Alotca announcement

Alotca announcement

Update 14 October: I am pleased – to put it mildly – to confirm that we have received the court decision in the first appeals. They have been successful and the judge has nullified the fines. Those who have lodged money with the Court will now be refunded. As I’ve said previously, these rulings have precedential value, so we have every reason for convinced optimism for all other appeals of cases fined on the same grounds, and defended by Alotca with appeals submitted by Escobedo and Saenz. I haven’t smiled this widely for some time, I can tell you!

Update 8 October: I am limited in what I can say, but can report that the first cases have now been heard. The defences submitted by Alotca lawyers José Escobedo and Santiago Saenz, Tenerife Litigation, were strong and comprehensive in their own right, and were bolstered considerably by the ruling (see below) from Presidencia-Consejo Consultivo: this ruling, which was made for, and in direct response to submissions from, Escobedo and Saenz, confirmed that inspection by internet alone was illegal.

The first judgments are expected in around a week’s time, with further judgments by the end of this month, and we can say that we have reason to be hopeful. I would qualify this by stressing that our optimism is reserved for those cases defended by Tenerife Litigation, and where inspection was by internet alone, and of course we must bear in mind that, as in any jurisdiction, the judges are autonomous and independent, and it is impossible to predict with certainty what a ruling will be. I will post as soon as we have the first judgment, which will have precedential value for the others to follow. Fingers crossed.

Original post 16 September:  Thank you for your patience. The following is the text from TFL (Escobedo and Saenz).

In the year 2011, the Canary Islands Government initiated the special plan to eradicate illegal holiday rentals in the Canary islands. This plan is known as PLAN DE ACTUACION ESPECIAL DE INSPECCION DE CONTROL DE ESTABLECIMIENTOS TURISTICOS Y DIAGNOSTICO DE ALOJAMIENTOS SIN AUTORIZACION.

In accordance with the Government, the inspection department of the Tourist Board has initiated more than 7.000 inspections resulting in 959 fines. The Government also alleges that it has collected information regarding 1.452 units which might be illegal and could be exposed to potential fines. Finally as per information published in the media, the Government had issued fines for more than 2.3 millions euros in 2011 alone. In years 2012 and 2013 the said plan has continued being implemented, more fines have been issued. A great many of these fines are currently being enforced by the tax department of the Canary islands Government (Consejería de Hacienda), while some owners have already paid their fines.

The current position is now as follows:

– There are owners who received the letters with the proposed fines and have not paid the fines nor presented any appeals; they could be now exposed to losing their properties in public auction.

– There are also a significant numbers of owners who have been fined but who never received the letters from the Government, therefore the fines have been published in the Canary Islands Official Gazette (BOC); the fines could now be enforced against their properties without their knowledge.

– In 2011 TFL lawyers (José Escobedo & Santiago Saenz) were contacted by many owners in different tourist areas in the Canaries. Those owners have been fined in the amount of 18.000€ for illegal holiday rentals. This is when we started a legal battle to contest these fines.

As part of TFL lawyers’ strategy to defend clients rights, we created the association known as ALOTCA (Asociación de Afectados por la ley de Ordenación del Turismo de Canarias). We registered the association with the Government and convened 2 presentations to discuss the legal consequences of the said plan. We also invited Government representatives to explain the same to affected owners. More than 60 owners trusted their defence (appeals and class action) to ALOTCA lawyers and following an extremely complicated legal procedure which finalized with a resolution from “Presidencia del Gobierno de Canarias (reducing the fine to 13.800€), these reduced fines ended up in a class action being dealt by the 4 Administrative Courts at Santa Cruz.

At the 1st hearing, the judge asked the parties involved in this class action to come to an out of court solution. The Judge appointed TFL lawyers to lead these negotiations. This initiative was initially accepted by the Canary Islands Government and subsequently (after consulting with the top representatives of the Government) rejected and therefore TFL lawyers requested in writing to re-start all legal procedures against these fines. Now our class action is starting with the 1st trials taking place in September.

On 12 September 2013 TFL lawyers received a final resolution from Presidencia del Gobierno de Canarias signed by the top legal department of the Canary island Government which clearly states that all the inspections carried out on the internet are illegal and consequently null and void. The resolution is supported by a legal report issued by the Consejo Consultivo de Canarias, the main legal advisory department of the Canary Islands Government.

