In Tenerife

Public meeting and “illegal letting” lobbying association announcement

Update 14 March: Just a reminder that this meeting is tomorrow morning at 10am. We hope to see as many there as possible.

Update 9 March: The asociación papers were signed today and will be formally presented and registered on Monday. Its fundamental principles state that it represents the interests of everyone affected by this legislation, including property owners, business people, investors, property professionals, the entertainment and catering industry, taxi drivers, and so on. The asociación’s express aims are to counter the damage caused by this law and its recent enforcement, to promote Tenerife positively and specifically to encourage and welcome tourists, and to get the law changed.

To these ends, the asociación will be lobbying the press as well as Turismo itself. Contact will be made over the next few days with television channels and newspapers, both Canarian and English. Many have noted that there has been little coverage in the press of this legislation and its enforcement, but they will have seen coverage given to Turismo’s figures of hotel occupancy and the amount they expect to raise from fines imposed on “illegal rentals”. Now, the other side will be presented, including the damaging cost to Tenerife itself of these inspections and sanctions.

There will also be a petition to change the law. Under the Spanish Constitution, 15,000 signatures are needed to apply for a change in a law, and the asociación hopes to gather many more than this. Once this figure is reached, formal procedures will be put in place to make the application for legislative change. There will be more details on this in the near future.

The asociación will be presented at the public meeting on 15 March as announced previously. For the moment, I can confirm that it comprises:

  • Maria Ereza Blasco, ex Turismo, now with Clear Blue Skies – President
  • Santiago Saenz, lawyer – secretary
  • José Escobedo, lawyer – secretary
  • Paul Ruane, Los Gigantes Properties
  • myself.

 

Update 7 March: The public meeting on 15th March will take place at 10am at CDTCA, the Centro de Desarrollo Turístico Costa Adeje (Costa Adeje Touristic Development Centre). This is based in Calle las Jarcias, in the El Galeon area of Adeje. I’ve added a googlemap above to help locate this.  The roundabout that can be seen on the TF1 bottom left is the main Adeje exit.

Original post 5 March: There is to be a public meeting on 15 March with regard to the illegal letting situation. Turismo will not be attending, but this will be a meeting of interested parties in order to discuss ways forward. A formal lobbying “asociación” has also now been registered, with its own articles dedicated to fighting the enforcement of this legislation. Further details on time and place of meeting to follow, as well as a report on the meeting after it has taken place, together with further information about the asociación and the steps it will be taking.

This is now a new thread for this and future update posts on the lobbying asociación because this is now looking to the future and a co-ordinated attempt to make an impact on government policy, rather than discussing the simple fact of the Turismo campaign. The two other threads with all the past posts are HERE (original thread) and HERE (continuation thread).

 

71 Responses to Public meeting and “illegal letting” lobbying association announcement

  • Janet,

    I’m really pleased that the opposition to the law is getting organised. There are so many people desperate for you to succeed. Is there a point of contact for the asociación? How does one sign the petition?

    If you would like a web presence set up for the asociación I would be delighted to do it.

  • We have just started, and the lawyers are formally presenting and registering the asociación today. I’ll give details of the petition as soon as I have them. The point of contact, for the moment, is here on my site, or on Tenerife Litigation’s site HERE (this is the joint law-office website of José Escobedo and Santiago Saenz).

  • Hello Janet,
    So very grateful that you are pushing ahead with this petition.
    As soon as the Petition is started (presumably you will post
    a link on your site?) – I will make contact with all the owners I know on our complex, asking them to pass it on in turn to other owners they know. The cascade effect is usually a very effective method of communication and we need all the help we can get. Thank you again for everything you, and the lawyers are doing to help – not just US but the whole economy of Tenerife.

  • and thank you for the interaction. It’s really important to me (and us as an asociación) to know there are people reading and acting on all this.

    Thank you all.

  • Hello Janet , thank you for your information concerning the forthcoming meeting in Adeje on 15th March which I hope to attend .
    I am a resident owner on a “Touristic” Complex where the Touristic License has lapsed due to the previous holder giving up their interest in the complex and apparently “handing back” the licence .
    As a result many owners have been renting “Touristically” without the appropriate single letting agency in place for several years.
    The community President has recently started up an activity to resurrect this licence for the community and has held an EGM to this effect to gain approval, which appears so far to have received unanimous support (30 days to go ?).
    There are several issues I do not quite understand
    1) Why did we need a unanimous vote if we were previously already a Touristic Complex?
    2)What costs ,as a non-renter ,would I have to pay towards the Touristic Requirements of the complex to comply with the Touristic Regulations , including the setting up of a Letting Company for the complex’
    3) If the resurrection of the Licence is unsuccessful what are the downsides to our complex in terms of Power Supply, Water etc.?
    4) Has there been any clarification on what constitutes family and friends and do I have to be present when my family use my apartment ?
    I thank you in advance for any light you can shine on these queries and look forward to upcoming meeting.
    I hope there will be an opportunity to take away petition forms to be filled in ?
    Regards
    John

  • 1. You will need a unanimous vote because your touristic status lapsed. Since you were no longer touristic, you need to “become” touristic, and for that, unanimity is required.

    2. This will depend on the specifics of your complex’s own application and circumstances, and I can’t give a general across the board answer. Your prospective touristic sole agent, together with the community’s administrators, are best placed to answer this.

    3. If your licence application is unsuccessful, I can’t see how anything would change from the existing situation. I can’t see why there would be any change to power supply or water.

