This is a very complicated issue, so please feel free to ask any questions, even (especially!) those that you think might be “stupid” … they are very rarely that! Please just check that your question hasn’t already been answered below, and if not, post it in the box at the bottom. Click on any question to expand it to show the answer.

There is also an “illegal letting discussion page” HERE for comments or debate.


THE LEGAL SITUATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLIDAYMAKERS

 

 

 

 

 

DENUNCIAS

 

 

 

INSPECTIONS

 

 

 

 

SOLE AGENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTATE AGENTS

 

 

 

 

This article has 64 Comments

  1. So basically is it possible to buy a property in Tenerife and find an agent to rent it but we can specific the dates that we want to use it

  2. yes, if you¡re talking about touristic properties, and find one with an agent who is prepared to let you do that. Some will not … and bear in mind that you can’t just “find an agent” for a touristic property, but have to use the on-site sole agent who runs the complex.

  3. You could for example buy in a touristic complex like Cristiansur but you still need to register your apartment through the sole agent with the tourist board and you can use one off the onsite management to look after It or the sole agent.

  4. I think you will find that generally the sole agent will not entertain being used as a means of getting legal and then you employing a different company to do the management of the apartment.

    I suspect if you did that the sole agent will quickly be onto the tourist board to cancel his association with you which could then raise the issues of illegal letting should you continue down this route. IMHO of course.

    Perhaps the Cristiansur are a little more relaxed about these kind of things or maybe the sole agent and the onsite management team are the same or working alongside each other.

  5. Onsite management existed prior 1995 and do work together with the sole agent and my apartment is registered with sole agent that’s the way it is in Cristian sur.

  6. David, its nice to see different functions working together and I’m sure for the benefit of everyone involved. Sadly not all tourist complexes enjoy this positive relationship.

  7. Hi Janet,

    A great website, we have just returned from Tenerife and rented a villa. The agents (UK based company) are withholding the deposit for no apparent reason.

    We know the villa is a residential one as its not on those two websites you list, plus it was in a residential area, with a Police Notice (ie no noise etc) in force.

    Based on this, would we have any leeway in mentioning this to the agent? Would threatening a Denuncia work, or would they just know it will take years.

  8. UK based agents will likely be prepared to take their chances. The owners if you know them are a different matter because they liable to a fine, but basically, your only option is to rent a legal holiday property where there are full legal safeguards in place.

  9. Hi. I have made a few complaints to two neighbours in particular who I suspect are illegally renting. I’ve also complained to the people renting because of noise, air con abuse etc.and am met with the same argument. That they’re ‘Friends’ and no moneys being taken. What steps can I take to disprove this.

  10. I don’t think you can disprove the particular claim. What you can do is start to compile a diary, with photos ideally, and with witnesses. The inspectorate have clear ideas on normal private usage, and as an example, someone with 52 “friends” each of whom come for just one week a year when the owner is never present, is not going to be believed. Someone else, however, whose apartment has a handful of separate guests spread over several months, with the owner present some of the time, is not going to be thought to be hiding illegal letting behind a “friends and family” excuse.

    The inspectors make their own minds up as to whether the law is being broken in any given case, and issue fines accordingly. These then must be appealed in Court … when it will be the judge who decides who to believe. But the inspectors have the right to issue fines according to their own view, and so you will need evidence that persuades them.

  11. Thanks for that info Janet. I hear what you say about a few friends spread over the yearb But one owner in particular has a 6 month rental, same people every year who abide by the rules and we don’t have problems with,its the others she let’s to like last night they came in at 1.45 am. And carried on their evening on the balcony. In normal voices, not loud but definitely not quiet for that time in morning. Every resident was indoors except them. I spoke to them and was told they weren’t doing anything.The rules are clear ,pinned up at lifts Silence from 11 pm til 8 am I’ve been told by president these rules are also for Arona not only residential complexes and to call the police in these cases?

