotels and canary government have gone after them because of their great numbers. The canary press not long ago wrote about illegal and clandestine beds in the canaries and mentioned a figure into the hundreds of thousands. People have to remember that the numbers fined so far, and there are more every day, are only a tiny fraction of those involved. On our complex out of about 60 renting apartments so far 4 owners have been fined. Of the 60 renting owners only maybe 20 ever had advertised on the internet. I am not saying that this ratio applies throughout the canaries, but it seems to me that private rented apartments are very numerous and many have never been advertised on the internet. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, we all have to see what happens in the resort in the months ahead. Janet on 31 May 2012 at 4:49 pm I have an answer about the issue of reductions of fines regardless of appeals. It appears that some (but not all) have been reduced without appeal, but the lawyers say that this would mean that these people would then have no further recourse in law. In other words, if no appeal is put in, whatever (if any) reduction is granted by Turismo would be the end of the road because the lack of appeal would mean, legally, an admission of liability. Carmen on 31 May 2012 at 6:09 pm It is clear that illegal letting apartments are many more than hotels, legally established touristic complexes and also the Government would like to exist, but I still emphasize that private lettings are just a low percentage of the total numbers. Furthermore, if we take into account that tourist occupation rates are between 44% (May-June) and 81% (December-January) –far from full in the high season-, when private illegal holiday lettings are absolutely eradicated after a few years of punishment campaign, there will be enough space in hotels, aparthotels and touristic apartments for all visitors who don’t choose alternative destinations to satisfy their self-catering stays abroad. Official occupational rates will became higher than today and the Government will be seen like a hero succeeding in its attempt of this ambitious project. Authorities are convinced that part of those illegal lettings will form part of exploitations run the sole agent (where there is one). Who cares if Pam, Marsha, Robert or James agree or disagree on this statements? The important thing is the image displayed to public opinion about Government’s administration measured by figures. Information is usually distorted. For example, when last year the number of foreign tourists rose some 18% for a few months in comparison with the same periods the year before, Canarian Government maintained in the media that it was the results of the investment efforts made in the World Travel Market in London and equivalent such as the one in Berlin and some others, apart from aggressive advertisements like those shown in London underground and TV spots paid by the Spanish taxpayer, giving slight consideration to the terrible events in Northern Africa, which in fact, accepted or not, was the main reason for the improvement. B Freeman on 31 May 2012 at 6:40 pm I do remember a year or two ago, mention in the press of 100,000 private rented units and 400,000 illegal or clandestine beds, if I remember it right. I don’t know what a clandestine bed looks like, but it doesn’t sound like a place for a good nights sleep. It would be good to know where those numbers came from. Those numbers indicate that private accommodation does or can provide for a very signification portion of the visitors. My experience of flying between the UK and Canaries is that the people with the misfortune to find themselves sitting next to me are around 50% tourists going to official accommodation, and the rest split between long-stay workers, ex-pats, owners, escaping Canarians and the illegal and clandestine visitors. So, that doesn’t tally with the number of beds. Does anyone have any better indications of numbers? I agree that there are an awful lot of apartments that are available to visitors but not advertised on internet. I remember about 6 years ago the Canaries Institute of Estadisticos published a breakdown of visitors based on the writings of a clipboard-man at the airport. I always viewed these with deep suspicion as the interviewees were self-selecting. I remember a figure of 6% for the short-stay visitors who were not staying in tourist accommodation and this was explained as “owners visiting their own properties”. So, according to that, there were no private rentals at all. I haven’t seen the equivalent publication in recent years. Janet on 31 May 2012 at 6:46 pm Just to clarify: illegal beds are those which may not be rented out at all, i.e. residential; clandestine are those which may be rented out, but which are not rented out officially – i.e. touristic but not through the on-site sole agent. Micky on 31 May 2012 at 6:49 pm B Freeman – I think you are right by have a slightly different view – in the 1980′s we may not have known where we were exactly going as we only had travel agents with brochures to choose our holidays from however nowadays a “tourist” is a very different animal with experience and intelligence – I believe the government here think visitors to the islands will (without having the choice of private apartments) simply choose the 5* AI hotels. As intelligent/experienced people I am sure the majority of european countries people will certainly not be pushed into anything they don’t want!! As Janet pointed out the Government would prefer quality people staying in qualilty accommodation – but that just isn’t going to happen. I am not saying quality people don’t visit the islands – but just that they all have a budget, intelligence and experience and sometimes a 5* AI hotel doesn’t fit the bill. As lots of you on here have all said before. Interesting as well to see that Carmen states spanish tax payers money has been used to advertise in Britian to encourage people to visit the islands -wonder what the spanish will say then when they realise their money has been completely wasted as British guests won’t be visiting the islands because they have seen in the media about the way British investors have been treated. derek on 31 May 2012 at 7:15 pm Before I ask the