José Escobedo, Santiago Saenz and I have decided to deregister Alotca, and wind the association up. We wanted to make a formal announcement of the fact, with our explanation, as a mark of respect to all those who have supported Alotca over the past three or so years. There are a few reasons behind our decision, but the timing is specifically because we are approaching the registration renewal point. Alotca will not be renewed as a formal Spanish asociación, and will be deregistered as of next month.
The principal reason is that the three main objectives of the asociación have reached a natural conclusion. One of our main focuses was the defence of those affected by the clampdown of the Canarian government on its former tourism legislation (the name itself was an acronym reflecting this). In this legal sense, a very great deal has been achieved in the courts, where the overwhelming majority of fines defended by José Escobedo have been overturned – even in one of the courts where we saw very little leeway, and even in situations like El Marques Palace, where the picture was complicated, to say the least. This victory, and it can properly called a victory, is almost entirely due to José Escobedo’s particular research and the specific legal approach he adopted. This has meant that even the fines of those owners who came to Alotca having previously been advised to admit guilt – fines in other words that could not be overturned because of the prior admission – have been reduced in one case from €18,000 to €1,800.
Another reason is that we felt a need for a formal and legal asociación in order to lobby politically at the highest possible levels. This resulted in interviews and meetings up to the highest level in the Canaries, including president Paulino Rivero himself. Although it is impossible to know what specific action or words had what particular effect, we are sure that this had an impact on the final version of the new tourism law, and indeed during its first year in force when it was being reviewed in action, a process which finished a few months ago. Whatever legal developments now follow, the decisions are already made and we believe that no further specific influence can be brought to bear. In this respect, however, we would like to acknowledge the continued existence of Ascav, the new association primarily formed for and by Canarian individuals and businesses. Ascav has had major successes of its own, and clearly considers that there is a benefit to continuing to lobby for individual lets in residential properties, and for Bed and Breakfast to be legalized. We wish them every success in the future.
One area where we know we have had a considerable effect is in the very nature of the inspections themselves, which have changed beyond recognition thanks to the cases we took through legal process. As a result of our lobbying and victories in the courts, inspection by internet is now a thing of the past. There is still work to do with regard to the inspectorate’s methodology, but this can be in the form of individual consultations to appeal any fines issued, without the need for an asociación. We would like to thank everyone who has supported Alotca, and I think we’ll all agree that there’s still a lot of mileage in the subject generally, but we feel that the specific goals of the association have been fulfilled in so far as they were politically and legally possible, and we hope that people will feel as satisfied as we are with what has been achieved. Certainly, we couldn’t have made a greater effort, and we’ll continue to do so on a case-by-case basis as appropriate in the future.