The above resolution creates a precedent and has extremely important consequences for the following owners:

1) Owners who have been fined and are already included in our class action (as the Government has now admitted that the inspections carried out mainly on the internet are illegal): the judges who are dealing with the Court cases will see that the legal arguments in our appeals have now been accepted by the Government.

2) Owners who have been fined but have presented no appeals: we are still on time to nullify these fines and even get their money back should the fine have already been paid

3) Owners who have been fined but never received the letter from the Government and whose fines have therefore been published in the Canary Islands Official Gazette (BOC).

For all the above owners, it is important to note that they are now on time to nullify the fines by following the special procedure and class action designed by ALOTCA lawyers, provided that they have been fined by illegal inspection carried out on the internet by the Tourist Board Inspectors.

Owners who have not presented a defence on time might be affected by embargoes placed against their properties and these could be sold in public auction if the illegal fines are not paid on time or nullified by means of this special procedure.

Conclusion: It is not necessary to take this matter to European Courts as some legal sources are suggesting in a local news paper, the solution to this problem is here in the Canary Islands, just need to instruct lawyers to action the right legal procedure to nullify these fines.

More information: info@tenerifelitigation.com

85 Comments

  1. Roll on tomorrow and you being able to publish the news.

    On the TF, the rumour mill is on overdrive with the turbocharger on full power.

  2. Author

    😀 I can imagine!
    I’m sorry Bob, I would love to go ahead but I cannot. I must wait for the text. I’m just having an anxiety attack about it not being ready even tomorrow! It will come, though, I promise.

  3. Oh go on Janet give us a clue, is it astonishing good or bad news

  4. Thanks Janet

    It ranges from total capitulation on all the fines to a total redraft of all the legislation relating to holiday letting.

    Keep up the great work you do.

  5. Author

    It is not bad news, M … I’m sorry I should have made that clear. I think I’d have said “appalling”, “dreadful” or somesuch if it had been bad news.

  6. Is this about the class action Janet?

  7. Author

    No, it’s not.

  8. Does this mean that owners can advertise their properties online?

    I so, how can the Canary Islands collect the Taxes owed.

    I thought Holiday Lets had to go through a Sole Agent.

  9. Hello Janet
    Thanks again for taking all of this on board.

    Like all legal matters there are always questions arising from legal judgements/statements and this is probably no different.

    Reading between the lines it appears that if an investigation was triggered solely by what was seen on the internet then that investigation & fines were not valid and therefore illegal. However if the accusation of illegal letting was confirmed by a tourist inspector who visited the apartment or the lettin agent and received confirmation/evidence that it was being illegally rented, does that conviction stand?

  10. Hi All, is there an easy way to search to see if your name is on the boc? We have tried on a number of occasions but have never been able to search through it? Would it be worth instructing a lawyer to check? Many thanks for all of the information.

  11. wow that is a bit astonishing, so that means everybody is going to rush to put there property on holiday lettings because the website will not hold up as evidence

  12. Author

    Ken, there’s no reading between the lines necessary. Thanks to our work behind the scenes above the heads of Turismo with the Presidencia of the Canarian Govt and the Consejo de Consultivo, it is categoric: the investigation by internet has been declared illegal and the Government’s own tourism department has been illegal fining (and illegally taking fines) on the basis of it.
    .
    To confirm, the law remains in place (how could it not), there are no substantive changes to any “systems”, the Court hearings are still scheduled for next week (unless Turismo itself now throws the towel in) … we will just be turning up to Court with the top legal Parliamentary and Government ruling that the case being heard is based on an illegal investigation.
    .
    It follows therefore that any LEGAL steps taken by the inspectors to investigate illegal letting offences will result in legitimate fines.

  13. Author

    Mrs M, please see HERE.

  14. Author

    Nigel, I wouldn’t advise that owners advertise for the very good reason that internet inspections can still take place! What is illegal is for a fine to be issued ON THAT BASIS ALONE. If a property is identified by internet advert and then a physical inspection takes place, a fine can be issued based on the inspectors’ physical findings.

  15. Author

    Stuart OK, points 1-3:
    1. No, owners cant now just advertise their properties online, or it’s not advvisable anyway … see my reply to Nigel immediately above.
    2. It has nothing to do with taxes. Owners have to fill out a tax return yearly and declare them, or pay the nonresident letting tax anyway.
    3. Yes holiday lets do have to go through a Sole Agent – this doesn’t have anything to do with that issue.