question, I will state I think it is a bad law. But my question is: If you could make your residential complex Touristic, how many would be prepared for the community to pay possibly 150,000 euros, to upgrade to the increased tourist fire Regs, and then a possible increase on community fees maybe a further 120,000 euros a year for 24 hour reception, and full time registered life guards (not pool attendants), plus public liability insurance. John Goodreid on 31 May 2012 at 7:17 pm B. Freeman is close to the mark, I think you will find the the number of official beds is 450,000 but the number of “illegal” is over 650,000. There are over 12,000 “illegal” beds advertised on the internet in the Canaries. which I would imagine that represents 30% to 40% of the total number being rented out as even more peole do not advertise on the net. There are over 5000 advertised on the internet for Tenerife alone, currently falling because of the fines, down 15% since Xmas with Owners Direct alone. So close down the Illegal rentals and you have over 4,000,000 less tourists that is about 2 billion euros less for the economy so will the last one leaving please switch of the light, if and when it happens because of the Kamikazee policies Owner 123 on 31 May 2012 at 7:31 pm Thanks Carmen for putting forward your views on this. We have to trust Janet and her team to go forward with this. You say about letting the British and German public know in their own country about the situation here, you could be right there. I know many owners that feel stabbed in the back and feel very bitter towards these laws, they have quite happily taken money from investors who have invested here and now twisting things around at the investors expense. I know many UK owners that will be very happy to attend tourism exhibitions in the UK and even Germany where the Canary islands are promoting and to hand leaflets outs and explain what exactly is going on here. This wouldnt of course effect many people at these shows but it will get the message out and create a negative effect for the Canary Islands. I hope this never happens. But dont under estimate owners/investers that feel betrayed (rightly or wrongly) and have put their life savings/pensions etc into these islands. Something has to be sorted out. B Freeman on 31 May 2012 at 7:37 pm Derek, you rightly point out all the hurdles that currently a complex has to overcome to qualify as a touristic site. However, a relaxation in the law, if it ever comes, could and should be accompanied by relaxation of those requirements. A temporary guest is no more at risk from fire than you are. Probably less because they spend more time out of the complex. Private guests do not need a 24 hour reception. They don’t need any reception at all. So most of these obstacles are imaginary. There may be some friction between permanent residents and visitors in your complex but be assured it doesn’t have to be like that. I know of other places where there is no friction at all. It’s just unfortunate that in order to provide the kind of accommodation that many visitors require, you have to be illegal! Catherine on 31 May 2012 at 7:40 pm We let our apartment through an official letting agent and also advertise on the Internet to attract more bookings.If we get a booking from the website we then redirect it through to the official company. Surely this is not illegal? derek on 31 May 2012 at 7:53 pm In answer to B Freeman. I cannot argue with your logic, in fact I probably agree on the safety aspect, but where does trying to change the law stop. Not only would people like the status changed, they would then want the existing law on Touristic requirements changed. These are, and have been the standards required for many years, so it would appear you would like them watered down so that the complexes, that would like to change would not have to spend any money. Carmen on 31 May 2012 at 8:10 pm When in the press it was written about 650,000 clandestine beds, it was referred mainly to hotels and many other type of touristic complexes operating without full license or having the lack of any required document to be completely authorized. About 11.9 million tourists arrived in the Canaries last year. Do you really believe all those 650,000 beds (325,000 rooms) belong to private apartment lettings? Oh, stop winding me up! If all those beds had something to do with private lettings, the Government would soon collect more money than banks in Switzerland. There are not 650,000 LEGAL beds on the Canaries… it is unbelievable there could be 650,000 beds associated to private Illegal lettings. I might get surprised one of these days reading the number of illegal lettings doubles the number of legal ones. My God! By the way, I can see a lot of posts in the forum, but very few different names. Where are those hundreds of thousands owners hidden? Is it not supposed to be Janet’s site the most important and popular one? I honestly wish you all the best, but from my point of view, you are very badly organized. I don’t want to give the impression of being a little knowledgeable but I feel so sorry for you when I see how much you could be doing to face this terrible situation all together. By using such words I am just trying to motivate you in such a way you do something else besides complaining and repeating the same arguments time after time. derek on 31 May 2012 at 8:11 pm In answer to John Goodreid. Figures look devastating. Lets look a little further. UK visitors last year 1.6 million, lets say average per month 133,000, legal beds according to your figures 450,000, seems to be enough room. All Visitors 5 million, lets assume 416,000 per month, still seems to be enough room. I am not arguing that the loss of the illegal apartments is not a problem, but it is by no means a disaster. Janet on 31 May 2012 at 8:18 pm Catherine, it’s not illegal if lettings are done through the system run by the sole agent. Mervyn on 31 May 2012 at 8:36 pm Hello Carmen & Derek I have a few points I would like to raise, On the west coast where our apartment is which covers about 3 miles of coast line at least 3 of the estate agents who sold property to un suspecting owners of this law are now no longer in business is the Canarian Govt now going to compensate these owners for miss selling