Illegal letting prosecution figures announced

Since the government announced that it had 7,000 procedures on the go against illegal letting there has been speculation about what this figure comprised. Some thought it was inspections, others actual fines, and some others had a range of different ideas. Now the government has confirmed the numbers of actual legal actions taken against illegal touristic establishments. In 2011, 2,600 cases were initiated, followed in the first six months of 2012 by between 1,300 and 1,500, with a further 600 in process, a total of between 4,500 and 4,700.

The minister did not have specific figures to hand for the period since July this year, but confirmed those up to June in a press conference given by viceconsejero de Turismo del Gobierno de Canarias, Ricardo Fernández de la Puente, who reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the whole touristic sector playing by the same rules. The minister said that much time and effort is being put into pursuing the illegal offer in the islands since this disadvantages not just businesses that are operating legally, but also the image of the Canaries as a touristic destination.

During the press conference, Ricardo FPA confirmed that the new Ley de Renovación y Modernización Turística has been presented to the Canarian Parliament today.



  1. Should we therefore expect to see exactly what has been presented to Parliament any time soon?

  2. Author

    yes, the usual political spiel using a lot of words to say very little.

  3. We have reported illegal letting on our community on 4 occasions over the past year and have had no response we have produced written statements by the renters and correspondence between the apartment owner and renter also advertising details. Are the goverment just making alot of noise and very little action !

  4. Author

    Not at all. They have so much work on, though, that it can take two or so years to get around to particular offences.

  5. I cannot believe someone has posted on here that they are actually reporting people on their own complex and even gone to the lengths of producing evidence! That’s churlish to say the least. You must be so popular! You even sound really disappointed that the owners haven’t been fined yet. Let me guess you are one of those ex pats who live on a complex and hate holidaymakers?

  6. in response to Johns post about the inaction of the government in following up his reporting of illegal renters, they do have their own agenda with regards enforcement. They are only attacking mainly english complex’s, if there are spanish owners around they are staying away. The figures quoted by the minister indicate around 4500 fines in all the islands, less than the 7000 many of us were often told and doubted. They are just scratching the surface with that, they have definitley scared many of the internet ads away, summer footfall was reduced this year due to that, and next summer will be even worse, many renters had existing bookings this summer , taken before they pulled their ads. There is no doubt that if they actually suceeded in stopping all the renting the canarian economy would completely collaspe. maybe John, they are not pursuing your most helpful snitching, because they are starting to realise the harm they are doing to their economy and people in this?

  7. Author

    Andrew I’m afraid that is rubbish, and offensive rubbish too, in almost every respect. If the government has an agenda, it is to improve touristic quality and, in their own words, ensure that the whole touristic offer is made legally and with everyone playing on the same level field. There is no such thing as an “english complex”, and the inspectors would not be targeting them even if there were! They are inspecting and fining anyone, of any nationality, who is breaking the law. The fact that the majority of these are British does not make for an attack on the British. It is an attack on illegal touristic activity.

    Where you are right is that they are currently still only scratching the surface. To the 4,500 existing fines we can add a currently unknown number from July, and there will certainly be more over forthcoming months and years. The 7,000 quoted initially is clearly understood now to be “in process”, i.e. properties identified for inspection. Many will still be awaiting actual inspection, and some will be one or two pieces of paper away from a fine being issued. It won’t be too long before they’re up to that 7,000 in actual fines, and indeed surpass it. And yes, I agree that it will affect tourism, and since tourism is one of the island’s main economic engines, it will affect the economy too. But the world economy, and particularly that of Spain, is doing that anyway, and even if they allowed a complete free for all there would be an economic disaster here next year and, probably, for a few years after that.

  8. Have to agree with Andrew’s comment though regarding “snitching”. I don’t see the need for anyone to purposely assist the government to track down owners and especially if they could be neighbours on the complex in question. Just makes the “snitcher” appear to be very vindictive, underhand and bitter . I think also saying tourism is “one of the island’s main economic engines” is being a little understated. What else do any of the islands offer other than a guaranteed week in the sun? Obviously I don’t know much about the “non-tourist” areas that are historic but how many tourists actually go to any of them? Ask anyone in the UK what the canaries offer and they’d all say the same thing.

  9. A point about the crackdown being mainly an attack on english and the spanish not being targeted. On la palma, I am reliably informed, the authorities have legalised thousands of stand alone rural properties. these owners have been campaigning against the crackdown since the beginning, now they are going to be legal and not fined. It seems the owners are mainly spanish and many of them work in local government, their letting is a useful second income.

    Of course craig, tourism is the islands main economic activity, and as such most other industries stand behind it , often as suppliers etc. Its vital for the islands economy and the private renters lost footfall is a big loss, in my opinion, even given the background of a wider economic crisis.

  10. Author

    andrew: On la palma, I am reliably informed, the authorities have legalised thousands of stand alone rural properties. these owners have been campaigning against the crackdown since the beginning

    This is an entirely separate and different situation. It is an issue relating, as you say, to rural properties and has been an ongoing issue for many years. It has nothing to do with the illegal letting campaign.

    On the matter of the Canarian economy generally, it is irrelevant if tourists just see tourism! Tourism is a huge component of the economy here, but there are other significant areas, notably in agricultural exports, e.g. bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and increasingly avocados and similar high-price fruits, and viticulture, with Canarian wines being famous, even being mentioned in Shakespeare, and exported around the world. There is also a significant market in petrol products exports, and, surprisingly, tobacco products, primarily to America.

    Tourism is an overwhelming economic engine, however, and this is why the Government is acting to protect and improve it. That many foreign (and yes, some Spanish, and even some Canarian) owners have fallen foul of the illegal letting clampdown is unfortunate, to say the least, but it is the result of a Government acting in what it sees as its best interests. It is on record as saying that regardless of opposition, it has the right to take such action as it deems appropriate, and it is going to do it! It has a vision. It might not be a vision that some (perhaps many) agree with, but it’s the vision it has all the same.

    The idea that it would consciously act against its own interests is laughable. It believes this campaign will help in the overall scheme of promoting quality upmarket tourism here. Those of us who care deeply about these islands can only hope they’re right!

  11. Tourism is a huge component of the economy here, but there are other significant areas, notably in agricultural exports, e.g. bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and increasingly avocados and similar high-price fruits, and viticulture, with Canarian wines being famous, even being mentioned in Shakespeare, and exported around the world. There is also a significant market in petrol products exports, and, surprisingly, tobacco products, primarily to America.

    I don’t think there are many of those in Lanzarote, Janet.

  12. Yes, there’s a problem with this legislation being applied across the islands when they are so diverse. In Fuerteventura they only produce a bit of goats cheese and some medicinal sea salt. There is no natural water supply and even most of the electricity comes from Lanzarote via an undersea cable. Tourism is really the only major industry. Flights are being cut left, right and centre, the subsidy for desalinating water is being cut and our beach upgrade has been cancelled. How are we supposed to go 5 star with fewer tourists and no sand! The island economy is much more fragile than Tenerife and yet Turismo seem to think we can turn it around by attracting a few bird watchers and astronomers.