  16. Thanks Janet

  17. Hi Janet, myself and I am sure everybody involved in this many thanks for your site & information you have given us.

    Tongue in cheek does this mean we can now claim interest on our 13800.00 Euro that they have illegally had and also claim compensation for our legal costs.

  18. Wow… That is astonishing… I’m in the 60 Janet.

    Is this still being heard in court then? I have the 26th September down as the date?

    Is that just a formality of procedure?

  19. Author

    It’s possible that Turismo will throw the towel in before then, but at present, the cases are still to be heard. At that hearing, if it now still takes place, we will go in with this ruling. It is from the top of the Government – above even the Parliament or the President himself in juridical terms, saying that Turismo’s prosecution is based on an illegal investigation. We cannot see how the Court can do anything other than throw the cases out immediately … but we still have to go through process,

  20. Author

    Thanks M. As far as legal interest and compensation for legal costs go, actually I don’t see why you shouldn’t try for it.

  21. Hi Janet.

    All very interesting. Sounds like the wheels are getting loose, if not yet falling off.
    How does this affect villas?
    With no right of entry, no agent with a vested interest, and repeat visits likely to be cited for harassment, how can a suspicion be proven, particularly if the ‘guests’ won’t cooperate

  22. Author

    They can make repeated visits, take photos, etc. They are the Government … and they can “request” entry, with refusal being suspicious! And they can’t be cited for harassment if they are acting on the basis of suspecting an offence.

  23. Well i just want to say thanks Janet. Ive emailed you about detailed points on here and without some of your guidance the last 2 years would have been far worse than if this site wasnt available.

    I’ve had what seemed good news on this before only to be disapointed but lets just say this is the most postive ive been for a while.

    Will Jose be email his clients?

  24. Author

    Thanks kidder. I don’t know if José is going to be emailing … as far as we’re concerned at present, this has now been disseminated, and we’re prepping for Court on the 26th as per the last communication.

  25. Truely ASTONISHING news Janet. It was well worth the wait.

    Can I personally congratulate you and the full legal team for all the hard work involved to date.

    Lets hope the Tourismo see sense and withdraw all their current actions on the 26th.

    I suspect the 1995 Law and its Amendments are now unworkable and that the whole sorry mess needs to be reworked.
    I will post a link to here on our community website for all owners to see.

  26. Author

    Thanks Peter. I think, though, that the law will remain as it is, with just the method of inspection changing. Indeed, Turismo had already changed its method … so I suspect, personally, that they suspected this was illegal even as they were continuing the internet inspections and issuing (and collecting) fines. Having said that, we estimate that a large percentage, perhaps as much as 90%, of existing fines are based on this internet-only, and therefore illegal, inspection method.

  27. Thanks for the reply J

    can I quote it on the forum ?

    LO QUE NO TE MATA, TE HACE MAS FUERTE.

    In think ALOCTA should adopt this has their moto.

  28. Author

    😀 yes, by all means, the more who know the better. Please be aware that what we have relates to “inspection by internet alone”. The internet can still be used to generate leads, but it cannot be used, at that stage, to impose a fine on the suspicion of an offence. Far more work, like physical visits and collection of further evidence, must take place before an offence can be deemed to have been commited. Only at that point may they issue a fine … but they can still use the internet in the early stages of this process.

  29. Take a bow, Janet, along with all your team. One step at a time. Well done!!
    Stewart

  30. I’m glad to see that common sense has prevailed, but while I agree that in most cases the original fines were over the top, if you take the scenario where an owner openly admits that they knew about the law, chose to ignore it for 10 years and bought more than 1 property, if you assume 40 weeks per year occupancy at £400 per week, they have made £160,000 from each property in that time.

    An 18000 euro fine doesn’t actually seem too excessive to me in those cases.

  31. Author

    I agree, Bob, though most cases are more straightforward than that, and many people were either unaware or lulled into a belief that it was accepted even if technically illegal (which was the case). Important to note, though, that the ruling from Presidencia and the Consejo doesn’t have any implications for “disproportionality”, though that was a strong strand to the defences. Hopefully, now, the Courts will throw these cases out before we have to make any defence at all.
    .
    Stewart, thank you very much!

  32. Bob Mac,

    I don’t know where you got figures like that from, a Chinese Cracker I think.

  33. This is good news for those who got fined early on due to the evidence for fining those owners was gathered and based on adverts online…..