in their country. Also as the Canarian Govt has been taken to court twice in the recent years by the Euopean court and lost mainly due to their attitude to (non residents FOREIGNERS) ever going to respect people who have invested in their country. As for the costs for being touristic our small complex only 63 apartments which was built only in 2000 and we have paid to bring it upto the full requirements eg each apts fitted with smoke detectors which is relayed to our reception yes we have a full staffed operating reception. We have just had installed an upgraded water supply system,We have just had an extra fire escape fitted and we are now in the process of having our pool area gated so somebody cannot walk into our pool at night. This complex is also GOLD rated by RCI but we are ILLEGAL Canarian Logic I guess. concerned owner on 31 May 2012 at 8:42 pm The posts are getting really interesting, but at the moment hardly anyone is talking about private stand alone villas, only complexes. Villas are affected by the law too, and are offering the very kind of holiday many discerning tourists want. These tourists will for sure go elsewhere, they do not want to stay in either hotels or complexes, choosing the peace and privacy of a private villa. The non issue of licences for this category would seem far less complicated to rectify. ALOTCA are well aware of all the categories facing each type of ‘illegal’ let and hopefully we shall soon know whether common sense has prevailed or we have to resort to the courts. Then, we must all get the headlines Carmen refers to a reality! derek on 31 May 2012 at 9:03 pm In answer to Mervyn, If after spending money on upgrading, you cannot achieve the Touristic status, you have my sympathy, but I must ask, if again it was bad advice that prompted the upgrades to be started, in the mistaken belief that touristic status would follow? Owner 123 on 31 May 2012 at 10:01 pm Carmen, you make some valid points. ALOTCA is in its early days yet and i feel there is a lot more to come, with heavier tactics ahead. I have heard 4000 properties have been fined which I would guestimate is 5% of illegal lets available. Lets say, each illegal let has an average of 3 persons per let and say each illegal property gets 26 weeks a year. I make that 312,000 people that wont be coming to the Canary Islands, what happens in two years time when 25% of the illegal properties have been fined. That is over 1.5 million tourists that wont be coming. OK, some will stay in hotels, also minus the tourists that dont understand the siutation and think coming to the Canary Islands they will be liable for a fine, so they are going to go else where. Then in a couple of years when this does hit the UK press your average tourist will not come here, not because they dont like it but because they will feel the tourist sector is a mess and wont take a risk with their hard earned cash and go somewhere where tourism is more stable. Then the tourist board give themselves a big pat on the back for their work done and money they have generated from investors and employ another 17 inspectors then 50% of illegal lets are fined = 3 million tourists. This is where i fear for Canaries and its wonderful people. (excuse my maths and my grammer) andrew green on 31 May 2012 at 10:06 pm the cost of getting to touristic standard need not be that great. we are dormant touristic so we have all the fire regs stuff, just as you would expect smoke detectors, information and extingwishers. The bits of the protectionist law which we should all hope are reformed which do cost but are completely unnecesary are the 24 hour reception and maid service. These things are hotel add ons, just put in the law to give the hotels the competitive edge of burdening apartments with hotel costs. The villas are out on their own and as the law stands they can not get legal. The problem is if the villas were able to be legal everyone else could demand equality and ask to be legal also. Why should a single villa be able to rent without a sole agent system, when an owner of an apartment in a complex could not? Of course both owners should be able to rent on their own , like the rest of the world, but in law how could you permit the villa and not the apartment? To Carmen , I still think that there are a great many apartments involved in this, and they are very important to the canary economy. I still think that if it were true that they are not many and only a small percentage of the islands tourist beds, then in that case there would be no need for an attack on them in the first place. andrew green on 31 May 2012 at 10:20 pm the new madrid government may be a big help in getting this mess sorted. They seem a pro enterprise type of party. Given the problems of the spanish economy they sound like they may be displeased when senor paulino rivero asks for more money to fund his high unemployment levels, given that senor rivero and his canary government are acting to deter tourists and damage their own economy. The protectionist policies that are proving to be disasterous , may be swept aside by the madrid government who might not wish to send millions of euros to help the canary government, when they are damaging their economy theselves. Janet on 31 May 2012 at 10:22 pm The problem is that the Canaries is an autonomous region of Spain with its own Parliament, and autonomy over touristic policy. Madrid cannot overrule the Canarian Government on this matter. John Goodreid on 1 June 2012 at 8:36 am I found the following post on the “Canarian Crisis Forum” which can be found HERE and which totally supports Janet and her excellent advice actions but is mainly for those owners that primarily concerned with renting and the current problems attached to it. It quotes information given by Janet on this site in 2010, which I presume she will verify. Population of the islands is 2.1 million in 2011. Visitors per year: most years between 9 and 10 million Janet wrote in 2010: There are some 430,021 official tourist beds in 3,033 establishments in the Canaries, 645 of which are hotels and 2,388 self-catering premises… the Canarian Government has committed itself to identifying the 400,000 or so “illegal beds” and around 650,000 “clandestine” ones thought to be available in the Canaries On 15 of