    4. No clarification on friends and family is needed. It’s been comprehensively dealt with in various posts and comments on this site, and the bottom line is that the law doesn’t mention this. Any lets, to anyone, that are deemed commercial are illegal. Your own personal use is evidently fine. If you have people in your apartment who would come within the remit of your own personal use (which is why people talk about “friends and family”) then their use is legal … because it is not “their” use, but yours. You do not have to be physically present yourself to enjoy “personal use”, just consider as a similar example the loan of a car, say, to a son or daughter.

    I doubt we will have petition forms ready to take away, and in fact are looking into the practicalities and legalities of online petitions right now – more no doubt will be said about this in the meeting on Thursday.

  • Hi Janet, I have just returned from 12 days in Tenerife (after an absence of 14 months)to check up on my apartment which I rent out on a complex which has a tourist license. I was completely shocked to hear the situation regarding “illegal lettings” as I was under the impression that renting out my property as I have done for the last 5 years was completely legal. I have spoken to many people who do not believe me when I tell them what the legal position is. I think many many owners are completely oblivious to the situation and we need to raise awareness as much as possible. As many owners advertise on well-known holiday rental websites I think the website operators should back the lobby as it is in their interests to support their advertisers, and the more backing we can get the better. Perhaps we could all lobby these companies to email all advertisers of properties in Tenerife in an attempt to get as many owners as possible to back the action. Many thanks on behalf of all owners for your tireless efforts on our behalf.

  • Thank you Deborah. I agree that far too many are still unaware of the law, and hopefully that will change very shortly once we start to get the message into the press and on television to counter the one-sided picture people are getting from Turismo (numbers are up, hotels full, etc).

  • Hello Janet – possibly a bit late as you may be on your way, but good luck at the meeting today, look forward to reading what happens next and how we can all do our bit.
    Yes, it is very concerning just how many owners are unaware of this situation and law (even my sister-in-law and brother-in-law)who own a property, we informed them last night and they looked completely amazed.
    I don’t think lobbying the website owners to email advertisers is likely to happen – I have kept an eye on various websites and numbers of adverts are starting to fall, either because people no longer need to advertise possibly due to selling, or some that will be aware of this situation have decided to stop their advertising.
    If the website owners highlight this problem to owners they run the risk of losing even more revenue when the owner is next due to renew their advert for 12 months they may well think twice.

  • Thank you Janet for the discussion thread. We are property owners in Fuerteventura, not on a complex, but a property with residential status, and we eagerly await some resolution of the situation. We also know of owners in Lanzarote with similar issues who are taking action on their complex. Is there any way we can make a joined up approach with the other islands, e.g. with regards to signing the petition or lobying?

  • Hi and thank you. I’m still catching up with news as well as writing up notes and translating the press release, but as I’ll be saying shortly, there will soon be an online petition and details of joining the asociación. PLEASE do join us, and also sign the petition. Details to follow asap.

  • Dear all,
    First of all, sorry for my poor English language. All of you, have to be aware -and I guess you are but don’t care at all- that illegal letting has created -and still does- a lot of trouble in this country. You will have noticed that some people that lives in your complexes has to wake up very early in the morning to go to work and not all of us are retired or spending our holidays only because we live in a toristic country holidays. Having said that and also having experienced the inconveniences of the illegal letting I am not prepared AGAIN to listen to a couple of noisy guys from some huge atlantic island yelling at 3 a.m., watching tourists bringing forbidden items -such has bottles- to the pool or getting back home at 4 o’clock in the morning in a lamentable shape, or simply asking for towels because they think they are in a touristic complex. No way. Just F o r g e t i t. In Spain the temptatives to change a law are based on a proved unfair result of the use of that law but clearly in your case you only intend to change this law because you can’t get you speculating money without infringing the law. That’s crystal clear to me and it will to the Spanish authorities when they recieve your petition. Another obscure aspect of all this is that most of you commit tax fraud since you don’t pay your taxes related to that business activity. By the way taxes are due in Spain because is where the property is located. To this respect you should be aware that Tax Agency and Tourism authorities are now well connected and also that Spain has an agreement with UK for exchange of tax information, which is often used. Sorry, we are not in Cabo Verde. If I -as a Spanish- would attempt to change a law of the UK they would hang me from the nearest lamp and they would wonder how can I even attempt to change the laws of another country. Particularly for that pathetic and selfish reasons. So please Obey and respect the laws of this country simply as you would do in your country. Pablo Bonfill. Lawyer.

  • Wrong on just about every account, actually, Pablo.

  • Hi Janet,

    It is a pity Pablo thinks the UK is still in the dark ages as to hang him from a lampost. If my wife and myself had not invested hundreds of thousand pounds along with thousands of Brits,Germans,French,and many other nationalities Tenerife would not have any lamposts,modern hospitals,road networks and a much better standard of living for most of its native people. Not to mention the Millions of holiday makers we send every year to spend their UK pounds and Euros in all of the Canaries. The subject of tax we like many people we know have employed Spanish tax advisers in the Canaries who have given us incorrect information infact we were in Tenerife in Dec 2011 having a meeting with our advisers only to be given incorrect legal information yet again. Another service we pay for in Tenerife from our hard work in the UK. As Pablo Bonfill is a lawyer and is having problems with his neighbour and he can not sort it out without bemoaning to us many good owners, I must remember his name and not use him if I need a LAWYER in the future.