  12. Hi Janet forgot to add, its really not the letting out that’s the problem its a fact that short-term let’s and friends of owners are the ones breaking community rules and causing disturbances and stress to us who have to speak to them.This is why we believe money’s being taken because if someone gets a freebie from a friend they abide by rules.?

  13. Yes, call the police if there is a disturbance, and owners are responsible for the behaviour of their “guests”, so the community must contact the owner and insist that he and his “visitors” abide by community rules. As to your second comment, however, in my own personal experience it is owners on holiday in their own properties who are sometimes the worst culprits when it comes to “high holiday spirits” …

  14. We experienced similar problems to Maud and neither the owners who were tourist letting nor the President wouod do anything saying it was a dispute amongst neithbours despite it being a private residential complex. When i eventually went to the local Police they told me to call them at the time the noise was being made and they would attend. They stressed there was little they could do after the event hence call them when the neighbours are noisy. In our area there should be no noise between 11pm and 7am and several residents do have to get up for work. I think the problem is that many owners wont call the Police for various reasons not least the backlash which you might receive from others in your community if letting is rife as it was on our complex. Nearly everyone stopped speaking to me but i had had enough.

  15. Regardless of the type of complex surely unreasonable noise is covered under the community rules so therefore the president should deal with the problem?

  16. yes, if it is a general problem, but if it’s a neighbour-to-neighbour one then the president is within his/her rights to say call the police. For example, we were woken up one Sunday morning at a quarter to six by frantic banging on the front door. My husband, as President, was being called upon by a resident furious at being woken up by their next door neighbour’s bed banging against the adjoining wall. No-one else was affected, no general disturbance was occurring, and so this was not something he was prepared to deal with. The administrator confirmed that as a neighbour-to-neighbour problem, it was not a community issue, and that the appropriate course of action was for the resident to call the police on her amorous neighbours …

  17. If one had an apartment in a complex with a tourist license, would it be possible to still do airbnb but when confirming a booking, doing it through the agent? I.e. just paying them whatever the fee is. Or do they have to be involved in every last detail?

  18. Hi, probably a daft question but here you go. I have a property that is classed as a ‘local’ , a commercial unit. It was originally a small bakery but was converted to a studio flat around 10 years ago. They just ripped out the ovens and shelving and put a bed and a shower in. The esciturer never changed. It’s freehold on a mainly residential complex. Do the same rules apply to a ‘local’?

  19. Hi. Janet. But so many say they’re not letting and everyone in their Appt is family or friends. I myself are having problemd with a neighbour who just happens to have with fi, water filter, air con, and offers this to her ‘guests’ ?? for the price of an appt clean up € 30 ?? Whose fooling who. She forgets when I was her friend, she told me she was taking money and her sister in law said when we asked her to switch the air con off when they left the Appt for a night out, as it is about 3 ft from us. ‘ We’re paying good money for this’. She still insists shes not renting. I agree about these people not contributing to the economy, as The money is certainly changing hands in England in this case and as she uses it for around 7 weeks in the year, spread throughout, is undoubtedly not spending it HERE. My life has been miserable, from late nights, air con abuse as well as abuse from the ‘GUESTS’ who think because they’re paying it, entitles them to abuse me,an owner whose paying one of the highest community fees in Los Cristianos.Sick yes… And as for President and Vice. Are doing nothing…. Please How do you catch these people out. All suggestions welcome.

  20. All you can do is denounce to Turismo, either individually, or as a community, or through a lawyer. Details of how to do it are in a question above.

    Do also bear in mind that, as I said in answer to a question on that page about people “getting away with it”:

    One problem, of course, is that you cannot know who has been fined. The only public record, in the BOC, is for those who have been fined but where the fact needs to be published because the owners were incommunicado. Despite the numbers published in the BOC, they are in the vast minority because the majority of owners are successfully contacted, and there is no public record. There are owners who have been fined to my personal knowledge who have no option (in their opinion) but to continue renting illegally to avoid mortgage default and repossession. To an observer it looks like they’re flouting the law, getting away with it, and cocking a snook at the government and fellow owners alike.