  13. Would love to know how many bananas, tomatoes and cucumbers Tenerife would need to sell to replace lost tourists! Unless of course I am completely out of touch with that particular market…….

  14. Author

    It’s not a tiny market, though of course tourism is far larger. Bear in mind, too, that according to the statistics, tourists are still coming, and lots of them. There might be a drop, and there seems to be a big drop, in the number of Britons coming, particularly those who would stay in privately booked apartments, but the numbers do suggest that Tenerife is generally running at between 70 and 90% occupancy of legal accommodation.

  15. Quite frankly illegal lettings is of low importance in my portfolio of priorities. The Canarian government would be much better served by using its inspectors to investigate the ongoing and ever-increasing government and political corruption that thrives throughout these islands. Instead of counting beds, why not spend the ever-dwindling cash-flow on recouping money stolen from the coffers of the various ayuntamientos. But that would be too simple, too logical, too revealing. I am a foreigner, married to a Canarian woman, whose family is well connected. The stories I hear are shocking, if not disturbing. Tourism is important here. Got that. But you need to lure industry to these islands. The Canarian government has failed miserably in this venture. Industry will go to African before they come here. And why is that? The Canarian government knows how to do Fiestas, Siestas and various other “estas”. But knowing how to do business . . . forget it! Remember what Paulino Rivero announced just the other day: “2013 promises to be a terrifying year for the Canarian people”. A rather dreary offering to the Canarian people. So yes, count the beds. That bed that they count may well be the one they find themselves resting in.

  16. Well said Akualele. This is so very true and doesn’t just happen in Government.

  17. Author

    Absolutely Akualele. Of course, investigating corruption assumes some incorruptibility somewhere in the hierarchy. If it’s endemic, then it’s going to be quite literally the last thing to be investigated …

  18. I agree janet , the canarian and spanish economies would be in a bad state in any case , what with the world/eurozone crissis, but the question remains, how much worse is the situation in the canary islands due to the governments crackdown on the private renters? We have the offical tourist figures for legal accomodation , but we do not have figures for lost private rented customers this past summer. I am around 10 weeks less rented this summer than last summerfor one apartment. maybe each lost week is around 800 euro lost spending in the canarian economy? The legal occupancy figure may be holding up but they are not showing to have absorbed the lost private rented customers. And next summer will be much worse. The 30 hotels worth of private renters were always too important to the canarian economy to consider closing down, a rational balanced anylisis would have demanded that they be legalised , not attacked. The canarian government needs to stop planning on visions and get some expert economic advice to sort a few things out.

  19. Author

    For “vision” read “tourism model”. This is their professional plan. And more hotels will be built. Under the new law coming online in December there will be a two-year rush of 5* hotel applications. You can expect to hear more of Guía de Isora, Garachico, and so on.

    When I used to sell property, I used to drive people up the Guía de Isora road. Then we’d turn around and come back downhill through Los Menores. At one point on that road you can see the whole of “holiday Tenerife”. It’s tiny. And your “private renters” don’t spend anything like you seem to imagine in the local legal economy.

  20. I just worked it out that during our last villa holiday visit to Lanzarote 2 of us spent 110 euros per day directly into the local legal economy. Let’s call it 107 if you discount what we spent entertaining other people. That includes a hire car, self catering food and drink, bars, restaurants, taxis and tourist attractions. So I don’t think Andrew’s 800 euros per week is too far off the mark.

    Regarding, from other threads, which illegal lets are being targeted, I agree that statistically it will be the Brits and the Irish who come out on top even if this is not deliberate. But I’ve seen the reports of the latest press conference where is was commented that most of the transactions for the illegal lets were abroad so one could be forgiven for thinking that this is at the back of the minds of those imposing the fines.

    But while the transactions might be abroad the money is flowing straight into the Canaries…………

    Taken from our villa rentals, using a mixture of real figures and realistic estimates for the whole of 2012, the total rental income will be about 18,700 euros, 100% of which comes from outside Spain.

    Every cent of this, and indeed more this year, has been transferred to Spain and then to Spanish organisations: tax, council charges, electricity, water, telephone company, insurance, legal property management and cleaning and suppliers of goods and materials.

    And then using the approximate visitor spend of 800 euros per week, there is another 21,000 euros being spent in the year.

    So money is coming into the local economy from outside of Spain and not out of it, and, with a exclusive 5* hotel tourism model I can’t honestly say any of that transferring from villa to hotel. The best that the Government could be hope for would be that the villa became a permanent residence with the council and utility income, at residential rates, moving around the economy.

  21. Author

    “transferred to Spain and then to Spanish organisations” … yes, but not necessarily the Canaries. What percentage would you say went directly into Canarian coffers?

  22. I really must agree with Andrew and InterestedParty on this one Janet. There is a real flaw in the Tourism Plan if they think that self-catering apartment renters don’t contribute hugely to the local economy. Most of these types of complexes (like ours) have kitchenette type facilities, fine for the odd snack, but you don’t want to be cooking a full meal on there every night. Many of the complexes don’t have onsite restaurants. The result? People go out to eat. Maybe they have breakfast in, but then the rest of the day they are eating and drinking out. They are also spending in the local supermarket and shops, using a taxi transfer, perhaps hiring a car ‘cos there are no organised trips and exploring the island.

    I would say that 800 euros is a very conservative figure, based on what we ourselves spend and what I know other people spend. Probably more like 500 euros per person per week. Of course some people will stay in and eat beans on toast, but that’s not much of a holiday is it. People have saved up all year, they want to have a good time.

    It’s a pity they didn’t bother to do any research into the spending habits of all these ‘illegals’ before going down this route. It would surely have demonstrated that their average spend directly into the local economy is at least equal to if not more than your average 5 star hotel guest.

    A better policy in terms of financial return for tourism is surely to have both?

  23. Author

    I agree. But that’s just a part of their equations, it seems, and they’ve been promoting the idea quite strongly that the “better quality tourists” spend considerably more than “traditional” holidaymakers. They also clearly have the idea, though it’s not spoken loudly, that the more “lower quality tourists” we have, the more they have to spend on infrastructure … which betrays the fact that they’re looking to save money on infrastructure for the islands generally, apart from any touristic considerations.

    Please don’t think that by playing devil’s advocate and presenting the Government’s ideas that I actually agree with them and have some sort of agenda. I simply think that their policy can only be fought, if that’s what people want to do, if they understand what it is they’re fighting.

  24. “transferred to Spain and then to Spanish organisations” … yes, but not necessarily the Canaries. What percentage would you say went directly into Canarian coffers?

    8.34% Endesa
    2.70% Inalsa (Lanzarote water)
    4.00% Telefonica/Movistar
    1.87% Canarian Insurance broker/Spanish insurance company
    2.84% Ayuntamiento
    64.78% Lanzarote base management company + Lanzarote shops
    15.47% Spanish tax

  25. Author

    Thanks IP. So as far as the Canarian Government is concerned, little really gets into its own hands. This is the problem when arguing the economic angle.

  26. “Better quality tourists”……and just how many of them are there in comparison to “traditional” holidaymakers??? Do you ever venture down to the Las Americas area Janet? Apart from the odd 5 star hotel the majority are probably 3 star with ordinary holidaymakers – i.e. the bread and butter of the tourism market!