    While ALOTCA deserve credit for finding a way out for the owners fined based on the online adverts as Janet says; this means nothing for the owners who were caught by alternate methods employed by the inspectorate – many of us will remember that the method used by the inspectors changed early on and subsequant fines were for other infractions such as “not having an inspection book” or “not having complaints forms available” etc….

    It’s important to note that the laws are still very much intact and owners considering advertising again can still be fined 18,000 for letting their apartment for a) not being registered with the tourist board via the sole agent….b) not having an inspection book and complaints forms.

  34. Many thanks for your interesting website.
    Just one question as I live on a residential site and over half the appartments are being let out short-term over the internet. I have heard that Tourismo have given fines to the worst offenders. Does this mean that they can get out of paying their fines because they advertised their residential property for short term letting on the internet? There is a Spanish lawyer on our site who champions these proprietors and rents out illegally himself.

  35. Along with the other ’60’ Janet can I thank you very much for the major part you have played in this unhappy situation. Even when things looked bad, you allowed us non residents to keep abreast of what was going on and assured us that we were doing the best we could to defend ourselves.

    We are very gratefull

    Ed

  36. Author

    Dona Margaret, they can “get out of their fines” if they were inspected illegally … because the inspections, and therefore the fines, are null and void. If they were caught by internet inspection only then they were illegally fined. If they were caught by legal method then their fine will stand. In the future, Turismo will be using more robust methods of inspection, as they have already started doing, and it will be a case of defending in Court anyone who wants to challenge one. One basis for challenge at that point will not be illegal inspection.
    .
    Thanks Ed.

  37. How would the inspectors gain legal entry to obtain admissible evidence.

    I have witnessed the police denied entry to private residential property has the owners had not received any prior official court authority in advance.

    If they turn up with only a copy of an internet ad then presumably that wouldn’t be sufficient evidence based on this current ruling.

  38. IDBI, My figures are based on what we would normally pay to rent a 2 bed/2 bathroom property in the Golf Del Sur area and they have been in that ball park area for nearly 10 years. I’m talking about reentaing through Internet adverts, not through an Agent.

    Where would they stand legally if they did what Trading Standards in the UK do and they actually made a test purchase and confirmed a booking through the Internet. They would then have copies of all the paperwork relating to the booking which they could submit as evidence. Would that still fall foul of the no Internet evidence allowed ??

  39. You have a lot to learn bmac.

    Your that far off the mark it’s untrue.

    I bought not knowing this law. I have a mortgage. Then letter through door you owe 18,000.

    30 months this has been dragging on and I’ve worked every hour under the sun to keep my “dream home”.

    These residential complex’s will die with mortgage less properties and no visitors. On site bars will close and prices will slump. And it’s happening now.

    Buyers? No where to be seen.

    The lucky few who have no mortgages that moan about greedy renters…. How did you start? How did you get on the property ladder. Unless you inherited without a mortgage you can’t.

    So see the bigger picture… You don’t rent to make money, 20/30 years down the line yes.. Property paid for but if you think places are getting £400 a week on a regular basis you need to wake up a smell the coffee

  40. Author

    PJ they don’t need to gain admission, I wouldn’t have thought … just knock the door and see who answers. Do that a few times they’d get an idea, and some will answer questions …
    .
    Bobmac, if they try to book through the internet and get a response, they would then be in direct (presumably email) contact with the owners. They would have an effective admission in print! It would, I would think, quite clearly come wtihin the remit of “collection of further evidence” …

  41. Hello Janet.
    On the subject of getting evidence, I would imagine that sole agents, administrators or others may be encouraged to inform on those who are suspected of carrying on with an illegal activity

  42. Given their performance to date I think they would need to be absolutely certain the evidence collected was totally concrete and watertight.

    I am not sure information garnered by asking a few basic questions on the doorstep would be sufficient in court either ???

    I would suspect they would need some sort of a sworn statement from any occupants they discovered in residence that were not the escritura owners.

    Can they actually force people to provide such evidence, ???

    surely informing or denouncing isn’t the same has obtaining factual evidence.

  43. Author

    A denuncia, whether by fellow owners, disgruntled tenants, or agents of any sort, would form a legitimate basis for an investigation. I think, too, that they would be justified in chancing a fine on the basis of an admission at the door that someone was “on holiday” via a “private booking”, provided they had ID of the people prepared to make such a statement.

  44. I suspect the Tourismo wouldn’t be willing to “chance” a fine again unless they felt they had absolutely solid acceptable evidence.