  • Thank you Pablo. You hit the nail on the head!

  • A few questions for Pablo:

    Why is it that the Canaries needs such restrictions when other European touristic areas take the opposite view and actually encourage accommodation owners to make their properties available to visitors? Could it be something to do with undue pressure from the hotel industry?

    Why should visitors not have a choice? When I go on holiday, I usually choose private accommodation. Occasionally, I choose a hotel, but it’s my holiday and it should really be my choice and not decided for me by politicians.

    It’s all very well trying to protect the islands’ hotel industry, but can you give ONE example from anywhere in the world where protectionism has actually succeeded in its objective in the longer term (more than 10 years)? Ask any economist and they will tell you that protectionism ALWAYS harms the industries it was supposed to protect. Any gains are only short-term and are generally illusory.

    Who are the noisiest and most badly-behaved visitors: those staying in private accommodation or those coming on all-inclusive deals?

    Do you want to live among empty decaying buildings? Do you want the local shops, bars and restaurants to close? Do you want your friends and neighbours to lose their jobs? Do you want an increasing local crime rate? Have you really thought about any of this?

  • Good morning
    We own various villas on the island of TENERIFE and I believe you are holding a meeting today ay 10am on the subject. Unfortunately I am in Cyprus at this very moment looking at villas to replace our villas we hold in Tenerife.
    Please be assured you have my vote on any action you may recommend td bring the ‘government’ to realise their action will;

    Create massive unemployment.
    Restaurants and many other shops will close.
    Fewer taxis will be needed
    Fewer aircraft will be visiting the Island

    They should be promoting more good quality visitors to enjoy their Island and boost jobs.

    Why won’t they introduce a licence system which costs €5000 per annum for the 5 star villas dropping down to 1 star apartments at €1,000 per annum?
    This will bring in lots more than any fines will, and is a positive forward move to ensure a profitable and vibrant island community.

    Kind regards

    Dave Ellery.

  • Well said B Freeman. Correct on every count. Well summarised. We don’t “let” our apartment but we realise that the implementation of this idiotic law will only damage our communities and local businesses. As usual there is no “joined up thinking”.

    Pablo talks about taxes. Doesn’t he realise that Spain’s economy is based on black money and the avoidance of paying tax, unlike on the “huge island in the Atlantic”? We pay our fair share of tax here, including the non-resident property tax. He seems ill informed and surely can’t be a real laywer, can he?!

    When everyone has been fined, where will next year’s revenue come from? They won’t be able to look to the tourists because they won’t be here. I certainly wouldn’t entertain the idea of staying in an hotel on this island, or any other for that matter, self catering is my requirement and that is what I will find. Tenerfe needs to remember that there are plenty of other holiday destinations and that visitor numbers have only increased this year because other tourist spots have been affected by civil unrest and natural disaster.

    And thank you to Janet and the Lobbying Association. Its reassuring to know that there are those who are working for the long term benefit to the economy of Tenerife.

  • The meeting was actually yesterday, so in a way I’m glad you couldn’t attend otherwise you’d have missed it! …

    Thank you for your kind words and support. Please have a read HERE - it’s the minutes of the meeting which I wrote up last night. As I say at the end, I’ll be updating for future action and with a link for an online petition, which in Spain allows for an application to change a law if one achieves more than 15,000 signatures.

  • I find myself wondering, as the profile of these blog, meeting and petition activities escalates, and come to the attention of more and more owners who are renting illegally, if they are not going to, single handedly almost, do Turismo´s job for it?
    Right now, from readers’ comments it seems that 90% of owners are oblivious of what is going on, happily gathering in their rents, and providing service.
    Every now and again a handful are ‘eaten’ by the small team of inspectors who seem to work in (8 pairs) pairs, and in limited locations during a limited number of days each month.
    If as is promised publicity and word of mouth warn all the tens of thousands of owners and recruit them to the petition, aren’t they all going to stop holiday letting of their own volition, rather than being fined and stopped?
    Surely they will not carry on in the face of known Turismo activity in their area?
    And of course worry, for the next year, that they have already been caught, and are in the pipeline for a fine.
    That is what seems to happen, looking down the posts.
    Then the pool cleaning WILL stop, and villa cleaning and transfers, and those people will find other work.
    And Turismo’s problem of illegal holiday letting WILL be at an end (replaced by the problem of where to put all the holidaymakers wanting a bed).
    And there will be no point in trying to change the law.
    I have just come across this issue, by chancing across a forum, out of my happy ignorance, and am now reading everything available and wondering what on earth to do.
    I am not sure that the ‘make yourself undetectable’ – and ‘run faster than the inspectors’ message from the ‘canary owners legal action campaign group (C.O.L.A.)’ is not the better approach, than wide publicity, panic and voluntary closure of everything.
    Done their way the large bulk of owners can hopefully keep going, undetected, over what is bound to be several years, whilst the legal and political work creates the necessary change.
    So at least there will be someone left to take advantage of the change!

  • Somewhat contradictory Toby. You say you think Cola is the better approach (which I can’t support given that it’s enabling people to break the law and therefore risk fines) – and that our campaign risks “wide publicity, panic and voluntary closure of everything”. You then say that doing it your way (and your email shows you are emailing from Cola itself), “the large bulk of owners can hopefully keep going, undetected, over what is bound to be several years, whilst the legal and political work creates the necessary change”. But you would have us stop our lobbying campaign to avoid the “panic and wide closures”.