    I’ve just returned from a week in Gran Canaria and spent around 400 euros with my friend spending nearer to 600 & we stayed on a 2 star complex where I imagine everyone else spent pretty much the same. I’m pretty sure us “traditional” holidaymakers as a whole spend more than the types that Tenerife is trying to attract! What a joke.

  27. I can understand their thinking if you apply it to the lowest common denominator of tourist and I don’t want to offend anyone here, but there is a world of difference between the type of people booking S/C to stay in Playa de las Americas in Tenerife to say Corralejo in Fuerteventura.

    People choose to come to Fuerte precisely because it is low key and quiet, the nightlife is nearly non-existent. There are plenty of beaches and restaurants and a very relaxed atmosphere. Yes, we still have our British pubs and breakfasts, but we also have tons of Canarian and international cuisine, not to mention a Cheese Museum!! Many S/C British tourists try a bit of everything. That is what they come for. Not all-night drinking and lying unconscious round the pool all day.

    Undoubtedly we will have the odd A&E admission due to drinking too much and yes, this places a strain on the local infrastructure, but it is much more of an isolated occurrence. Typically tourists on our complex are middle aged or elderly couples or young families with small children. They are just having a nice, peaceful holiday for a reasonably cheap price in terms of the accommodation. For them the issue of ‘quality’ in terms of touristic offering is not so important, as long as it’s a good, clean, quiet complex in a central location. They are not expecting all the tourist add-ons, they could not afford, or want to stay in a 5 star hotel. But they are still making a significant contribution to the local economy.

    Unfortunately by lumping all these S/C tourists together and not recognising the startling variations in behaviour, lifestyle and spending power, they are really missing the whole point of why many people choose to visit the Canaries in the first place. Never mind, they will just choose to go somewhere else instead and no amount of 5 star hotels will make up for it.

  28. Author

    Craig, I put the words in quote marks for a reason. I was quoting the Government’s own words, not my own ideas.

  29. Totally agree Petra. Time the canarian government realised that they don’t have the monopoly on holidays abroad & there a so many other destinations to visit that are equally as nice or nicer. Playa Del Ingles for example in Gran Canaria is one ugly resort that has not changed much in 20 years, however, people visit every year. I myself have been 3 times in the past 12 months but I go because it’s extremely gay friendly and you can guarantee you will have a good time. This snobby approach to tourism will bite them hard on the backside and when it does there will be little sympathy especially from all the bars & restaurants who rely on us “lower class” tourists to keep them going. Time they woke up and realised just who it is that does the spending!

  30. Fair enough Janet but their vision is so unattainable! I’m just glad I don’t live in Tenerife and feel sorry for anyone who does, especially those running a business. The UK may not be the best but at least I know I can run a successful business here without a government trying to wreck it with their ludicrous vision!

  31. So as far as the Canarian Government is concerned, little really gets into its own hands. This is the problem when arguing the economic angle.

    Surely, that must be the same no matter what type of accommodation?

  32. Author

    yes, other than the big hoteliers themselves are mainly influential Canarians … which is why the economic argument does work

  33. So, what do you think the Government would think of my figures?

  34. So, only ‘influential canarians’ and the government will benefit from these laws? What about ordinary residents and business owners? Do their needs count for nothing? How long will these ordinary people put up with the rich destroying their local economy for their own ends I wonder?

  35. Author

    petra ….. I fear they mightn’t actually care … they would say that they see “the bigger picture” …

    IP, I think they’d say your figures were irrelevant, and that the problem with the Canarian economy is Madrid’s “criminal” regional budget. They’d continue that without major budgetary changes, the only thing the Canaries can do for the region itself is to get the best out of its tourism … and that involves going upmarket, making sure the touristic offer is completely legal, and that everyone plays on the same level field according to the same rules, making sure that whatever money comes into the area does so legally and promotes legal jobs (this is a major argument of theirs, that much of the money brought by “lower end tourists” goes into the black economy) …

    The bottom line, I’m afraid, is that they are resolved on this course of action. They show no indication whatsoever of turning away from it, and indeed are about to pass the new law which enshrines the policy, and the vision behind it, into legislation. This is the situation. As I said on the radio yesterday, I fear that the only thing that those affected can do is appeal and hope to get any fines reduced to the minimum. I don’t see any other solution.

  36. As I have said before R.I.P. Canaries!

  37. I’m sure you are right Janet. But with the renovation funding removed from the 2013 budgets, this policy has effectively been hobbled by Madrid before it has even started. There is no incentive to modernise. It’s hardly worth even buying any more brown envelopes.

    So, what are they going to do, close everyone down at once? They have planned this crackdown, thinking they had money to invest in improvements and they could force those improvements through, enticing outside investments from the likes of the Russians along the way. If necessary repossessing touristic apartments off the British and Irish if they did not have the money to pay for expensive improvements to regain or keep their licences. That’s a great way to pay us all back for all the money we have invested in these islands over the years.

    In times of austerity, it is not a good idea to bite the hand that feeds you.

  38. and that everyone plays on the same level field according to the same rules

    Hotels near the coast.
    Villas restricted to more than 500m from the coast.

    We will see what the legislation brings but for now it appears that they will do what they want to do no matter how good the argument against it.

    By the way, all of the 18,700 euros spent, above, goes to legal companies employing legally. Of course that can’t 100% be said of the 800 euro per week visitor spend because I’m sure some, but by no means all, of the bars will be employing staff illegally.

  39. The whole island reeks of corruption! Many of the people working there are doing so illegally, bars serve sub-standard drinks, restaurants serve poor meals & as brilliant as attractions like Siam Park are they are not cheap especially for families….yet the tourists still come back! So wake up stupid government and appreciate what you’ve got because when it’s gone you will be left with a deserted island & many broken people!

  40. Just announced on BBC News that around 1 in 5 of Spain’s unemployed are forced to work illegally on the black market. Apparently the black economy is booming again as a result. So, I suspect that this draft legislation will not have the desired effect of reducing the black market, it will just mess it about a bit. And then it will boom again.

  41. You will never stop illegal things happening in any country and Tenerife is full of it. Why else do the coloured african guys do a runner whenever they spot a police car or the touts who have oustayed their welcome suddenly stop trying to drag people into bars when they see the police? Seen it all happen too many times. This is the real Tenerife Janet! It will never be 5 star and doesn’t deserve to be. It’s not classy enough, doesn’t have the attractions to get people with money there and will always be “cheap fun in the sun”. So god help you when the tourists aren’t there because they are the only things keeping the place going!

  42. Author

    The Government would say, and with some justification perhaps, that this is precisely why they need to change and go upmarket. I disagree with them on certain things, and dislike intensely their categorization of “better” and “lower quality” tourists, but no-one could deny they needed to do something. For those of us who live here, we can only hope their plan works … even if we don’t necessarily think that it will.

  43. its far more seriuos a situation than just hope that the government have got it right. The levels of unemployment now seen in the canaries are getting close to levels that the IMF know will lead to civil inrest and a major breakdown in society. Things can not go on like this. the islands could never manage without the private rented apartment income, there is no room for hope and vision here. The government needs to take some independant economic advice and see what some ecomomic specialists think of the situation. at some point questions are going to be asked, particulary as unemployment is rising, yet the govt is claiming oficial tourism is booming. The whole truth will have to come out.

