Canarian Government’s letting regulation for private holiday rentals

Canarian Government’s letting regulation for private holiday rentals

** The Vivienda Vacacional decree is currently being redrafted after a Monopolies Commission complaint in September 2015. Please see HERE **

Update 28 May: The Canarian Government has today published in the BOC (Boletín Oficial de Canarias) the decree, number 113/2015, which regulates the short-term letting of private apartments defined as viviendas vacacionales. Click HERE to load the decree, and HERE for the simple version of how to let legally.

Update 22 May: Despite the hopes and arguments of those who wanted to be able to offer and use private holiday rentals regardless of their prohibition in tourism law, the Canarian Parliament has today approved the much awaited “regulación” required by its Urban Letting legislation – and the hotel association Ashotel is likely to be highly pleased with the outcome. For according to the regulation, private holiday letting may only be undertaken in “non-touristic” areas and under strict conditions.

This private holiday rental regulation does not come into conflict with Canarian tourism legislation, as the government always insisted would be the case given that its tourism laws have been ratified in Spain to the highest possible legislative and juridical levels.

It will be a bitter disappointment for many who hoped that the new regulation would force the Canarian Government’s hand, and who believed that private holiday rentals in tourist areas were a virtual inevitably. Even in those buildings away from tourist areas, private holiday rentals may only be undertaken if the statutes of the community do not expressly prohibit them, and the statutes of many particularly newer complexes will do precisely that.

Canarian Government spokesman Martin Marrero said that with the new deccree the Canaries was now compliant with the requirement to regulate private holiday letting, and that it had been impossible to facilitate the demands of all sides.

The president of the lobbying association Ascav, Doris Borrego, said that her association needed to study the new regulation in detail, but that she felt it was largely in keeping with their demands, and that Ascav had never sought the ability for short term letting to be undertaken in holiday areas. The regulation was historic, however, she said, for the thousands of owners that Ascav represents who will now be able to conduct short-term rentals in other areas. As I’ve said before, Ascav’s constituency is mainly Canarians rather than the foreigners who own in the main tourist parts of the south.

The regulation also, as expected, requires any short-term letting to be initiated by official application and declaration, and accompanied by documentation confirming habitability such as a cedula.

Update 19 March 2015: The final version of the regulatory decree has now been drawn up, the Canarian Government announced this morning, and now just has to go through a few final formalities before it is presented to the regional Parliament. The final decree will be a consensus, said Turismo minister Ricardo Fernández de la Puente Armas, which will guarantee tourism development in the Canaries, and in making this consensus, there will be some significant differences from the draft to which I linked previously below.

One of the changes from the draft regulation to its final form has been that of definition: the law will now recognize viviendas vacacionales (vacational dwellings) rather than viviendas de uso turístico (tourist-use dwellings). At the request of island Cabildos, the decree will also define, more precisely, the areas within which individual vacational dwellings might be rented out. We will need to wait to see what these are when the final regulation appears.

Further changes to the draft decree will mean that community approval is not required after all to let out privately, but owners may only do so if the statutes do not specifically prohibit it (many if not most residential complexes will have statutes that do indeed specifically prohibit holiday letting) or where holiday letting would be in breach of a community’s internal rules.

Beyond the restrictions of specified areas and community statutes and rules, Cabildo registration and approval will be required as was expected from the draft. This registration and approval will require presentation of documents (these will vary, but could include a licencia de ocupación or cédula de habitabilidad), together with a declaration of personal responsibility for the letting activity, and a legal assertion of compliance with the terms of the regulation.

Update 16 December 2014: HERE is an English translation of the draft regulation. Please note that this is my own translation, and so as such it is not “official” (it is also my copyright!). I have tried to make it sensible in English, whilst conveying the actual spirit of the wording. Please do bear in mind that it is not only an unofficial translation, it is also regulation in draft – this is what we could call “a working document”.

Update 12 December: As posted below, and as promised before the end of the year, HERE is the draft regulation – a requirement of urban letting legislation – which affects private tourism lets in the Canaries. I have just received it from José Escobedo, and am posting it before I’ve really even had a chance to look at it in detail, let alone translate it. Please bear with me, but I thought many would appreciate seeing it at the earliest opportunity.

Original post 8 November: Canarian tourism minister Ricardo Fernández de la Puente will present on Monday the draft clauses for the regulation of private rentals which is forming part of the first-year revision of the tourism law. As I posted HERE, the regional government had agreed with Ascav to include regulation by the end of this year, benefiting both from appearing to concede to local demands for private letting, and from complying with national requirements to incorporate specific regulation in regional legislation. The lack of such regulation meant that the Canarian government had unwittingly put private rentals into a legal limbo, and Turismo is keen to rectify the omission.

It will be fascinating to see what this draft includes, but already we are being told that it will be modelled on – but not the same as – existing private rental legislation in the Balearics and Catalonia, and that which is planned in Andalucia. Moreover, it will involve some sort of registration system with a number to be used in all circumstances of rental activity, and a series of conditions to be met before properties can be registered. It remains to be seen how loose or restrictive these conditions will be, but for now, the Turismo minister has said that it was never going to be possible to please everyone, but that the government was attempting to get as much of a consensus as possible between the varying competing groups of the private rental sector and commercial tourism and hotel interests.

He continued that he was convinced that it was better for the sector to be regulated, controlled, and where guarantees were offered to customers, but also where legitimate business could not be undermined by unfair competition. After the draft has been unveiled, there will be the standard “public consultation” involving all tourism interest groups, including hotels, businesses, ayuntamientos, etc. The promise of regulation by the end of the year will be fulfilled, though it will be draft rules that are ready in time, not the final decree.

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