    People are of course free to choose either or both lobbying campaigns, but they need to be aware that no amount of “coaching” will guarantee they won’t get fined because they will still be letting illegally. Our way is totally above board, totally legal, and politically engaged rather than a method to allow people to break the law by “running faster than the inspectors”. And of course, your coaching comes “for a fee”, of course! I’m puzzled about this, and about why you’re based in America. I also very much dislike the fact that you publish detailed information about those who’ve been fined recently.

  • Janet, I have not decided whether to join C.O.L.A. yet. I came across them whilst researching this subject after reading your columns.
    I did not want to quote their website in my posting, so added it where I thought it belonged, in the admin part, below my name and my own personal email address (tobywoolrych@hotmail.co.uk), as the reference for what I was saying, for the benefit, I presumed, of the moderator.
    So I have not got a clue why they are based in America (though it puts them out of the way of reprisals I suppose).
    And no, I think your lobby is a good idea, especially if it is the only way to change the law, but in my view it should be targeted, if they are in agreement with its proposition, at the other citizens of the Canary Islands on the basis of how balanced they want their economy to be, and how thrusting.
    And, absolutely not at the owners like me who are it seems breaking the law by holiday letting.
    As Pablo Bonfill sees it we are trying to muster our 15,000 votes (2 qualifying people in 7,500 illegal letting properties) from ourselves, simply to feather our own nests, which from his perspective he saw as an abuse of process.
    So I did not wish to be contradictory. My contradiction is I do not know what to do or think!
    Like everyone I expect I am looking in all directions for answers and spinning on the spot.
    Most of all though I am just wishing I had never found out about the inspectors, then my property would continue to be let to my customers who adore it, and it might never have been targeted out of the tens of thousands there seem to be for them to go at. Then, suddenly I would find the law had changed and I was now legal, even though I had not realised otherwise. The dream.
    Whereas now I am wondering how to afford to repay all the deposits I have taken up to March of next year, and if I can then be sued by those families on all the contracts I must break, telling my customers I am cancelling their booking and refunding their deposit. THAT is when the COLA approach pops up and seems an attractive option IF it can work.

  • My apologies, I thought you were speaking for Cola. My own view is that even if it is a genuine association, it is facilitating illegal activity that could result in a fine. “Running faster than the inspectors”, to me, is no secure way to proceed.

  • I have raised this “Cola campaign” with the lawyers. They say to stress that this is nothing whatsoever to do with Alotca, and they will be “taking action”. The advice given, in their view, is dangerous and irresponsible and whilst Alotca is a legally registered Spanish “asociación”, a body recognized under Spanish law, Cola is possibly not a legal entity in Spain. To me, it does not seem to be much more than a website that, effectively, you have to pay to enter.

  • Janet – thanks for your update on the recent ALOTCA meeting , some very interesting points raised .
    For clarification on the petition , do you have to be registered on the Padron or just have your Certificado de Registro ?
    With reference to ” Dormant Touristic” I would be interested in any further clarification on this as our President is trying to take us down this route but is very scarce with information as to voting requirements .
    We have several owners who have been fined but continue to rent their apartments whilst appeals are ongoing , I think they will be shocked at your revelations!
    Thanks again for your advice and efforts .
    Regards
    John

  • Both, John. To sign the petition, when it’s ready, you need to have a Certificado de Registro AND be on the padron.

    The voting requirements for dormant touristic to revert to touristic are far from clear. That alone is clear from a meeting in the last few days with the Tenerife Cabildo touristic authorities. Further meetings over the next few days will hopefully clarify … or further cloud the issue. I’ll update as soon as I have any further definite information.

    Please try to warn your fellow owners of the peril they are in if they continue to advertise. Turismo are actively monitoring those who have already been fined, and second fines will be far heavier. They are in serious danger.

  • I did a quick count of canarian properties advertised on 14 listing sites a few days ago. The total came to 19353. It’s a pity I hadn’t done that exercise a year or two back in order to see how much effect the purge has had. I suspect not much.

    The thing that interested me most about the figures are that the highest number of advertisers is on Niumba.com (a Spanish site): 4558 entries of which I would guess 10% are rural and could possibly be legal. That still leaves over 4000 (mostly) Spanish owners openly advertising illegal lets on a Spanish site.

    When I look at the owners fined for illegal letting on BOC, I see almost entirely English and German names. Can it really be true that the Turismo are targetting ALL private holiday letting or are they aiming the purge at foreigners?

  • No. What you see in the BOC are those for whom a letter could not be delivered. Anyone who was able to receive a letter received the fine in that way, and there was then no need to publish it to formalise it. The overwhelming majority of Spanish/Canarian owners receive their fines because they live here and can get their post!

  • Janet I have just been served with a notice of a €18,000 fine and I am pretty miserable about it. I am going to have to get some legal help.

    Do you know anyone who you can recommend and do you know what this appeal process is now turning out to cost. Presumably as two or three have been done by one or more of the lawyers you have been working with. I am hoping that a figure of cost can be forecast for an initial consultation, to see what if anything is worth doing and then am wondering if there is a known cost for an appeal to have the fine reduced.

    I think it would be very helpful to myself and others to know some sort of ball park figure for these things (of course subject to individual circumstances) of what a lawyer might typically charge.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hello Hugh and I’m sorry about your fine. I’ve posted repeatedly, though, a recommendation for José Escobedo. His contact details are HERE. He, and his associate Santiago Saenz, are the only two lawyers, really, in south Tenerife who have dealt with this issue in depth and who know the legal niceties to the last detail.