  44. Author

    Andrew if you think that the problems in the Canaries are just a matter of illegally rented apartments in the islands, when it’s actually a matter of slaughtered regional funding, and a national, not regional, economic disaster, then I’m afraid it’s you who need to take some independent economic advice … of which the Government has plenty, by the way. It’s a Government …..

  45. I agree that Tenerife needs to go upmarket and we ourselves have noticed in the 4 years we have had property there that certain areas have been improved a lot. However, it will never shed the reputation it has built up over the years and therefore it won’t become somewhere like Dubai, Sitges & Marbella (to name a few) where the people with REAL money go. I’m not saying these places don’t have “lower” class tourists but you wouldn’t get accommodation as cheaply there as you will always do in Tenerife. And I don’t think Andrew does think that all the problems in the Canaries are down to the illegal renting situation either. We own just one studio apartment which we used to rent out easily at least 40 weeks per year every year. Multiply that by the thousands of other apartments that probably did similar and where the hell are you going to replace all the money those tourists spent during their holidays? Tenerife minus tourists = An island in an even bigger mess that it is now! I would not want to spend my retirement years somewhere that is a complete disaster zone.

  46. I cannot see anything wrong with an aspiration to achieve a tourism market that achieves a 5 star market. However, this has to be a long term aim and it has to be accepted that there is and will always be, a market ‘at the lower end’ as the Government call it. There can be no doubt that the tourismo and government have been complicit in the growth of an illegal rental situation, by ignoring their own legislation through the late nighties and up to 2010 – apart from the few occasions when owners were fined. This is turn allowed Estate Agents to sell property whilst promoting private rental as a way of paying the mortgage (and this is still going on in some cases).
    However, the situation that Tenerife finds itself in economically is only a mirror image of what is happening in most countries throughout Europe and cannot be attributed to any illegal rental situation. I do believe that what is relevant is the fact that so many properties are now saturating the sales market because people cannot rent them out and this does not help any long term recovery.
    Many Governments are thrashing about to try to find solutions to this ongoing global debt mountain and austerity seems to be the only answer they are coming up with – this means cuts in funding in all areas which then means they have to find revenue from anywhere and everywhere. Therefore fines for any illegal activity (as they see it) are a good way to boost their coffers and this extends from minor traffic offences to ‘illegal renting.’

  47. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to improve anywhere…..but Tenerife isn’t and will never be a 5 star holiday destination. Take the rose tinted glasses off and see it for what most visitors see it as. And yes estate agents are responsible for a lot of the mess as everytime we go over they have dozens and dozens of cheap apartments for sale (hardly upmarket!) with the promise of “excellent rental potential”. Says it all really. At least the UK isn’t in the same degree of disarray as Tenerife and still has plenty of people with money to spend and keep businesses going without solely relying on tourism!

  48. You’re going to be so popular Marnie amongst apartment owners with your final comment! Why don’t you offer your services to the Government and help them track down all these OH SO BAD people who keep an island on its backside going!

  49. Author

    Marnie, yes, I’ve always said it was partly a matter of raising revenue. I don’t know what you mean by “thousands of OTHER illegal rental owners”: they’re pursuing, or planning to pursue, everyone operating illegally in due course. They have nigh on 8,000 investigations on the go, with just short of 5,000 fines already imposed. Not too bad for a year and a half’s work.

    I don’t know how many have already paid up, but some have – I’ve seen the confirmation myself – and of course they will be placing a charge on any property where the fine is confirmed BEFORE the Court cases are initiated (other than those clients of José Escobedo who might have received an agreement to defer this – we still don’t know if they’ll agree to this).

  50. Whichever side of the discussion you are on, it is always better to use informed or factual opinions rather than vitriol fuelled by personal views!
    ‘Part of raising revenue’ is a fact and they have already said that they will be fining everyone they can, so that is a fact – the law not being enforced for fifteen years is also a fact.
    There are so many differing opinions in this debate that have been aired many times over the past 18 months that we have to accept that some of us will have to agree to disagree on what is fair and reasonable in the whole matter. What we should do is respect each others views and the right to hold them.

  51. Isn’t there a danger that they will destroy the traditional model of tourism in Tenerife before they have established the new one? Financial incentives for modernisation of obsolete facilities could have been offered with the threat of a crackdown on illegal letting in the future, for those that could not or would not comply. Carrot, carrot, threat of stick, followed by stick would surely have been more effective than stick, stick, promise of carrot, oh wait no, somebody’s eaten it!

  52. Hope you’re happy Marnie when Tenerife is a ghost town. Haven’t got time to get involved in discussions with someone like you. I’d just love to see how opinionated you would be in a room full of apartment owners who are facing fines. You’d never get out in one piece!

  53. Author

    Give them time, Marnie. They’re not in a hurry, and raising revenue is only part of the plan. Another part is to frighten people into stopping of their own accord to save bureaucracy costs. That part of the plan seems to be working!

  54. So tell me Janet if people are fined, don’t have the money to pay the fine and have a charge placed on their property and then as we have been told these apartments can be sold without needing the owners consent….what then happens with all the empty apartments that will flood an already saturated market? Who on earth do they think will buy them? It’ll serve them right if they end up with endless empty apartments inhabited by homeless people, squatters, etc! Oh & will then these ex pats who live on such complexes who have been willing this action on be happy with their surroundings? Lets hope so! See how your island copes then.

  55. Author

    Agreed. The point is that if they have charges on the properties, I understand they can borrow against those charges …

  56. I am really warming to this level playing field idea of Turismo. Finally those unfair budget subsidies for tourism in the Canaries have been removed by Madrid and other world tourist destinations, popular with British Tourists, will no longer have to face such unfair competition from islands with millions to invest in their tourist infrastructure. Now that no-one has any money to invest in anything, we are truly ‘all in this together’ and free market economics will dictate who goes where on their holidays.

  57. I predict this law will be a disaster for the canary islands. I think there are a lot of people like myself who dislike staying in hotels and want to rent a villa for a couple of weeks. Local businesses will find their trade badly affected in 2013 when people rent villas elsewhere.

  58. Author

    You may well find that you’ll be able to rent a villa, Jim. The new law contains changes in terms of villas … we don’t know quite what they are at the moment, but we’ll know soon.

  59. We have been reporting several apartments that are being let out on our complex, to our community and Administrators for the past 5 years, yet nothing has been done. All is said is that we will deal with this matter and send letters to the Owners in question, this does nothing as one lives in Santa Cruz and the other lives on mainland spain and they contact both owners at their address’s to the complex we live in. I have even got to the stage where I am warning the people that rent and 18months ago, I took to ringing one of the owners cleaners every time we had a bad night with the holiday makers, I have recently threatened again to denounce both owners, but I feel I am falling on deaf ears. Is the Government going to put a stop to all this Illegal Renting. I Sincerely hope so. As the situation is horrific every year.
    All we have asked for is that they RESPECT the people on the complex and their rights that live here all year round, Bit all we get if we complain is abuse from the people renting.