the more significant Listing Sites, there are over 20,000 canarian private lettings advertised. A few will be Casas Rurales which are legal. A small number may be legal touristic complexes. The vast majority are private owners. This doesn’t mean that there are 20,000 units advertised, as some owners advertise in more than one place. This number has increased by 200 during the 2 months that I have been monitoring it. sarah on 1 June 2012 at 8:50 am does anyone know if the canarian government are now giving out more touristic permission to complexes which do ‘tick the box’? ours is a very new complex, built to all fire standards etc, gated pools. we dont have a reception but we dont actually need one. Janet on 1 June 2012 at 8:53 am JG, that is from the original post that started the whole thing off, in December 2010 (HERE). Only a small bit of that quote is mine, though, the rest is BF’s own words. The bit that is mine is: There are some 430,021 official tourist beds in 3,033 establishments in the Canaries, 645 of which are hotels and 2,388 self-catering premises. Clearly, the “illegal” beds roughly double the available official accommodation, and more than triple it if one takes the “clandestine” ones into account. These are the Government figures that were used in the Parliamentary announcement that I reported on. Sarah – I don’t know of any licences at the moment (but for what it’s worth I understand you would need a reception for touristic regs). Mervyn on 1 June 2012 at 8:58 am Derek We did not upgrade our complex to gain touristic status all the owners belived we were touristic these were upgrades to conform to new regulations, and like responsable owners we agreed to it. The main aim of this action is to upgrade the holiday bed availability to 5 star if I class my apartment against a hotel (room) It has a lounge with flat screen UK TV, 4 seater suite & chase lounge, full size mahogany dinning table & chairs.Fully fitted seperate kitchen, king size bed & fully fitted bathroom. Outside it has 2 balconys overlooking the sea & giant cliffs of Los Gigantes 1 balcony has the latest top quilaty patio furniture the other has wheeled sun loungers we also have sun awnings and as we have just returned following a heatwave a godsend to have them also A/Con. This is not a sales pitch and I would rate my apartment 6to7 stars against any hotel room.(the only draw back you have to make your own bed every morning but our maids do collect your kitchen & bathroom waste every day. concerned owner on 1 June 2012 at 9:08 am As I understand it Sarah, the government have decided to continue the ban on issuing licences for another 3 years! Janet on 1 June 2012 at 9:14 am No. As I posted HERE, the moratorium is extended from now to December this year, when they will announce how they intend to proceed. Micky on 1 June 2012 at 9:36 am Mervyn You say that your complex is illegal and yet you also state you are RCI Gold Crown. Therefore there must be a licence on the complex somewhere as it sounds to me like this is a half private and half timeshare complex. I manage several complexes where this is the case and therefore it should not be too difficult for the private owners to get together and apply for a exploitation licence themselves (other than right now they are not issuing new ones!!!!) – seperate to the timeshare exploitation company. Having said that I would rather see the whole exploitation licence scheme abolished. Andrew Green – I agree all owners should be able to rent privately villas and complexes should have the same freedom. Carmen – I agree totally with your last comment – less talking more action!! Jorge on 1 June 2012 at 10:11 am I have read somewhere on the net about inspections in the Balearics. It was said that in Palma de Majorca, according to law, fines are between €3,050 and €30,050. Paulino Rivero and the the Balearics President had a meeting a few months ago to exchange tactics about the way to combat illegal lettings. Does anybody know anything about it? Janet, I have read your figures below. If they were pronounced by Canarian Authorities and are absolutely real, you all don’t have to do anything to face the problem. When the industry collapses, the Government will change the law immediately. Therefore, there is no need to carry on working and wasting your time, except for the two lawyers who are in charge of the appeals. It sounds abrupt and it would be logical to me if I believed the mentioned figures are true. Nevertheless, 20,000 properties advertised on 15 different sites seem believable. But I presume most owners insert 3 adverts (average), which means there must be about 7,000 different apartments on the net. 7,000 apartments are around 21,000 beds. It is a very different figure from 650,000 clandestine beds or 800,000 illegal ones (“There are some 430,021 official tourist beds… and the “illegal” beds roughly double the available official accommodation”- wrote Janet this morning and a long time ago, too). If 21,000 are published on the net, where do the rest of owners get their visitors/guests from to fill 779,000 beds? Those figures are definitely irrational. It doesn’t matter if they are set by members of the Canarian Parliament or by The Wizard of Oz. Phillip on 1 June 2012 at 10:32 am I think we can all become distracted by the figures as they can vary wildly depending who is producing them and what their adenda is. We all know, for example that political parties produce figures that suit their purposes at varying times – especially when delivering annual budget statements. The real issues apply regardless of the figures but it is strange that we are told that the Island does not need the ‘illegal lets’ as they are few, but yet the fines are because of the ‘vast numbers of illegal beds.’ The sole agency is the root of the problem and this needs to be dealt with as a priority – it is hard to find any reasoned argument that can support this system of operation. Mervyn on 1 June 2012 at 10:33 am Mickey Are you resident in Tenerife, our management has missled & lied to us for the past 3 years and we should be looking for a new president in the near future Micky on 1 June 2012 at 10:42 am I am resident in Tenerife yes. Where is your complex and is it part timeshare? Mervyn on 1 June 2012 at 11:14 am Los Gigantes and it is approx 52% timeshare 48% outright owners andrew on 1 June 2012 at 12:37 pm I think that when Jorge says we have little to do but wait for the industry to collaspe, that is what is going to happen. The original figures quoted are the real numbers here to consider.We only ever had one ad on the internet, it worked wonderfully and we could get 47 weeks rented without any more mulitiple ads to pay for. On our complex of 80 apartments,of the 60 owners who rented, only about 10 were internet advertisers. The rest were word of mouth people. Maybe some used local press ads in the uk , but I suspect that they would be happy with their regulars and they were full in the winter months and a bit slow in summer. When we got going on the internet we increased our annual bookings from around 36 weeks to 47 weeks, the increase being precious spring/summer bookings which we could not fill before with local press ads. many of us have predicted that the big downturn would start now, as the lack of internet ads meant no spring /summer customers, that appears to be what is happening now in the southern resorts. Winter will pick up a bit as swallows and regulars will return. Jorge you have to understand the large number of quiet renters who exist and never advertise. also our place is listed on aronas legal complex list so this government error may be messing up their figure. Jorge on 1 June 2012 at 12:45 pm In the BOC (16 February 2011) you can find a fine issued to the sole agent in charge of Aparthotel Ponderosa (Tenerife) because that company didn’t have the minimum number of apartments required by law. €57,600 reduced later to €30,001€. There must be a few more of those fines delivered to agents who signed the arrival of the letter and were not published on BOC for that reason. All legal agents in irregular conditions should be denounced by Alotca. Jorge on 1 June 2012 at 12:54 pm Andrew – I wish you were right and your forecast about a temporary downturn took place soon. If your future efforts are not more efficient, that will be the only way authorities realize they have made a terrible mistake. But I swear they will NEVER recognize the error. Janet on 1 June 2012 at 1:06 pm We aren’t here to denounce anyone, Jorge. concerned owner on 1 June 2012 at 1:23 pm Oh! apologies Janet, why did I think 3 years! well that’s better news, silly me! Janet on 1 June 2012 at 2:00 pm Let’s hope it gives us some room to bargain over the next seven months!! andrew on 1 June 2012 at 5:34 pm you may be right on this jorge, our efforts may be in vain. But we are British and we often work best when the world thinks we are finished . this is a big injustice, as I think you already agree, In my opinion there is always hope when fighting against obvious injustice. In spains history the people have often suffered against government injustice, but not for the want of fighting against it, many spanish people have fought bravely against the injustices of past spanish goverments. Win or lose we are going to fight on and try to win. Terry on 1 June 2012 at 8:40 pm Craig, Thank you for your comments. I would like to say that when we chose our complex we took into account all the pro and cons of buying there and we did our homework thoroughly. Our complex is well maintained and run by a dedicated president and committee who work extremely hard. I would say it is in one of the most desirable areas in south Tenerife and I am appalled at your comments that we have chosen badly. Your comments I find very offensive and therefore this will be my last entry into what I was hoping would be a site that would listen constructively to concerned owners and not to have a snipe. Thank you Janet. I will continue to look at your site, as most of the what I read I find very interesting but will not actively participate in the future. I will finish by stating that there are laws about holiday lets on residential complexes which are being broken by those who are ignorant or simply out to make a fast buck. richard on 1 June 2012 at 8:57 pm bye,bye,Terry,Craig give Terry half of your curly wurly at playtime!! and make up. Janet on 1 June 2012 at 10:38 pm Terry, this comments section on this single issue was really intended to allow those affected (in any way) to discuss the issue. Clearly, I myself am guided mainly by José and Santiago’s experience and expertise, but my “value”, if you like, to them is that I am a mouthpiece for the expat community, many of whom they would otherwise not have access to. I lose that if people choose not to contribute. I hope you reconsider. tom on 2 June 2012 at 12:29 pm without the income from letting these properties are worth very little,100 million euros has fled spain since march,the ibex index is down forty percent since jan 2012.Investing in property in any part of spain is a suicide mission/mission impossible.Without a letting licence it is illegal,you cannot get a letting licence therefore cannot pay mortgage.Adios amigoes Jorge on 2 June 2012 at 12:32 pm What about organizing a demonstration where most tourists are concentrated. Pirámide de Arona sounds like an appropriate area. Alotca is not here to denounce anybody as Janet has said and I respect her opinion (although it seems clear it would be one of the different ways to face the problem as the Government has been pushed by legal agents to fight against the wrongly named “illegal” ones). A demonstration to report tourists what is happening and attract the media is neither profitable at all for Alotca’s lawyers? Janet on 2 June 2012 at 1:01 pm The problem as I (we) see it is that the last thing we want to do is frighten more tourists away. We have to hope to resolve this within the Canaries without causing any more damage. That might not be possible in the end, and it’s looking unlikely now, but we’re at the final stage of the first appeal … and I’d hate to jeopardise that before we get the final answer from the President. Owner 123 on 2 June 2012 at 1:37 pm I think the president has to be told that owners will not just lay down and accept this injustice, Owners will take this back to the UK press and other tourism sectors and make tourists aware of how their holidays can be cancelled possibly without refunds, flights cancelled due to lack seats filled, tourism in the Canaries is in