    And they haven’t just dealt with two or three cases. You can make that two or three hundred, at least! Jose’s fee for the first stage (of three appeals to Turismo) is €880. There will be another fee payable for any subsequent stage appealing to the Courts, but as I posted yesterday, a fee can’t yet be quoted for that – negotiations are underway with a procurador for a class action, and fees will depend on that. As should be clear by now, the first (3 part) stage appeal has achieved a reduction of 3,000 Euros.

    Please get in touch with José asap … you have 15 days to lodge an appeal. He will need your details, details of the fine (ideally a copy of it scanned and attached to an email), and a copy of your passport/NIE.

  • It is clear from information (now openly available on another site as you have criticised earlier in the week) that the Turismo inspectors are now working on at least the four main islands, having invaded both Fuerteventura and Lanzarote at the end of last year, with fines from that activity still going through.

    Timescales are going to become critical for all of us and I wonder if you yet have any idea how long the petition process might take to work (if it does work!)? Presumably there are two parts (1) how long you expect it might take to gather 15,000 qualifying signatures and (2) from the time of the signatures what sort of time period it might take to actually change the law.

    I think all owners would appreciate knowing whether we are talking about whether to ‘hang on in there’ for a year or 10 years !

  • Thanks for notifying us about the online petition. You seem to be making great progress. I live and also own a holiday let property on Fuerteventura, and I note that I must post my physical petition form to you, in person.

    I seem to recall someone asking you if there was to be a charge, either to be a member of the association or to sign the petition and I cannot find what you replied. Could I ask you to repeat the situation as regards costs and charges for the association.

    One wonders how you can access the time of solicitors if they are not being paid, unless of course, being at the centre of it all, they are relying upon the fees they charge for handling people’s cases and regard their association work, as a quid pro quo

  • Hi Frank, yes, it’s been known for some time that Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were vulnerable … some were in denial, but it was inevitable.

    I appreciate timescales are critical. I think once we have sufficient members of the asociación, the petition numbers will not be difficult, BUT I cannot talk up our chances of success. Even if we persuade them to modify their stance, e.g. to alter the legislation to allow villas to register, I would say that we are talking about a pretty long time – certainly measurable in years rather than months. In other respects, we’re talking about “policy”, rather than laws, so we hope to persuade them, for example, to modify their emphasis on all-inclusive and/or luxury hotel tourism almost to the exclusion of all else. This might take less time, but won’t be of such interest to property owners per se.

    One thing I must stress is that we are looking to influence them to change policy and, where necessary, laws, in respect of current tourism legislation. One thing that is not on our agenda is a change in the law to allow tourism in residential complexes, which is presently illegal. Whilst our personal opinions are that this should be a matter for each complex to decide for itself, rather than the law proscribe, it is not a goal of the asociación. I repeat, the asociación is looking to make currently legal tourism more flexible. In this respect, those with residential property on complexes shouldn’t really wait for us at all – we’re not going to be lobbying in this respect (independent villas are a different matter).

    Does this clarify?

  • Hi Alan. I posted in the minutes HERE that this question came up at the first ALOTCA public meeting a couple of weeks ago. One of the lawyers answered, I can’t remember now if it was José or Santiago, but he said that this is early days for the association, and that once we have the formal asociación papers back from Madrid, we’ll call another meeting and a decision will be made at that point whether there will need to be any charge, and how much it would be if so.

    I wouldn’t say I can “access the time” of José and Santiago. Rather the impulse for the asociación came from them, not me. They invited me to be a founder member, along with Maria and Paul, but they are the force behind it. Yes, of course, it would be naive to say they won’t benefit at all from this in terms of work, but they were already dealing with the vast majority of appeals anyway! They didn’t need the asociación to conjure up yet more work. What is really impressive, when one speaks to either of them, is the passion with which they believe in what they’re doing with the asociación. They are both Canarians, and they are both appalled at what is being done to the islands (particularly Tenerife) by those who are supposed to be promoting our touristic interests! They are also appalled that they have spent years helping people to invest in these islands legally … only for the authorities now to turn on those clients and start to fine them.

    Yes they’re lawyers, but they see this as part of a “social duty”. I’m the first to be cynical about lawyers, but this pair are also humans and Canarians. They really do care about this.

  • Hi Janet,

    I am a little perplexed at your comments to Frank & Alan most of the owners that have been fined I would think, find themselves in the same situation as my wife & myself.

    When we purchased our apartments in 2000 & 2002 we used a local legal person in Tenerife (who is no longer on the Island) to safe gaurd ourselves, as we knew all the paperwork & the Escritura would be in Spanish. We then purchased our second apartment just to rent & used the same legal representation

    You say that Jose & Santiago are appalled at the situation, but surely the only reason their clients like myself have been fined is because we put our trust in the legal people in Tenerife when we were purchasing property.

    Not knowing that complexes could be classed as residental or touristic is the reason we have all been fined & to say that the association will not be trying to change the law does not seem to help most of these people except to lower their fines.

    The small complex that our apartment is in, has timeshare, a fully staffed reception, is a gated community & has night time security. All the owners have been charged to install fire sensors, we have also had installed a new water system & fire escape, we were informed this was to conform to touristic regulations, & which we could be charged for. This is not some old apartment complex it only opened in 2000 but only now do we find we are classed as illegal & without the law being changed will remain illegal.