  60. So where do you stand if you own on a complex that is registered with the tourist board but doesn’t have a sole letting agent on the complex and never has yet companies like airtours used to use it? And part of it was also owned by timeshare.

    I understand that there are apartments out there that may not be up to standard but as a private owner who uses their apartment themselves it is kept upto a very good standard. Unfortunately this clamp down is pushing people into putting their apartments up for sale and as has been mentioned flooding the markets. I have been coming to tenerife now for the last 22 years and it is getting quieter and quieter and the consequence of this are businesses closing down not good for the tenerife economy.

    It saddens me that there are people out there willing people out of their apartments!!! People bought apartments as a holiday home and an investment but need the income from letting to pay the bills and mortgages, mortgages not getting paid means many repossessions which equally can lead to places becoming derelict!!

  61. Author

    Elsie, it sounds like what people call “dormant touristic”. This is going to be addressed in the new law coming out in a few weeks. We’ll know more when we see the detail.

    Kas, I’m sure you know very well that the government is indeed “putting an end to all this illegal renting”! Have a look HERE, though, for people who have had the same experience, and who have asked for details of how to take it further and report it to the Government direct.

  62. Our complex is an ex-Airtours complex, built in 1990, sold off to individual owners. We lost our tourist licence in 2004, but are still registered as touristic with the Ayuntamiento. We pay taxes as residential, 70 percent of the complex is residential. There is no sole agent, but some people do holiday lets (and pay residential letting taxes locally), illegally as it turns out. We have tried to go legally residential, but been told we are not allowed. We have tried to go touristic, but we have been told that we do not meet the relevant tourist standards of infrastructure (ie wiring, centralised alarm system) or facilities such as parking, 24hr reception etc. The investment required to bring the complex and individual apartments up to tourist standards would run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. And we would be wholly unable to provide the parking, restaurant etc. Also, if we went legally touristic, people would not be able to live there, so that would be a disaster. Invest tens of thousands of pounds each in the complex and then you’re not allowed to live in your own apartment!

  63. Eastern European gangs……another nail in the coffin!!! driving more visitors away. Lets hope the police are well organised, we see this a lot all year round.

  64. Janet, I have a PDF of Ley de Renovation bo319, which was put onto the Canarian Parliament website yesterday. It seems to be the draft of the new laws, currently under discussion. I have cut and pasted it into Word and Google translated it, but it is extremely wordy and post-translation doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Have you seen this?

  65. Author

    Hi Petra, yes, that’s it, that’s what was submitted to Parliament on the 23rd, and entered into the parliamentary boletín yesterday. I just haven’t had a chance …

    It’s HERE for anyone who wants to have a head start.

  66. I think I may just wait for you Janet. Every time I read it, I come up with a different meaning for our specific circumstances. I am not sure if we are being compelled to invest to re-open as a tourist complex, I am not sure if we are even classed as a tourist complex since we lost the tourist licence in 2004. Or it could just be that we have the option to re-open as a tourist complex if we meet the necessary criteria and that they may consider alternative uses such as residential if the buildings were built before 1995 (which it was).

  67. Author

    Do bear in mind that this is the law that is now going through Parliament. Whatever is here is the result of the consultation process but it could be amended in Parliament itself.

  68. Yes, apparently Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura are objecting to various aspects of it (Fuerte is a bisosphere island with it’s own eco-tourism model, the one with the bird watchers and the astronomers). The environmentalists aren’t happy that it seems to give a green light to building more 5 star hotels on the coast and developing tourism in rural areas. The concept of ‘quality’ is also being challenged in that a good 3 star hotel could actually provide a higher quality offer in the eyes of a holiday maker than some 5 star hotels.

  69. Craig I dont understand how you say “illegal renters keep the island going” I bought a resedencial property in Tenerife and as it states it should be for resedencial purposes, I knew the law when I bought so I abide by the law. You cannot tell me their is no accomadation for holiday lets. Why should owners on a community pay fees to keep their community looking good for holiday makers using apartments illegally to enjoy. I have found holiday lets do not abide by community rules;drinking around the pool , leaving glasses, jumping in the pool with drinks etc they do this because they are on holiday and dont care that it is someones home they are here for a week or two then gone leaving responsible owners at times to repair the damage left by them.Resedencial means resedencial ( no short term lets)so why the conflict

  70. Not all illegal lets are on residential complexes John. Some are on dormant-touristic, where many of the apartments have been sold off as individual units and become residential due to the closure of the original hotel. For many years these complexes have been in a legal no-man’s land – neither legally touristic or allowed to become legally residential. Everyone on our complex is theoretically breaking the law.

  71. I totally agree with John Breheny. We also live on a so-called residential site (Adeje Paradise) in Playa Paraiso. All our security problems stem from Spanish, British and other tourists who don’t abide by our community rules.
    Many appartments have been bought up by letting firms and Tourismo is on to all of us now. We (the community) have even been threatened legal action by the lawyer of these letting firms if they cannot continue to let flats out to tourists short-term.

  72. Well all I can say John is that you are not on a very desirable complex and the owners who rent out must let any old riff-raff stay. Tough, unlucky, etc. Where we are holidaymakers – yes those awful people who rent from owners operating illegally (should be shot at least!!!) and residents (of which there are numerous!) get on fine! We have never seen in 4 years any bad behaviour either around the pool area or on the complex in general. Our immediate neighbour is a resident and he has never had cause to complain once about anyone staying in our apartment. We only allow people who we know to stay and most of them are older people who stay for at least 6 week periods over the winter season. You sound like a completely miserable person who can’t abide anyone making the slightest noise! Why on earth buy on an island like Tenerife? Just go to a desert island and be happy in your own company. Perhaps you should have thought twice before buying on a complex!

  73. Hello Janet

    I have had a look at the translated version of the new proposed tourist laws and I am also a bit confused by what they actually mean. I own an apartment within a tourist complex, but I do not rent it out. We do have some problems with illegal & legal rentals. My main concern is if this law comes into force will I be able to continue living in my apartment or will I be forced to rent it out?

  74. The Popular Party have threatened to table an amendment to the entire Renewal and Modernization Act if the Government do not make changes that alter the course of the current statute, still in the draft stage. The PP argues, among other things, to allow the construction of a four star hotels and considers an ongoing tourist moratorium to be detrimental to the sector and the economy of the Islands.

    The PP proposes to relax the law to allow tourism models to be adapted for each island. The PP also believes that the legislation increasing the requirement in the non-hotel sector to have 50 percent of units participating in tourist activity to 75 percent makes it even more difficult for owners to comply.

    The PP deputy shares many of the complaints and criticisms of tourism businesses against the text proposed by the regional government and believes it is “absolutely interventionist”. “The philosophy driving the PP is that you should not restrict the freedom of enterprise and professional in both public and private activities,” says Jorge Blanco.

    Also the PP does not agree that no tourist villas can be built within 500 meters of the coast.

    “This is not our model of tourism development, so it is not going to solve the flexibility demanded by employers, the Government acknowledges, but this text does is intervene more and put more obstacles,” says parliamentarian.