    The judge next week might feel inclined to make some further rulings himself on what would be acceptable to the courts.

  45. Does the Government send those letters to the holiday rentals or to the owners’ permanent address?

  46. Author

    Please could you have a read HERE.

  47. Janet I have said it and you have also said it that short term letting on Residential complexes is ILLEGAL! So why all the fuss? if the touristic board use the Internet to prosecute those who knowingly and willingly break the law so be it. It is the easiest way to identify the perpetrator. Yes, this can be followed up by a visit from the touristic official but the information shown on the website should be enough to prosecute.

    I know I will upset many of your readers but if like me you live on a Residential complex where many owners get up early each morning to go to work and have children who attend school and who are constantly being disturbed by ‘holiday makers’, then you too would be fed up. The constant revelling, the attitude, “I’m here to enjoy myself 24/7” without any thought for others, then you too would be fed up and angry.

    So I say Janet if you buy an apartment on a residential site to rent out short term then think again because it is illegal.

  48. Author

    The law is unchanged in respect of lettings, whether residential or tourist. The point of this post is to convey the information that the consultative council and the Presidencia of the Canarian Government has pronounced that inspections by internet alone are not enough to issue fines. The Spanish Constitution requires more evidence than that, and a similar judgment has recently been issued in a different respect by the Supreme Court. Despite all evidence to the contrary sometimes, this is a part of Europe where the rule of law applies, and both law and Constitution require thorough investigation before an accusation or fine is levied. I for one am happy that the Presidencia and the Consejo in the Canaries has confirmed that what applies throughout Spain also applies here.

  49. The 1995 law is indeed unchanged in respect of short term lettings. However, in light of these recent rulings the question is, are they now workable or even enforceable.

    I suspect the judge may have been aware of the Presidencia`s views at the time he adjourned the class action appeals in July, and he may well have some additional considerations to add to the matter himself.

  50. Author

    Yes, PJ, I think it is. “All” that has changed is that Turismo inspections must be more rigorous than just an internet inspection. They had already become so. In terms of the judge being aware of the Presidencia’s views, no, categorically. Those views were, until yesterday, only known to the Consejo, Escobedo & Saenz, and me. And then everyone who reads this website.
    .
    Anyone else who has this information as of today has it because of that timeline, and then from me as source. This has all taken place separate to legal action, separate to the Courts, and separate to political approaches. It has taken place in the background, discreetly and diplomatically as it had to be, to help the very people who often were telling us to go in guns blazing and tell them all to **** off because we’re taking the case to Europe.
    .
    Terry, I’m sorry but I’ve removed your latest post (IDBI that applies to your reply to Terry too). I don’t want this post to turn into another “discussion page”. In your own words your comments are a rant. I am not refusing to allow rants on this site, but please make them in the discussion page HERE.

  51. Janet I never referred my comments to as a “rant” I was only understanding Terry’s position & offering the Govt a simple way out of the mess they have made to do with illegal letting which I thought these postings were about

  52. Sorry Janet, and thank you for letting me know. I didn’t intend to make a big thing out of it.
    Will continue to enjoy your post. Always very informative. Many thanks.

  53. Author

    IDBI for heaven’s sake, I was speaking to Terry, who called his post a rant (this is why my comment to you was in brackets). The Government would say they are not in a mess. The ruling that this post is about comes from the Government’s own governing advisory council and board (to try to describe it in a comprehensible way), and it confirms everything about the law and its systems and its enforcements. Not a mess. Turismo just has to be more rigorous than sitting in an office finding a property on the internet and issuing a fine. They had already started to do so.
    .
    What is astonishing about the ruling Alotca has achieved (and Alotca alone has achieved) is that it means we are now hopeful that the cases in Court next week, and any others based purely on internet inspection, will be thrown out. Moreover, those who have already paid their fines, appear to be able to apply to get them back. Considering that at one point we thought the best we could achieve was a reduction of fines to 1,500 with the loss of any fines already paid, this is a huge achievement in our opinion. We cannot magic away the law though, so anyone who’s been fined and who now “gets away with it” should think themselves bloody lucky and move on … legally.

  54. Janet the internet copies that the turismo were using as evidence and now is deemed illegal can we demand that the internet information be destroyed or can we have that information or all copies back?