  21. Janet your column has helped me greatly over the years, could you inform me as to how many ‘friends’ tenants or owners can have visiting our pool. We are a small residential community and recently a tenant has had 4 adults and 3 children using our pool , he is not in attendance when they visit , another tenant has 4 adults and 2 children using our pool, we only have 15 beds so some owners cannot get a bed. I was informed it is 2 visitors maximum and the resident has to be in attendance , is this correct ?

  22. The pool is for residents and their personal guests … the number isn’t defined by law though your community’s internal rules may limit it. By law, though, owners do not have to be present when their personal guests are in residence.

  23. Hi Janet
    When our community was formed approx. 9 years ago, the owners decided to purchase pool beds , this was so that all beds would match. The beds were very expensive. Over the years some beds have become damaged ( done mostly by tenants or ‘family or friends’ of owners who rent out there apartment ) leaving us with only half the original amount of beds. Some owners who never use the pool are reluctant to spend more money on pool beds, they feel it is tenants or ‘ friends or family’ who are gaining the most from the beds which under the circumstances is understandable. Does the community have any obligation to supply pool beds ? Our community is residential.

  24. The community is you and your fellow owners. You need to discuss this at the next AGM to decide what you, as a community, wish to do about the situation.

  25. Hi Janet,
    We had our holiday cancelled ( by email!!) by the letting agent 2 weeks prior to travelling in August. They gave no explanation except that it was not possible to rent any accommodation on the complex anymore. They gave no help in finding an alternative and did not respond to our replies. We were eventually refunded by the agent after more than a week, but we had to spend €600 euros more on alternative accommodation. Can we pursue the agent/ owner for this cost? We had no idea that holiday properties in Tenerife needed to be licenced, we booked in good faith with the agent through holiday lettings. We never would have booked had we known, and will never book another villa holiday in Spain again as we don’t know who to trust.

  26. no, I’m afraid that you won’t have any comeback for the increased cost of alternative accommodation. Your best bet will be your holiday insurance company, but I think that the reply is likely to be that you’ve been refunded and that the cost of replacement holiday accommodation was a matter of personal choice on your part.

    As far as never booking another villa holiday in Spain again is concerned, you wouldn’t have the same problem again because you now know the legal situation, at least as far as the Canaries is concerned, and know that anything you book through an online hoiday site could very well be an an illegal let. All you need to do is go to official Government websites to look for legal accommodation (there are two on the Resources page), or ask owners on holiday sites for official proof that their property is being legally let.

  27. Hi Janet I have not contacted you for a long time but I need your knowledge on an issue that may effect the outcome of our next AGM to be held in October. I shall try to be as brief as I can.
    Our complex is residential but for at least the last two years we have been taken over by manyshort term holiday makers. The problem started two years ago when a member of the committee, who It is believed has close links with the developer rented at least 20 areas below the apartments above on a long term basis. These areas we have recently discovered had never been granted a ‘habitation certificate’ by the council but the committee member has converted these areas into one bedroom apartments and they have been rented out on a weekly basis ever since even though he knows it is illegal to rent short term on a residential complex. Because of this other owners have started renting their apartments which has added more misery to other owners. I have now learned that the committee member is putting himself forward for president at the AGM in October and if he gets enough votes it will destroy our complex.
    Quite a number of owners have formed a group to try to stop the commercialisation of our complex and will put forward an owner to fight this.
    My question to you is : Can this committee member use the coefficent quota of the areas he has rented long term because he may get enough votes to do what he wants?
    I am convinced that this will be contested but I can only hope that anyone who rents long term and for whatever reason will not be allowed to have a vote.