a mess, will the accommodation they have booked be guarenteed. Few stories like this going around will be deverstating for these islands. Many owners may not know how it works in the Canaries but certainly know how it works in the UK. Iam sure many UK tourists will not take a chance and will take their hard earned cash else where. I think this is along the lines that Carmen was stating. Janet on 2 June 2012 at 1:45 pm This is indeed part of what the President will be told – and has been told in the appeal, since he has not (yet) agreed to meet in person. richard on 2 June 2012 at 6:42 pm Janet,I think your disciples are getting restless I think this could be a good time to start turning ”the water in to wine”!! andrew green on 2 June 2012 at 8:34 pm its not going to need alotca to perform miracles to get this sorted, the whole crazy crackdown as started by the canarian goverment seems so outrageous and idiotic, that a well organised campaign and legal challenge should do the business. Many renting owners are very shocked and upset by this terrible event, they have invested a lot of money in their apartments and have brought much needed tourism to the canarys. Then without any advance warning or consultation the canary government , who we might consider a part of western europeon democracy, have handed out incredibly huge fines on these peolpe in the manner of Robert Mugabwe or Idi Amin. This is naturally going to get a lot of people upset and eager to start hitting back.Given that many of them would never have expected such gangster tactics from a modern europeon democratic government , then people were shocked to a degree as well. People need to join Alotca and this can be beaten, it may take time but the whole thing is really too ridiculous to not be defeated once the protectionist laws are examined in europe. It will mean a lot of bad press for Paulino Rivero and his canary government, and so it will further harm canary tourism. Alotca has so far tried to act in reasonable way to give the government the oppurtunity to reconsider before things move on and the canaries dirty washing gets done in public. These are very early days and the eagerness and anger of many owners is understandable, as long as alotcas membership continues to grow from these early days then matters can be progressed towards reforming these ridiculous and protectionist laws in the weeks ahead. Doreen on 2 June 2012 at 10:27 pm In reply to Owner, it really is scaremongering to talk of cancelled flights, if flights are not filling, Ryanair and the like will just adjust prices to pick up the slack. And one of the major problems has always been that deposits were never guaranteed anyway when dealing with Private Renters: that is one of the risks you run when booking off the net. I have huge sympathy with owners who are now caught, but I do not think your case is helped with sensationalist headlines that have no figures to back them up. There’s a report on one forum of how letting has picked up again on El Mirador in Los Cristianos. Many owners will be able to struggle along with their regulars so the dramatic drop is unlikely to happen. What will be more worrying for Canarian Tourism is this Summer as the Spanish market, the largest over this period. concerned owner on 3 June 2012 at 7:55 am I agree with Andrew Green, once the first appeal has been rejected ( assuming it is) the Canarian government will get some really bad press. If they are aware of this prior to rejecting the appeal and still choose that route they will regret it. Backing for ALOTCA is rising and once all the owners realise what is going on ( there are loads who still have no idea!) the campaign can only gain strength. Is there a time scale for this rejection? Home from home on 3 June 2012 at 9:23 am Doreen, for several years Ryanair have had flights every day from my local airport, Glasgow. This year they only have flights 4 days a week, as they now do not fly on Mondays, Wednesday’s and Fridays. It could be said that they are just doing this to ensure the 4 flights a week are full by having people fly on one of the days there is a plane, but I still think there must be fewer tourists coming from Glasgow. Janet on 3 June 2012 at 9:32 am I should be seeing the lawyers this coming week so will post whatever update I have then. Doreen on 3 June 2012 at 9:44 am Home from Home, you will see from this report what Ryanair’s policies are re grounding planes http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9048592/Ryanair-fares-surge-after-planes-grounded.html The fall off in private renters will hardly show on their radar. Until this group does some real believable research rather than just throwing out Doom & Gloom (bankrupt communities, empty planes, etc etc) it will be hard to take you seriously. I posted on a forum last Novemeber, saying, okay, get organised, who will volunteer to research the actual figures – say, how many units in Los Cristianos are Residential but rented, Timeshare, Touristic etc. How many jobs in bars & restaurants in the area (and how many of them are actually legal) and so on. Without these sorts of numbers, it is hard to make to make a case that The End is Nigh. Carmen on 3 June 2012 at 9:48 am I wonder how many more owners have to be caught to make Alotca’s leaders react. Janet, you ask for patience. However, this story started more than a year ago and apparently everything is the same. At first sight, appeals seem to have failed in the first step and there are many more victims every day. Nearly everybody in the forum support the hypothetical idea that the Government strategy will cause a HUGE damage to the local tourist industry, but not so many of you are in favor of accelerating the presumable future collapse by alerting British press, delivering broachers in tourists resort streets, warning ignorant owners of the risk of keeping their advertisements on the letting sites… Are you really so sensitive to harming Canarian economy or are you afraid of having more problems to get rid of your properties at a reasonable price when properties in the Estate agents suddenly double the present ones? Are you honestly worried about your compatriots who have not been caught yet? Personally I would and I would do whatever so as to avoid their tragedy. With all my