    You cannot inspect a property were there are no justification or leads to indicate that illegal letting is occuring

  55. Author

    Doubt it, nigel, not least because they can still use internet evidence as the basis for further investigation. People should still be very very cautious because advertising is illegal … it always was, and will remain so. I would say, moreover, that it is possible that this very evidence – which has been illegally used to issue fines, illegally because it was the only basis for the fine – might be used again as the basis for collection of further evidence for another fine. And I suspect that any such fines would be issued as for second offences, i.e. €30,000 or so.
    .
    The ONLY thing that has changed is that Turismo cannot use internet adverts ALONE to issue fines. And yes, they can inspect a property where they have a suspicion illegal letting is going on. It is a different legal system here, but even in the UK, suspicion of an offence is enough to trigger an official investigation, whether by police or government authorities.

  56. OK i just cannot see that a print off of an internet site from two years ago that does not exists can be used as basis for further investigation.

    i do not think for one moment anyone would advertise on the internet any more

    i suggest that everyone uses there reimbursed fine to finance the mortgage for a year(after all you will get half of it back later)and let the inspectors inspect empty properties and in the mean time the owners try and sell or get long lets organised and hopefully the whole system will have been readdressed a year down the line.

    however lets wait for the 26th to pass first and see what happens

  57. Sorry Janet, I was only trying to suggest away of turning Tenerife back to some semblance of normality, possibly help the unemployed back into employment by bringing back lost tourists.

    You have said to Nigel that it is illegal to advertise but our new Agent should we get a licence is saying if we advertise & get our own booking he will take 20% less of a fee than if he gets the booking, Is this legal

  58. After reading the various responses, there is clearly a point that still needs emphasising. Please don’t take offence at the analogy, it just seems the best way to explain it.
    .
    If police make a secret recording of somebody confessing to a murder, this is illegally obtained evidence and is not admissible in court. However, this does not mean that murder is now accepted, it does not mean that murder will have to be legalised and it does not mean that the police are wrong to try and catch murderers. It simply means that the police have to find more solid evidence in order to take the murderer to court.
    .
    I hope this clarifies what this ruling means for illegal letting 😉

  59. Author

    Absolutely, Nova! Very well put!!
    .
    IDBI, according to legal opinion I have, it’s risky because all bookings should really be taken by the agent direct. There are ways for an owner to strengthen their position in such a situation though, and at the very least the owners should put all bookings they get themselves through the agent, and make sure the advert contains the words that any bookings taken will be put through the agent … I’ve answered this on the Q&A page HERE.
    .
    Can I also just say that at present, we are looking at a high percentage, perhaps as high as 90%, of EXISTING FINES being based on internet-only inspections. That percentage, inevitably, will reduce very quickly because inspections continue, but are no longer internet-only based. The percentage is only relevant in that it is the percentage of fines which, we hope and expect, will be quashed or thrown out because the inspections behind them were illegal.


  60. I remember visiting Jose in early 2011 and he was adamant then that prosecutions on an internet advert alone were not sufficient evidence and subsequently this was put to Tourismo and dismissed as they believed it was.
    I think all this shows that as a Canarian Lawyer, Jose not only ‘knows his stuff’ but also knows how the system works in the Canaries – he has fought previous cases of a similar nature and has such an in dept understanding.
    .
    There is a great debt of gratitude owed to alotca, Janet and the lawyers because without them this issue would never have been addressed in such a pragmatic manner. You cannot change things by using a big stick: as Miss Marple would say it is, ‘slowly slowly catchy monkey.’

  61. Janet

    So do we think these cases will still go to court or are they expecting turismo to withdraw them pre court?

    I’m also assuming all cases aren’t being heard at the same time, thought mine was but its not, so inital judgements if they go to court would set precedence?

  62. Phillip, you above comment could not have been put better, no doubt the whole ALOTCA team stuck to thier defence right from the off and thanks to Janet also for recommending Jose in the first place, many of my clients were caught in the 1st wave and through internet advertising and have always had faith in Jose as thier lawyer, we still have a way to go to legalise villas but im sure this will happen given time.

  63. Author

    Thank you Phillip and Christine. 🙂
    .
    Kidder, we are operating on the assumption that the cases will go ahead in Court in 8 days time. As for precedent, it has a different function in Spanish law and a different value, but in this particular circumstance, the first judgment should set a clear guideline for any other Courts and other judgments.

  64. Well done Jose and you Janet for keeping us all so well informed. Like many others that have had a long career in enforcing laws such as this one it’s been quite apparent from the outset that employing 17 or 18 tourist inspectors with probably precious little in the way of training and expecting them to do a water tight job is asking rather a lot. There may be more to come if the determination to enforce the laws is still there.