  75. Author

    Ken, I’ve not had a chance to look at it in detail yet … will be posting later on this.

    Petra, you’d expect this from the governmental opposition. I’m not sure the PP has enough parliamentary voting power to overturn the bill.

  76. I hope they are able to influence it a little to move away from the one size fits all 5 star model and give the individual islands more flexibility in determining their own tourism model. I am not sure all our anticipated birdwatchers and astronomers would want to stay 5 star and if they rented a villa more than 500 metres from the coast, it’s not ideal for twitching or telescopes!

  77. Graig’s comments re John Breheny’s remarks are very hurtful. Firstly, owners that use these so called well organized web hoilday lettings sites do so because it is the easy option where everything is done for them for a small fee. In most cases they DO NOT KNOW who will be staying in there apartment unless he or she meets and greets the renter/s who probably has another apartment on the complex where they live themselves and are then able to monitor the behaviour of there clients they have let too. If as I suspect in most cases they do not, then how the hell can Graig say that John does not live on a very desirable complex and who let any old riff raff stay is a load of rubbish. I have an apartment on a very desirable RESIDENTIAL complex where unfortunately and because it is such a lovely complex, a holiday letting company has also bought several apartments to rent out and do so without any consideration for the residents. They bought these apartments knowing full well it is a RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX and therefore they are blatently breaking the touristic regulations. They rent to whoever pays the money and don’t give a damn!

    Yes there are some holiday makers who do respect the rules of the complex but there are many others who not and as I have said before in previous correspondence, only want to spend 24/7 having a ‘Good Time’ without a thought about anyone else. I hope you never have to experience the behaviour that John has had to endure. Choose your words more carefully next time Graig because it could be you next.

  78. Your comment Terry “where everything is done for them”……what the hell are you on about? We arrange our own cleaner, maintenance of our apartment, handle bookings and give anyone who stays full details of the complex, local area and how we expect them to behave whilst in our property! How is that having everything done for us? Get in the real world for gods sake. We bought on a complex that is part residential, part timeshare and the rest are privately owned by individuals and rented out to holidaymakers. It is a very chilled complex, no rowdy behaviour and people come back year after year! We weren’t stupid enough to have been duped into buying somewhere that is “residential only”….yeah right. More fool you for doing so and not thinking that people wouldn’t snap up cheap apartments and rent them out. We are NOT some unfeeling holiday let company who rent out to anyone and everyone! We don’t have a mortgage as we made money selling property in the UK so we don’t need to cover any outgoings! Anyone who stays in our place we know personally from here in the UK and many are retired people so do not class us in the same league as the company on your complex who let apartments out to total strangers!

    And I won’t choose my words more carefully because I have told the truth!

  79. Having read the proposed legislation document several times I am still confused! When I first read it, it appeared that owners on touristic complexes would virtually have to give up their apartment to the management company and (a) not be able to have residential use (b) only be able to stay in it for a maximum of three months. This really sets alarm bells ringing as in our complex we have about 200 hotel apartments and 200 privately owned of which many owners live in and could potentially be on the street!
    However on another reading I saw mention of where complexes have a licence for mixed touristic and residential use and then wondered if the legislation refers to the fact that such complexes cannot ‘long term’ let therefore not allowing anyone other than the owner to live in them.
    I also cannot work out if there are any changes to the sole agency. In our complex the agent will only take on the apartment if it is made to look exactly like the hotel ones, the return is derisory and you can only use your own apartment when they say and for a maximum of 6 weeks per year.
    The more times I read it the more it seems to change!!!!

  80. Yes, the more I read it, the more it seems to be a tool to repossess tourist complexes (many of whom have turned wholly or partly residential) whose facilities cannot be suitably upgraded to meet the new quality tourism standards. If the owners will not or cannot carry out the work, the law enables the state to seize the property and find an investor to either carry out the renovations themselves, or demolish and rebuild. The law treats owners as micro-capitalists, rather than people living in their own home. I hope I have got this wrong, but I am really starting to worry.

  81. Haven’t read the document but how on earth can they get away with that? It just wouldn’t happen in the UK, it wouldn’t be allowed so why is some tiny holiday island threatening to be so unfair to apartment owners. The whole situation is just becoming a farce.

  82. Hello Philip & Petra

    I had on previous occasions also expressed similar concerns about the proposed new tourist laws. Like you I am also a bit confused by what the end result may mean. I take the view that illegal rentals pale into insignificance when this new law may result in owners within a tourist complex, being forced to rent them out. Perhaps I would have been wiser to have purchased within a residential complex and only had to worry about some illegal rentals.

  83. It will be interesting to hear Janets take on all this as I also note that this administrative law is about to change the rules on ‘horizontal property’ and therefore the civil law. I can feel a visit to the lawyer coming on again!!!

  84. In reply to Graig, bully for you! I’m glad to hear you are such a helpful owner to your guests, but I have myself witnessed so many who are not. A couple of questions I would like to ask Graig if I may be so bold. Firstly, do you own more than one property on the complex that you say ‘is very chilled’ and you are very pleased with letting your property. Or as it would seem from your comments, you live in the UK and use your little place in the sun when you do not rent it out? If you do live in the UK, how are you able to monitor your guests behaviour etc.? Are you Big Brother? It you are running a business, and there is nothing wrong with doing this, so long as you are paying your taxes whether in the Canaries or in England, then I am glad you keep such a tight ship. On the other hand, if you live live in another apartment on your complex, yes that is an ideal situation, and I can understand how it works for you. You can instruct your guests as to how they must behave, etc. etc.. I do notice however that you recognise that there are, as you put it, ‘some unfeeling holiday let companies’ as I have stated myself, and that is the point I trying to make. fORGIVE ME FOR BELIEVING YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE. I also note that most of your customers are as you say of a certain age and have become your friends. I have no problem with this as obviously you can impart your wisdom to your guests as to the wonderful sites that the island has to offer. People of a certain age enjoy more cultural pleasures than drinking all night long

    One other question I would like to ask Graig. Do you employ the local population to clean your apartment etc., or do you clean it yourself? With the state of the economy it could help the unfortunate Canarians if you did use them.

    Lastly, I would like to say you sound as though you have had a bad experience with people who have bought on Residential complexes who wish it to remain Residential? I take unbridge at being told that I am stupid to think buying an apartment on a Residential complex is wrong. I bought knowing full well that to rent short term on a residential property is illegal in the Canaries and anyone that does should be and will be prosecuted. However, I do feel sorry for those owners who were never told their complex was residential when they bought. As we know there are some estate agents don’t give a damn.

    Finally, if you wish to put forward your opinions regarding short term holiday lettings on Residential complexes, do so to the Canarian Goverment. I’m sure they will listen to your rhetoric.

  85. Author

    Hi Phillip, I’ve not had a chance to look at it in detail yet, and it’s not something that can be rushed! What’s taken the pressure off somewhat is that this is the law that’s going through Parliament, but there may yet be amendments so it’s perhaps not the absolutely final version. I will get around to it, but have spent most of today mopping, and have one or two other things ongoing right now too that I’m helping with. Please bear with me.

