We are on the verge of seeing the draft of the private letting regulation that the Canarian government is about to introduce, with most legal and tourism experts now believing that the regulation will be minor and highly restrictive, covering no more than 25% of the current private letting market. This will comply with the requirement in recent urban letting legislation for autonomous communities to regulate all types of rentals – and it is this which is behind the tourism law amendment, of course (link), though the regional government has been able to make itself appear to be listening to pressure groups like Ascav and Alotca.
So apart from the small minority of lettings that are likely to be able to become legal tourist rentals, the rest is expected to be banned, and so to remain illegal, and I can now confirm that illegal letting inspectors are not only continuing their work, but fines are also still being issued for lack of tourist paperwork, complaints book etc. The inspectorate has taken on board the judgments in favour of Alotca’s appeals, and is doing what the courts demanded: they cannot just take an advert off the internet and issue a fine on that basis as they were doing previously, but an internet advert can serve as a trigger for a more rigorous inspection.
At least one way in which the inspectors are being “more rigorous” is to pose as tourism quality researchers, knocking on doors in pairs with questionnaires and an independent witness, e.g. residential community president, tourism complex agent. etc. Welcoming the occupant to Tenerife, they ask about quality, services, cost, efficiency, all while implying that this is to benefit Tenerife’s tourism – which in their view, of course, it does.
This questionnaire has no legal standing in and of itself, but because it is filled out voluntarily in the presence of a witness, it is integrated into a formal report and denuncia. It is not difficult to imagine how hard it would be to construct a successful defence against that. Owners are in a difficult position, therefore: they either have to tell their “guests” to refuse to fill in questionnaires, with inevitable and possibly awkward explanations, or they should advise their guests that they might be visited by “tourism inspectors” and encourage participation as an occupant resulting from a “personal agreement”.
Guests are asked to sign the questionnaires, and one thing that should be added specifically is that the letting is a private arrangement with no tourist services being supplied. This is far from satisfactory, and guarantees nothing in terms of a successful appeal in the case of a fine, but it will be better than nothing. Clearly the only safe thing to do is not to let illegally, and those who feel they have to continue should at least be very careful not to advertise in such a way that these inspections are triggered. Of course I’ll post about the draft regulation as soon as I have the information to hand.