respects to anybody who might feel hurt by my words, I sometimes think all these dramatic circumstances for so many victims who see how their lives have been unfairly changed may become a extremely lucrative way of making good money for others. The more fines issued, the more appeals required. I am terribly sorry to speak like this, but otherwise I would be hypocritical. You don’t really imagine how slow justice in Spain is. From my point of view, the most effective method to face successfully the problem is making the Government aware of the mess you might cause in the public opinion in the UK. If you are seen as a consolidated group willing to do whatever to defend your rights, the Governement will feel threatened and might accept a possible approach to negotiate. By the way, Canarian Government has invested a little more of our taxpayer money on a campaign developed in the UK taking advantage of Queen Elisabeth’s celebration, which is supposed to attract one million people and a lot more on TV, internet, radio and other means of communication. It is published in today’s Canary press. I also have something to enquire: If there are so many fined people so far and writing in google clue words it seems easy to find Janet’s site (I did), why are there very few affected people taking part of the forum? It is not a trick question. I’d like to thank readers for being so patient while reading my comment and keep calm. I perfectly know some of my language and suggestions might be offensive. It is not intentionally. Janet on 3 June 2012 at 10:24 am Carmen, you say we don’t realize how slow justice is, and in the same breath accuse us (Alotca) of dragging our feet to make money for the lawyers/property speculators! We ask for patience precisely because justice here is slow – when it exists at all! Do you think we have not made the point to the Government of the damage this will cause if it becomes widely known? We have. Repeatedly. Do you think that having invested in these islands we are not “sensitive to harming Canarian economy”? How will it benefit us when your Government (for which we “foreigners” do not have a vote) destroys the money we have brought to transform your islands? I would ask, instead, why you and your fellow Canarians aren’t taking to the streets because it is the Canarians themselves who will get left behind here when we are all driven out. What will happen to these islands then? Bananas again? Cochineal? You say you do not intend to offend. Perhaps, then, you could stop criticising those who are trying to do something and start getting the message across to your fellow Canarians to do something themselves. B Freeman on 3 June 2012 at 10:57 am Doreen, you’re absolutely right. As things stand currently, the enforcement has had zero effect on availability of private holiday accommodation. The number of online adverts is, if anything, increasing. In some complexes, where the inspectors have concentrated, yes, the private letting there might be much reduced, but over the islands as a whole, I don’t think there’s any effect yet. All sorts of things affect the numbers of visitors to the Islands. This year, the Spanish economy and the Olympics will probably hit hard. But even that is hard to predict as as Canarian accommodation prices are low compared to high season mainland. So hard up Spaniards may be coming to the Canaries for a cheaper holiday. The Turismo probably knows exactly what it is doing: quietly issuing huge fines to bring in a continuous stream of cash, while doing minimal harm to the tourist economy. This will be placating the hotel companies too. The danger is that this could continue indefinitely. We do indeed need to get organised and do continuous research. Above all we need to inform the “sleeping” owners about what is going on. I’ve taken the first steps with informing owners – just a small trial run and it’s too early to judge the results yet. Next week, we could be ready to start spreading the message in earnest, but it takes time and effort. Volunteers are needed. If you can help, please go HERE and register. Jorge on 3 June 2012 at 11:06 am Carmen – Your review looks very intelligent. I agree with you on part of what you have said, except for the slightly diplomatic words you sometimes use. As far as I know, a lot more could have been done so far. I would like to add that delivering broachers among tourists would also help to get the 15,000 required signatures, apart from getting their support and sympathy. You know how the system works and the way politicians work much more than any Briton. It has been said the abuse committed by a number of legal sole agents who enforce owners to take part in their exploitations by increasing community fees and mixing up community and exploitation expenses so that the last ones are partially afforded by owners out of exploitation. At this respect Canarian Tourist Law is good for exploitation companies. Alotca doen’t want to denounce these agents when they haven’t got enough units under exploitation (50% + 1 or 100% depending on the complex type). Does everybody have the same opinion as Janet? Anything to say? Janet – I regret to say Canarians in general are not aware of the terrible problem you have and very few would think this is the end of the local tourist industry. But that makes no difference because Canarians can’t do anything to help in a short term (four years ahead to the next election). This Government permitted the overgrowth of hotels and apartment complexes with no limits and that produced an inland crisis and the fall of occupation rates. The best way the Government has to redirect the offer excess is banning illegal lets. The most remarkable Carmen’s points is: THIS GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CHANGE ITS POLICY UNLESS THERE IS BAD PRESS ABROAD. B Freeman – For sure the Government wants to keep fining gradually so that bad news is not spread quickly. It is a way of catching everybody with the minimum harm to the industry as you have said. Janet on 3 June 2012 at 11:57 am I’ve been guided by the lawyers on all these points, and they’ve been adamant that this “bad press abroad” tactic should only be used once the present ones have been shown to fail: at present this isn’t the case, though I personally think we should be