  86. Terry, it’s Craig with a “C” not a “G”. We only own one property on our complex, we live in the UK and use our place around 6 times per year. Did you not read the comments I made regarding who we let stay in our property? These include my mother, my brother and his wife and the rest are made up of just 3 married couples who are all either at or near retirement age and collectively use our place for 18 weeks per year! I hardly think I need to “monitor” their behaviour for gods sake! We know each couple very well and see them regularly in the UK!

    We run a business over here in the UK and pay our taxes on time. The apartment is just something we decided to buy for ourselves but it also gives friends and family a lot of pleasure and we are happy for them to use it. It’s not our main source of income and plays just a small part in our everyday life. Anyone who stays in our place does their own cleaning as they are there for longer periods of time and do not want the hassle of having to wait for a cleaner to come each week. We do not have random strangers in and out each week like some apartment owners do. As I said previously we don’t have a mortgage to cover so we don’t need to do this.

    There is still a lot of confusion with many people as to what licence their complex holds but we would never have bought on a complex that was residential. If we ever were to live in Tenerife (which given the state the island will be in soon) then we wouldn’t even consider living on a complex.

    Your last comment is just sarcastic so I’ll ignore it. I do hope I have answered all your questions Terry with a “T”!

  87. Thanks Janet.

  88. Craig your arrogance and ignorance comes through loud and clear in your comments. As it happens we are in one of the most desirable communitys on the South of the island, our fees reflect this. If you want to make an extra income why not go out and earn it. You would make a good time share salesman totally ignorant and obnoxious.Do you pay any tax on your rental income ? Canarians made the law, not know it all Brits who are in it to make money like yourself who pretend to be offering a service and helping the economy, if it is Canarian law then why do foreigners not abide by it.I notice you avoided the important questions as to paying tax and are the people who are giving money to you covered by the community insurance if they have a accident. We employ Canarians legally Petra thank you for your useful information.

  89. Grow up John. Your opinion of me counts for nothing. We make our money running a successful business in the UK. The apartment is a holiday home NOT a source of income and we allow friends & family to use it for a very reasonable amount and YES we pay tax – not that its any of your business! If you honestly think that what we take from rentals can be regarded as “making money” then all I can say is you are very sad. Its pin money in comparison to the profit we make on our UK business (again which we pay all our taxes on time from) and what we have made on buying and selling property in the UK…..which is how we have come to own our apartment outright in the first place! There is no crime in making money you know! It’s what keeps the economy going. Go back to your “desirable community” and leave people to make a decent living in the real world! Sad.

  90. Author

    Please let’s leave it at this now. There have always been very clearly at least two distinct sides to this whole issue, and venting frustration is natural … but ultimately pointless. In any case, I don’t want this blog to become a place where people expect hostility, so I’d appreciate if we could leave it at that.

    I am gradually working my way through the new law in the bits of clear time that I have. When I have something to contribute, I’ll post it as a new item.

  91. Hello Janet

    Many thanks for addressing the hostility issue and I look forward to hearing your comments on the new proposed tourist laws.

  92. No problem Janet. It is pointless but people are only human and the point I wanted to make clear is that we don’t make money hand over fist on 1 solitary apartment, we only allow genuine family/friends to stay (of which most are retired) and we pay our taxes when due. I sympathise with anyone living on a residential complex where rowdy tourists are allowed on but that’s not the case with where we are and we shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush.

  93. Okay Janet. Is it true that on a resedencial community it is permitted to let friends and family use the apartments. That is our ruling and this has proved no problems for us. I think it may be within the horizontal law but I am unsure.

  94. Janet, as you are working your way through the legislation, can you give some thought to this particular situation to see if I am understanding things correctly for our dormant touristic:

    It seems that the new law compels people to use their property according to the licence they obtained when it was built. We were originally built as a tourist complex, so under the new law we could only operate as touristic under the limits for new licences which require that at least 75 percent of the owners must be signed up to the sole agency.

    We have 18 months from the enactment of the legislation to apply to renew our tourist licence.

    If, after this 18 month period, we have not applied to renew our licence and at least 25 percent of units are not actively being offered for touristic exploitation (it also mentions a 50 percent here, so I am confused) then we will be deemed to be in breach of the new law and subject to ‘regime replacement’ and ultimately expropriation.

    But to regain our licence we must meet the current tourist standards which we definitely do not and the minimum plot size per bed (or person) cannot be less than 35 square metres (it is normally 50 to 60 sq metres, so they are trying to give flexibility here to older properties). So each unit would need to be at least 70 square metres in size for two people.
    Each of our apartments is only 56 square metres in size, which is not enough for two people to stay in them.

    I am therefore concluding that the only way we could become legally touristic is to volunteer to knock down our own complex and rebuild it. And if we don’t do this, our complex will be seized and sold to a developer.

    The only ray of light I can see at the moment is that the plot size for our complex is quite small and it is surrounded by other buildings. It is not big enough to build a 5 or even a decent 4 star hotel. You could probably build a multi-storey 3 star hotel, but there would be real issues with the parking as part of the underground of the site is already taken up by an adjacent shopping centre.

    Therefore it may be possible under the new laws and the previous spatial provision laws to effectively swap our tourist land classification with another empty residential plot nearby. We are fortunate to be near empty areas of coastline where presumably only 5 star hotels can be built. So, this would give a developer the opportunity to build a decent size new 3 or 4 star hotel on a greenfield site, where normally this would not be allowed. A positive outcome for them and a positive outcome for us as we would be re-classified as residential and no-one would be evicted from their homes or left with an outstanding mortgage on a property that no longer exists.

  95. Author

    John, “friends and family” is not mentioned once in the existing law. What is prohibited is the offer of a residential property to the public, or the offer of a touristic property to the public other than through the onsite sole agent.

    An owner is permitted full private use of his property, which includes having personal guests, but not to make commercial use of it.

  96. Author

    Petra, yes, will think on that … as far as I can see that’s one section of the new law that I’m working on. Hope to post something (though not a translation yet) later today.

  97. Just trying to find out what classification our complex is in the first place is going to be a task in itself seeing as it’s a mixture of privately owned & timeshare properties! The site manager is completely clueless for a start and there is never even any mention in the minutes of the AGM about the whole illegal letting debarcle!

  98. It’s not so much about how it’s used now Craig, you need to find out what the licence for construction was in the first place. It can either be residential, touristic, residential touristic or mixed. If it’s purely residential or touristic then it must be used as that. If it’s residential touristic or mixed, then you are allowed to use it for both, but the new law seeks to govern how this can work in practice.

  99. I think it’s always had a timeshare section on it and speaking to other owners who have been there since the early days its always had holidaymakers on it as it’s had a lifeguard, licensed pool bar, 24 hour reception, etc for some time. My guess is its mixed. Who knows what will happen!