  28. Have a look at the Meetings section of the Living on a complex page HERE, especially the two questions “What can we do about multiple owners who can outvote us every time?” and “Is there a limit to the number of proxy votes a president votes with?”. Hopefully they will clarify the voting system.

  29. Hello there Janet, you mention always about rental properties in touristic areas,complexes ect but what about the legalities of a rental property/idependent houses/villas in a rural areas, where it is not zoned or classified touristic areas.Do these still come under the umbrella of having to obtain a licence for rental, or is it not possible to obtain a licence in a rural area?

  30. yes, if a residential property is located outside of tourist areas, it can apply for a vivienda vacacional registration.

  31. Many thanks for your quick reply Janet, but isnt this type of licence being looked at by the monopolies comission to make changes with pressure on the canarian government???

  32. yes, but to make it more flexible still, and to include touristic properties. It is very unlikely to make any restrictions at all given the reason it’s being redrafted, and under its current terms rural properties will be able to apply to register. All the information is HERE.

  33. Thanks Janet for your comments, very helpful, so if looking at applying for the vv is it better to wait until the the new terms have all been amended….

  34. I don’t think it will make any difference. In fact, I’d apply now because if you’re covered now there’s no reason not to, and if by any chance the new terms do actually impose restrictions on rural properties (which they are hardly likely to) then the Government says that the existing terms will continue to apply to any applications that are received before the redraft is approved.

  35. We own and rent out a property in Corralejo, Fuerteventura. Is there any type of insurance we can get that would pay out legal expenses or the fine if we are prosecuted?

  36. I’m not aware of any insurance that will cover a fine and/or expenses for illegal activity. If you appeal a fine and win you get your money back anyway.

  37. I’ve just began researching the purchase of a property and am very much discouraged from what I have read so far regarding the ever changing laws around letting.

    From what I’ve read, non-resident owners are either taxed on their rental income or a deemed rental income tax or “Renta Imputada de Inmeubles Urbanos”.

    The idea of not being allowed to rent a property but then also being taxed for potential rental income if you do not rent seems contradictory to me. Am I missing something or is that just how messed up Spanish Tax Law is?

  38. Yes you are missing something. You are allowed to rent short- and long-term, just not for holidays, unless under specific circumstances (e.g. you have a touristic property which is let through the sole agent, or you have a residential property which is let via the vivienda vacacional system).

    The tax system assumes a certain level of legal letting, and that is taxed. Any property that is owned by someone who does not live in it, and for which there is no declared rental income, is assumed to be let out part time – legally – but with undeclared rental income. It is this undeclared assumed income that is taxed as deemed notional (i.e. undeclared) rental income – which people call the non-resident tax. Periods where there is actual declared rental income are not subject to this tax.

    The laws are not “ever changing”; they are remarkably stable, and have been in place, virtually unchanged, since 1995. The various ways of owners renting property are detailed HERE.

  39. Hi Janet
    Once again many thanks for the help your column provides. Janet if an owner is in debt to the community but he has the proxies of other owners can he vote on their behalf. If other ‘matters’ arise during the AGM how do we know how the owners who have provided their proxy votes would vote ? or can he only vote on matters on the agenda ? or can he not vote at all.

  40. He can vote on behalf of owners who are not in debt, just not on his own behalf. If he has a proxy then he has a free vote on their behalf – regardless of whether he is voting in the way that they would were they to be present, though one would expect or at least hope that a proxy would know the wishes of the owners being represented, and vote accordingly.

  41. Dear Janet,
    If I request that a vote to denounce illegal letting, on our residential complex, be on the agenda for our AGM, can it be refused by the President or Administrator?

  42. No, I don’t see how they could refuse to put any issue on the agenda, but anyone can denounce illegal letting, it doesn’t need to be on an AGM agenda.

  43. Dear Janet,

    Good afternoon, thank you for providing us this beautiful website! With such a lot of useful information to much to take in when you visit your page for the first time.