    Regards Mervyn

  • I do hear what you say, Mervyn, and I cannot answer for the lawyers, clearly, but I would imagine they would say what many others have said, namely that the law was not being enforced, and that this is why they are now appalled that owners were, effectively, lulled into a false sense of security by the Government’s inaction. All I can say is that when I myself have done conveyancing, I have made sure this is an issue that is discussed very early on.

    It’s my turn to be a bit confused now, though. Are you saying that you were told you had to have fire sensors, fire escape, etc and that this requirement was specifically because it was a touristic complex? Are you further saying it is actually residential?

    I’ll come back, if I may, after your answer, to the whole issue of Alotca and residential complexes.

  • I’ve just been checking back, Mervyn, and some complexes are oddities. Those that are part timeshare, for example, are very unclear (at least to me). I think anyone in such a complex needs to get together with other “residential” owners and seek combined legal advice as to how their properties co-exist with timeshare ones, and quite what the legal requirements and responsibilities are.

  • Mervyn said: Not knowing that complexes could be classed as residental or touristic is the reason we have all been fined & to say that the association will not be trying to change the law does not seem to help most of these people except to lower their fines.

    To try to answer this point, I agree that a large percentage of owners who have been fined are owners of residential properties. I also agree that they could view the asociación as not really having much to offer them other than trying to reduce their fines.

    As I’ve already posted, however, it is already technically possible for a residential complex to become touristic. The problem is what it would require for it to become so. At present, if a comunidad of owners agreed unanimously, and could afford to make whatever alterations would be needed to fulfill touristic requirements, they would need to form an asociación which would apply for the touristic licence and this asociación itself would then be the sole on site agent. The problem is this “unanimity”: 100% agreement.

    Clearly the main change that could be made to the law is that this could be reduced – but to what? How many owners who objected could reasonably be ignored? If there was unanimous agreement apart from one recalcitrant owner, then perhaps most would say it would be reasonable for the comunidad to be allowed to apply. But five such owners? Ten per cent of the comunidad? Where does one draw the line?

    This would be a debate and a lobby in its own right, and would not contribute, in any case, to what ALOTCA sees as its purpose, namely to make existing tourism legislation more flexible, and particularly to allow independent villas to register, to stop abuses by sole agents on touristic complexes, and to shift the emphasis away from all-inclusive/luxury hotel accommodation, so that Tenerife is not damaged by what we see as a restrictive and outdated tourism model. Part of this involves not giving Tenerife a bad name, something that would have a wide effect on all sectors involved in tourism and cause an exodus of investors, and this is why we have included in our aims reducing the fines on residential owners to a more moderate amount and revisiting the whole idea of Turismo’s “special action plan”.

    This brings me back to what ALOTCA might do to help owners of residential properties other than “just” reducing their fines. Evidently, if Tenerife is harmed by such inflexible touristic policies then all property here will be adversely affected. There are far too few touristic complexes, for example, that are run in the way, say, that Paloma Beach is run, and far too many that are plain abusive. This means that people are reluctant to buy into such schemes. There are also villa owners who are now seeking to sell, some very urgently, and we are seeing a considerable number of such properties coming onto the market at the same time. This serves to do little than increase the property for sale and reduce the price. Also, if people are shepherded into all-inclusive hotels then it is a good guess that more and more small businesses will fail, with entertainment and food provided in-house. With increasing numbers of empty bars and closed shops, residential complexes too will find that they become less desirable. Property prices there will fall too – there are already far too few buyers around without making it even harder for owners to sell, or require them to sell at a significant loss.

    I hope this explains how we feel the asociación will help residential apartment owners even though we are not seeking to change the law in their particular respect.

  • How Do you find out if the complex is residential or touristic?

  • The actual designation will be the complex statutes, or sometimes in an escritura, but you can also check in the official tourist sites HERE and HERE (assuming you’re referring to Tenerife) – the sites aren’t duplicates, nor exhaustive, so you might need to check in both.

  • hi – where on your site is the Petition that needs the signatures please.
    I have had a lot of peple in the UK say they cannot find it and they all want to subscribe…… HELP

  • If you go to the Links & Laws page (see the tabs at the top), the first link is to the form to download, sign, scan and email back to me. BUT it’s to join the association. When the petition is ready we will have a website (approved under Spanish law) for people to sign on line. Thank you for your support, it is much appreciated.

  • Hi Janet;

    I am still confused with all above, – does this law apply to individual villas / houses or just complexes?

  • It applies to all properties. They are either residential or touristic. Independent villas are (nearly) all residential.

  • Any land registry office (Catasto) will supply a document of ones property giving fiscal value for 2012 and stating size and whether house/flat or complex is residential or turistic. It helps to have the land registry number.
    Thus we easily proved that our complex Adeje Paradise in Playa Paraiso is residential.

  • As a guide, any complex built in the time that Adeje Paradise was built, or indeed over the last decade, will be residential because of the Government’s moratorium on touristic construction – which means none were built.

  • I have just been informed that owners on Panorama complex who rent privately have been told by Roberto Konrad that, as from May they must let through his sole agency .
    He will allow them 4 weeks personal use and will pay them €45 per week for the privilege !
    Surely this is Mafia type exploitation? Do the owners have any means of appealing this to Turismo (who are supposed to regulate the Sole Letting Co.)
    People bought in Panorama as a Touristc site ( and other complexes ) long before the 1995 law was introduced !
    Grossly unfair on many people and highlights the flaws in this law!