very near admitting failure on the first tactics. Once again I’ll repeat – this is an asociación I was invited to join to be the mouthpiece of the expat community/foreign owners. I don’t think the asociación was ever promising miracles, and I certainly wasn’t. In terms of detailed research, that is a huge task, and one I think should be funded if it is to take place. My own objection would be that whatever figures one came up with as a result of such research would be pulled to pieces just like all other statistics always are. We might not be “to be taken seriously” for some, but there is absolutely nothing stopping various organizations working in parallel. Those who approve/appreciate/like Alotca’s position and performance are welcome as members. Those who do not are in no way required to join! I do not see the point, though, of criticism when all they need to do is start up an asociación of their own. If it is indeed true, as Jorge says, that Canarians don’t and won’t care, then I actually think we’re going nowhere. Maybe it really will take Canarian business to close down en masse (if that actually ever happens – we think it will, but others disagree) before they listen. I myself don’t think that a bad press abroad will do anything: Turismo is already intimating that the British market is past its peak, and is turning its attention elsewhere, to northern and, particularly, eastern Europe. Laura Velázquez on 3 June 2012 at 12:43 pm Although, as Janet has pointed out, Turismo is trying to attract tourists from new origins such as Russia, France, Poland or Finland to minimize the risk, nearly 40% of our visitors STILL come from the UK and nowadays we need them to survive in such an enormous crisis. The Government STILL appreciates the decreasing number of British guests and that’s why so much money is STILL invested on British market. If the Government and its campaigns are driven to make British market less relevant in the tourist context, it may become true that you all will not be as important for the industry as you are today. At that future moment, your complaints will not be as powerful as they would be today if you “shout in loud voice”. In democracy the variety of views is supposed to enrich the subject we are all dealing with. I understand some people may feel offended depending on the way ideas are expressed and for sure criticisms are not welcome when you, Janet, are obviously trying to conduct the problem in the way you consider best. But by listening to opposite opinions of the strategies available to face “the enemy” you have nothing to lose. richard on 3 June 2012 at 12:55 pm why is ALOTCA ,s top table only made up of 5 people ,all who could benefit financially from the exposure to so many owners/investors. because of the type of business,s they run why not have 1or2 who are directly affected by the problem to even out the input owners living in the U.K. should be encouraged to talk to the press and T.V. [remember the land grab in mainland Spain, it help there].maybe the lawyers want a few owners to take it to court here their fees will be 3-4k. per owner. derek on 3 June 2012 at 1:04 pm Doesn’t history teach us, that, by confronting Governments head on, that they tend to dig their heels in. Maybe, just Maybe, The ALOTCA (initial) strategy could be the correct one. Janet on 3 June 2012 at 1:17 pm I hear the calls for loud action and bad press abroad. The lawyers, two Canarians, disagreed – so far. I am beginning slightly to despair of getting the point across that my function, if it exists at all, is as a focal point between the Canarian lawyers who are campaigning against the status quo and the foreign owners/expatriates who are suffering because of that status quo. Laura says I have nothing to lose by listening – that’s exactly what I’m doing. I listen to all opinions and report back to the asociación. It is not a case of ME conducting this in the way I consider best. This is not my own personal individual crusade! richard on 3 June 2012 at 1:19 pm Derek,are,nt you up to speed!! what about the 3 u-turn,s our own governments just made you know ”THE PASTY TAX”etc. because of pressure from the affected parties!!! Janet on 3 June 2012 at 1:21 pm Richard, I have no idea why ALOTCA has a founding committee of 5 – but surely that’s irrelevant. The 5 were just to found the asociación formally, and the 5 of us are registered as founding members. Apart from that, we have no special status! All members are equal. The practicalities, though, mean that even with the 5 of us it seems impossible to arrange a committee meeting! If you would like to give your input, however, at a committee meeting, why not just get in touch with José or Santiago and ask to come along? And at this point I am closing the discussion down. It is once too often that someone has suggested I am doing this for financial benefit. This site was always intended as a news and information site, giving people information and help that I often wished was available to me when I first moved here. Yes, I’ve done work here, but it has been overwhelmingly through contacts from when I was with Horizon, or from personal contacts that I have made – or through either Tenerife Forum or The Tenerife Forum at various stages. This site, my own personal blog, takes time and money – and, really, all the contact I get from it seems to be direct questions or requests for information. I don’t mind this AT ALL, but when I then get told I’m going to benefit financially – when the OPPOSITE is true – I don’t see why I should create pages specifically to cause myself grief. Sorry. Of course I will continue to report any updates as I have them, including after my meeting with José later this week. For what it’s worth though, the Valencia landgrab law is STILL in force … regardless of the bad press ….. Janet on 9 June 2012 at 3:25 pm I’ve closed the discussion page on illegal letting because, for my own personal purposes, it has done well in giving me a real taste of the opinions held about the issue – which is my own function in Alotca – and in providing an arena for those affected to discuss the issue. There is, though, now THIS forum set up by contributor Ben Freeman: I would encourage all those who wish to discuss the matter further to join that forum to continue there”.