    I think not as Jose has dealt a significant and well targeted body blow against ‘easy enforcement’. Any further investigations will require substantial resources that are quite likely to need 4 times the current number of inspectors supported by a back office of many more staff. The training of these inspectors to any degree of effectiveness in areas such as interview skills and basic interview rules would take several weeks to complete. I suspect many of the existing inspectors would either not make the grade or quickly lose all interest when the work falls a long way short of the original job description.

    It’s one thing to scan the internet for letting adverts but quite a different task when faced with thousands of addresses to visit, knock on doors, interview witnesses, speak several languages and be prepared to revisit these thousands of addresses again if more evidence is needed. Short of a massive injection of cash and resources it’s simply not possible.

    For this reason I firmly believe Turismo’s strategy is thankfully now dead in the water.

  65. Hello Andy
    I agree that imposing fines solely based on internet advertizing was probably going to eventually fail. However I would imagine that if the Canary Government have the will to pursue those that are involved in the illegal rental industry, then the government may carryout more rigorous investigations and then cover their costs by imposing heavier fines perhaps up to 30,000 euros per charge, especially on those that may have escaped via the internet loophole.

  66. Author

    As I’ve posted before, I’m afraid that they are already carrying out more rigorous investigations. And those who might find they’ve “got off” from the first fine because it was illegal, could well find themselves fined “as a second offence” because the “illegal” evidence was used as a basis for that more rigorous investigation. So yes, €30,000 or so. The only safe thing for anyone who gets off at this stage is to stop advertising and not take the risk.

  67. All remains to be seen Ken and Janet, I was merely giving my take on the mountain that investigators will have to climb in order to secure safe prosecutions. It is clearly a much bigger one now that more sophisticated methods will need to be employed. Even then those methods will need to be tested and made as robust as possible. The size of the fines I don’t see makes any difference to the task of securing the evidence. More rigorous investigation is in my view impossible on a mass scale for the reasons I outlined earlier.

  68. Author

    No, Andy, we have it quite clear that it must just be “more thorough” and involve visits and firm evidence, rather than just internet advert gathering. The relevance of the size of second fines is the motive to the Government to use existing (illegally imposed) fines as a basis for further investigation in order to fine again. Part of what they will be required to do is confirm that the original advert is still being placed. Hence my advice to stop advertising at all costs.

  69. Hiya Janet.

    I believe the 1st court cases are today?

    Do you know when information will come out about possible outcomes?

  70. Author

    Yes they are and no I don’t. Sorry. I’ll post as soon as I can.

  71. This may seem like a daft question but how does anyone receiving a fine know if it was for from evidence gathered by internet advertising or from visits from inspectors?

  72. Author

    No question is daft if someone doesn’t know the answer. 🙂 It will be stated in the notification of the fine.

  73. Thank you!

  74. thanks again Janet im not going to drink as much as i did last time waiting for an announcement….Hiccup x

  75. Janet.

    That is amazing news. Congratulations if your in the 1st batch.

    Do you think turismo will now withdraw other cases from future court hearings based on today’s decision?

  76. Author

    Doubt it, but we are sure of our verdict if they do not 🙂

  77. Thank you Janet,It seems a long,long time ago when I first called you to ask for your help.

  78. Author

    It’s been a very long time for far too many people. The only consolation is that it has had the ending it has.

  79. Congratulations Janet on a great result for all concerned.

    On the cases which are still to be processed, is there anything to stop Turismo stalling them while they gather more evidence which doesn’t come from the internet ??

    I only ask because I’ve just booked for Easter 2014 and I know for a fact that there are still people advertising properties which are illegal to let.

  80. Author

    Thanks Bob. On the follow-up evidence issue, José and I were discussing that very point yesterday. We are sure that any such evidence would be inadmissible given that the fines concerned were issued specifically on the basis of internet evidence alone. It could, however, form part of a fine for a second offence …

  81. Hi Janet I remember sometime ago you posted links to the list of touristic compkexes in arona and adeje please could you repost them thanks

  82. Author

    Hi Carol, they’re on my links page. Just over halfway down, under “Tourism Resources” … the Cabildo bit.

  83. Hiya Janet

    Have any more cases been heard in court since the 1st batch?

  84. Author

    yes, there have been more, but I’m afraid that I don’t have specific details at present.

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