    John

  • My wife and myself were about to join your association. However we need some clarity as to the asscociations intentions as to reform of the current letting laws. In our opinion there is no fix for sole agency and monopoly exploitation, it is time to see the complete end of that ridiculous law. In todays internet age individual owners can rent their properties and attract clients without the added cost of such agents. At worst these people act like thieves and exploit the owners, and at best they act reasonabley but at the same time they are still an unnecesary business add on.

    You have said that you are not seeking to attack anyone in your campaign, I think that you are being naive there. Your association is entitled to state its aims but without a commitment to the end of sole agency then we will not be joining you.

  • John, I think I’ve been in email contact with one of your co-owners. The problem is that any holiday lets must indeed be done through the onsite sole agent. The issue is with the statement that only owners in person must use their own apartments. As long as any use and enjoyment is private, and by the owner or personal guests, you are not restricted in the slightest by law as to how you use the property, nor is it anything to do with an onsite agent. The problem with this might be that reception (a touristic service) could be used to hand over keys etc to someone other than an owner. As such, it stops being easily defined as “personal enjoyment”. Does this clarify?

  • Hello Andrew, that of course is your perfect right. I can confirm, though, that we will not be seeking a free for all and an end to the sole agent system. What we will be doing is seeking legal means to put a stop to abuses. How that will happen is a matter for negotiation with Turismo, assuming that they will even speak to us. It might involve a reform of the system, or some specific regulations, I don’t know at this stage. But I’m afraid it won’t involve doing away with the system altogether. Turismo will understandably say they have the right, and the responsibility, to have certain structures in place, and that will include a regulated system of agencies with whom the authorities liaise for rentals on touristic complexes.

  • That clears that up then. So the asscosation is wanting to campaign for reasonable sole agents with some sort of system for keeping them in check better.

    What a shame. So senor escobedos comments about paying annual permits for private letting are not the basis of a new system of independant letting without sole agency, the permit is going to be a new tax and at the same time we are keeping sole agents, just nice kind ones.

  • could you give me a link to where he says this? Was it other than thinking aloud as to how the law might change?

  • The situation at Panorama seems to indicate that some unscrupulous sole agents intend to use the current ‘clampdown’ to feather their nests even further. I believe the association is using the correct tactics in trying to make the authorities realise that the law as it stands is unfair and unreasonable but the more sole agents that exploit the exploitation then the more likely the eventual recourse will be to the European Court – which will take time!
    Let us hope that that good old addage ‘common sense’ prevails in the end.

  • Thank you, Phillip. This is one reason, of course, that we think negotiation with Turismo is key, rather than going in guns blazing and making demands, but they first have to agree to meet us in the first place. It is the legal existence of a formal asociación that we hope will give us the weight we need to encourage them to meet with us and talk.

  • I read quite a long article from senor escobedo on his company website some months ago, at around the time the first public meeting in adeje was cancelled. He covered all the arguments against the 1995 laws very well, and he proposed a permit of 1200 euro per year to cover private letting. The idea was to then have private renters registered and so certain standards could be enforced by the government. So much of sole agency is wrong, it is a system beyond reform. At the end of the day why should self catering apartments get involved with 24 hour receptions? that is a hotel add on. Customers booking through internet adds today do not expect to have to pay for extra add ons that they do not need. Further to this customers should not be made to pay higher charges in this part of europe compared with everywhere else just because here there exists a protectionist law. What is needed is an association to tackle these laws, not become involved in tinkering with them. If that is all this group wants to do, why bother with the grand press coverage and talk of class actions to madrid.

  • We are bothering because the situation goes far beyond the issue of sole letting. Until Turismo actually talk to us there is no knowing what will be possible. I appreciate, however, that it appears not to suit your needs or wishes, but hope that whatever result we achieve will actually benefit you.

  • Hello Janet,
    I am still monitoring your forum to see what other ideas reader are contributing with interest and hopefully more will do so.
    I was asked by an acquaintance the other day about investing in a property in Tenerife as he knew I had owned 2 there for over 20 years.
    Would I recommend it as an investment it? He asked, and my answer was a simple “no way”.
    I told him that if he bought one on that was residential he would not be able to let it out, except on long lets , and if he it was on a licensed complex he would be likely to get a pittance off of the sole managing agent which was very unlikely to cover his expenses.
    What about capital appreciation? He asked.
    You mean capital depreciation i replied, telling him if he had bought on 3 or 4 years ago it would have depreciated by as much as 50%.
    What about the future? He enquired.
    When I mentioned what has been happening and referred him to you forum, he came back to me with “Thank God I asked, I could have lost a fortune, is the tourist board and government mad or what, they seem to acting like a load of kamikaze pilots, have they lost the plot, it will not exist as a holiday resort in 3-5years, more like a cemetery with lights” he
    Well I guess he has summed it up.
    And I could not agree more
    Perhaps some people are right in saying the best way some form of industrial type action, such as that mentioned to create a fighting fund, and get the taxi drivers and others, to take action by way of blocking the airports, closing it down in some way to bring everything to the attention of the of both National and Regional governments and convince them that they have got it wrong.
    One week’s action would create such chaos and embarrassment there would soon be a hearing and the culprits in the tourist board who have enacted these antiquated rules and nonsensical regulations will have been brought to book and have to explain themselves and their agenda.
    I think getting the taxi drivers (who have had a militant reputation in the past) to agree if their losses income for the period they were doing it were made up for them. I said a week but maybe even less would do the trick.
    It might also make the Hoteliers take note as well as the Government, i.e. don’t mess with the Apartment and Villa owners, as we have jointly invested more in Tenerife than they ever will.