    How can you be a sole agent? can you give me some more information about this i really would appreciate it if you can let me know some more specific details about it.

    Kindly regards,

    Nick Hoff

  44. Anyone wanting to be a sole agent needs to get 50% + 1 of the units in a community to sign up with them. These units will include, normally, those who were previously signed with the former sole agent, who ceases to become so when his own holding drops below 50% + 1. The new agent then registers with the Cabildo. You might find THIS page useful – it has a section about sole agents on it.

  45. Hi Janet
    We have a holiday home in a residential complex,we returned this month to find that the baron the island in the middle of the pool(which has never been used )
    Is now fully stocked and in business!
    The bar belongs to Gomasper,who has since gone bust !
    We are a residential complex,is this legal?
    There’s been no vote! It just appeared !i am being told that Gomasper has opened it,until I see the admin I don’t know if this is true.
    Even so,can this happen on a residential complex
    Thanks for any advice

  46. A residential complex can choose to have a bar, as far as I’m aware, but it’s the administrators who need to confirm the details of how it’s opened without vote, who’s opened it … without the details, it’s impossible, really, to comment.

  47. Hi Janet, We have just returned from a 7 day Holiday in Tenerife . Booked a 2 bedroom App for myself and relative both OAPs The App was really nice but was taken aback when were told we needed to pay in full with Euros This we did After the first day we realised the Adjacent App was being completely refurbished The Drilling and Knocking was Horrendous It completely ruined our Holiday I since found out the person we rented the App from also owned the Adjacent one As u can imagine this as made matters much worse as surely the owner should have the COURTESY to warn us of this . I have contacted them but all they say is thank you it will go to the Administrator. We booked with Booking.com Paid 700EUROS In cash JENNY

  48. I’m afraid you have little recourse because it won’t have been a legal let … all legal apartment lets here are (and must be) booked through the on-site sole agent. Sadly with an illegal let I don’t see what your options are if the owner isn’t being cooperative … other than reporting him for illegal touristic activity to the tourism authorities, or threatening to do so unless you get some compensation.

  49. Thank you Janet for your prompt reply, all information is very helpful in making my descision of how to go forward.

  50. Great website Janet. My first question is if I let my property out for periods over 3 months do I need to apply for a license?
    So for example if I have a property outside of this tourist zone and I’m doing long term let’s (3-12 months) do I need to even apply for this license?

    Sorry just one more thing… I notice there are a large amount of airbnb adverts for shared and private rooms particularly in las palmas. Surely it would be extremely easy for the authorities to get addresses, turn up and take action. Do you have theory why this isn’t happening?
    Or is ok to rent out a spare room on airbnb?
    Sorry about all the questions…
    Rob

  51. Please see HERE for how to let legally. There’s no “licence”. As to Air B&B, it’s illegal here and yes it’s easy for the authorities to get addresses. As I’ve explained many times, however, they cannot issue fines just on the basis of adverts, but can use adverts as a starting point for investigations.

  52. Hi Janet
    I have a question expanding on the family and friends answer already posted.
    Is there a difference between a guest paying or not paying for a short term stay?

    I assume that a non paying guest must be legal but the question is raised for a paying guest.

  53. Well, if no money changes hands the person will presumably be a personal guest. If someone’s paying, they’re a tenant, and under tourism law, that’s illegal. I’m not sure what you’re asking. Can you clarify?

  54. Hi Janet
    I think you have answered my query. To clarify the question arises due to differing interpretations of a friend/guest. From your reply I assume that a friend/guest who is paying for a short term stay becomes a tenant and therefore that constitutes an illegal letting and a friend/guest who does not pay is not.

  55. Quite. If money changes hands, it’s a commercial let, and for tourism purposes, that’s illegal unless the booking goes through the sole agent. The law quite simply takes social norms as its base. If someone visits you in your home as your personal guest, you don’t charge them. You don’t actually have to be there in person to receive them, but you don’t charge them.

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