  • Hi John, thank you and once again we’re on the same wavelength.

  • there is no problem with approaching turismo in a reasonable way, however at the end of the day if the association wants to reform the law sensiblly this is never going to happen by trying to meet them half way on sole agency. To do that would amount to simple appeasement. The problem may take some time to sort out, there can be no quick fix given tourismos stance. If the association gets its position clear and is in this for the long haul that would create a better outcome ultimatley. There is bound to be a big decline in tourists this summer due to the loss of internet ads. The government will slowly see the error of its ways. The association needs to put its case well , but it can not rely at this stage for common sense from tourismo.

  • We are not “trying to meet them halfway”. We are trying to find a way forward that they will tolerate that can stop the abuses. They have to tolerate it because they’re the government with the policy and the power. In the first place, we actually have to get them to talk to us, something they’ve refused even to consider so far! We have that position quite clear – but if we set out by making demands that we already know they won’t meet then they will never agree even to talk. The problem with your own stance is that the figures, at least as presented by Turismo, show tourist numbers and projections for this year UP. This is because they are not including “illegal” beds, but looking at hotel figures. It is this narrow perspective that we are seeking to change, perhaps above all. The lawyers who are the backbone of the asociación are well prepared to put their case. We just need Turismo to agree to come to the table actually to hear it.

  • Hello Janet,
    As I have been away on holiday in the Med, I feel I have missed information regarding the Rental websites.

    What is the policy of the Tourisimo and the Government towards these? There are many thousands of apartments advertised in them and the fact that the inspectors were using them to trace owners that are renting on residential complexes was mentioned at the meeting in Adeje.

    Where do they stand because as I understand they are purely advertising media like a newspaper.

  • They still insist that an offer of a property for commercial let via the internet is illegal. If the property is residential then it cannot be commercially let anyway, and if touristic, then it should be let via the onsite sole agent.

  • Hi Janet , thanks for your clarification on 29th March about needing to have Certificado de Registro and be on the Padron to allow you to participate in forthcoming Petition.
    For information to others requiring to register on the Padron , I went up today with my wife to enrol her as she was not on Padron at the Ayuntamiento in Adeje.
    You require the following:
    Photocopies of :-
    Your Certificado de Registro
    Your Passport
    Your Escritura or Rental agreement where it shows your name and residing at the appropriate address.
    The cost is €3.
    The procedure is straight forward –
    as you enter Reception there is an Electronic Ticket Dispenser
    You select service required -Empadronamiento is at top Right Hand of Touchscreen-press and ticket is issued.
    Watch internal board for your ticket number and desk number , waiting time about 10 minutes.
    Explain to Official what you require and give them documents
    They will register you and give you certificate – you pay€3 – job done.
    Go and get coffee and cake !
    Hope this helps.
    John

  • That’s great, John, thank you! Can I just add that each Ayuntamiento has a slightly different procedure, but most will be very similar if not identical to Adeje as John’s described. Also, once you’re on the padron, your certificate has a limited validity – normally 3 months. This is because it certifies you live at a certain address (as proven by rental contract or Escritura), and they won’t certiify beyond a short period in advance. This means that when it is time to sign the petition, you might actually need to get a replacement Empadronamiento. This is simplicity itself, because once you’re on the padron you just take your old certificate and ask for a replacement. These are usually around 50 cents to €1 or so.

  • How can you find out if a complex is classed as residential or tourist?

  • I answered you above, Lynn … click HERE

  • How can you find out if a complex is touristic? First check the websites Janet linked to, then check and see if they have an onsite agent running everything. Then ask to see proof of their registration with tourismo ( a recent letter updating units, inspection book recently stamped etc), if this is not provided or found then despite the complex being “listed” on websites as touristic they are “dormant touristic”…. This means the sole agent has upped sticks and gone leaving the complex like a headless chicken and in touristic limbo land.

    If this is the case you have roughly until the end of
    April or may to resurrect the touristic license as inspectors are going around all complexes NOW finding out which ones are
    Still open or not….

  • Hi Janet
    I have joined the Association recently and spoken to you separately via email. Someone has just, rightly, pointed out to me that the Canarians themselves need to be involved in the petition and it would have more impact if the locals signed too. Is there a Spanish site where everything is explained and to where we can point our Canarian friends willing to get involved?

  • The Canarians are being involved, yes, very much so, and the press release itself was in Spanish to the local Canarian press. The two lawyers are doing a lot of work in this regard, not least because Santiago is extremely involved in the local Canarian Chamber of Commerce. This is in no small part how the local population of residents and businesses are being informed and involved. It is certainly not something that’s being ignored by a long chalk. I don’t think there’s a Spanish website as such for the asociación, but the petition itself will be a different matter, of course.

  • How are numbers doing Janet?

  • I don’t know overall, John. There’ll be another committe meeting next week and I hope to get an update then. There are some going directly to José and Santiago, some to Paul and Maria, and then there are other forms they’ve left in various places. All I know is my own tally and I’m getting several a day with at least a couple of names on each. I’ll update after the meeting. It should be next week some time, as I say.

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Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
April 2014
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