  100. Thank you Craig with a ‘C’ I must need new glasses. However, your last comment at 18:43 has made me think about my complex. It was eventually completed in 2008, and as you enter the complex through the security gate, it does lend itself to looking like an apart/hotel complex although the sign states it is Residential but just inside the main gate there is also a very nice office which is still used by the developer. We also have a security guard and the whole complex has CCTV. However, all the apartments sold so far are owned by individuals. However, there are a number of apartments that have been bought by companies, some of which have not paid their community fee and a further 25% approx. are still unsold and the developer is refusing to pay the community fee. So far he owes approx €100,000. There are other indicaters that could/may have originally been licenced as an apart/hotel, large pool bar, gymnasium, undergound laundry and car washing facility area, although apart from the pool bar which is only open for a few months a year and the community have arranged this, nothing else has been Kitted out and is not in operation. However we do not have a lifeguard. So this has made me think. As far as I am aware the plans are registered with the Adeje Authority. Maybe the developer originally built it as apart/hotel but this for whatever reason did not happen. I hope the latter is right.
    Finally Craig, I have never let, rented my apartment out to anyone. My family and friends can use it anytime at no charge. I’m a pensioner and have many friends but I would never ever ask them to pay for anything. My friends are my family and if I can share my bit of paradise with them that is reward enough. So Craig have some festive cheer, (where nearly there) and let an old man and his friends enjoy whats left of our lives. I may not be the first, but Happy Christmas to you and all, especially you Janet for keeping us all well informed. LOL, Terry

  101. Can I make a suggestion to save face by the government, to appease owners who have purchased to live in their apartments 365 days of the year and to owners who have purchased apartments to rent or for family and friends.

    1- No touristic rentals in any complex if it is a persons sole residence and is registered as a residential complex.

    2- Any complex that does not have a person living there as a resident can be given a touristic licence. (With in the parameters of being near to the coast line, not in the kind of area I think Janet lives in)

    3- The government to drop all the on going fines and charge all the people that they have fined and all those in the pipeline a yearly charge of 1500 euro to let their apartments providing they are of a superior standard (No unemployment of the Inspectors) and also saving the government the cost of protracted legal costs ( which it can not afford ).

    4- I for one can then let my apartment and spend the money I was going to spend this year having my bathrooms totally remodeled,re tiled and my floors completely replaced although my apartment is only 10 years old ( thus causing employment for the local construction industry ) and bringing much needed tourists to SPEND MONEY here

  102. If the property was built in 2008 it must be residential Terry, as no new tourist licences have been issued apart from for 5 star hotels.

  103. No new licences petra, but if one had been granted earlier I gather it could still be built … I am guessing that is how granadapark, a newish 3 star in PDLA, is able to operate.

  104. Terry I was probably a bit harsh in my comments. Blame it on the stress of living & running a business in the UK! No excuse though really so apologies if I offended you. We too have a number of owners on our complex who owe thousands in community fees (as detailed in the minutes of each annual AGM!) which is really annoying. One owner in particular who lives in the UK and owns about 6 properties, rents them out non stop in a very basic state and then bleats on that she has no money is particularly annoying! The only reason friends who use our place pay us anything is because they stay for approx 6 weeks at a time and insist on at least covering the community charge and any water or electricity used plus they are also so grateful to escape the UK winter! We did not buy to make money on renting out. We wanted a holiday home to escape to every couple of months and primarily that’s what our place is. I just don’t see what harm it does to allow people to stay in it or why the Government now want to slap such absurd fines on people they catch breaking a law that has lay dormant for so long. But then I will never understand a lot of laws that are imposed and why Government’s do the things they do! So enjoy your retirement as best you can and don’t let them grind you down!

  105. There is another side to the illegal rentals argument and that is from the poor unsuspecting tourist who thinks he has paid for a holiday rental property and find himself and his family the subject of abuse from disgruntled residents who object to him renting on their complex or next door to their villa. Families on holiday are noisy,they are having fun and don’t want to think about neighbours getting up for work etc.,I know that many long term renters and property owners also make difficult neighbours but they are easier to deal with than tourists who are only on site for a few days but who can make life hell during that time!!I have seen many holidays spoilt by neighbours shouting at children to “be quiet” or much,much worse.

  106. We found out that our complex was “Residencial” by visiting the Land Registry office (In Adeje on the top floor of the Town Hall) and obtaining a written doc to prove the fact. I can’t remember if we had to pay for this doc but speaking some Spanish can help a lot in this office!

  107. Author

    The Land Registry for Adeje is actually in the San Eugenio CC, but the designation should be in an escritura or, if not, in the statutes.

  108. Thanks for the feedback Janet it has proved helpful , look forward to reading your next blog.

  109. Many thanks to Janet, Dona, Quicksal, Petra, Doreen, and Craig for all your constructive comments. I have had it confirmed by another owner on my complex that the developer had originally intended the complex to be apart/hotel, however this was rejected by the Adeje Land Registry, so I feel much relieved. I have nothing against aprt/hotel complexes, if it wasn’t for them, (I have stayed in several), I would never have bought my little bit of paradise.
    Having said all that, I do have a question for anyone who can give me a constructive legitimate answer to this problem.
    If an owner/s short term letts on a complex who are aware it has been registered as a ‘Residential complex’ and who haven’t paid there community fee for well over a year, what action can be taken to get them off the complex? Some owners on the advice of the administrator have written to the Tourism Board and the owners who are short term letting have been notified of this. However, it would seem they have ignored it. Also, there are quite a number of others who are also renting short term, but at least they do pay their community fee. The administrator has told us they had a visit from the Tourism Board and after discussions with lawyers names of the offending owners were given. The problem is, all this takes time and allows the perpertrators to continue their illegal ways. Are there any quick fix actions that can be implimented to get monies owed to the community and to speed up things. If this happened in England, the bailiffs would be sent round but it seems there is no such organisation in the canaries that can do this. Why not? I hope someone out ther can find a legitimate solution other than the courts. I hope someone has the answer?

  110. Given the nature of this new legislation, I am surprised that there has not been an outcry from local canarians, or any discussion whatsoever as to the implications for residents on tourist complexes. On our complex we have a number of Canarian owner occupiers. Are the government really going to evict them and expropriate their property or force them to pay for improvements and hand over their keys to a sole agent? Won’t there be a public outcry?

  111. I’m sure many of us have the same issues with non-paying owners. We have been pursuing ours for a number of years through the courts system. It seems to go nowhere forever and ever and ever. The only time we have received payments is when the property has been sold to someone else, then we have got a proportion of the fees back, or when the banks have repossessed property. There is supposed to be a speedy process through the courts for non-payment of community fees – what a joke! We have managed through negotiation however, to get most of our owners paying something and gradually reducing their debts. However, we still have a hardcore group who pay nothing at all, often renting out their properties residentially. All of our illegal holiday letters pay their community fees on time, as do us holiday home owners. I can only hope that this swift and efficient legal process works in our favour when they try to implement some of the worst parts of this new legal tourism ‘tool’.

  112. Hi Terry
    On our community we imposed a 20% levy on non paid fees which was voted in at tha AGM, this has helped, ours is only a small community so our problems are not as big as other large communities , fortunately we now have no problems with fees, possibly 1 month or 2 goes unpaid. Communities should have some protection against non payers as it puts extra pressure on responsible owners.It is frustrating when non payers still have the use of all the facilities payed for and maintained by paying owners. I have heard going through the courts takes forever that is why we introduced the levy.

  113. Author

    Terry, there’s nothing that can be done to get owners who illegally let, or fail to pay their community fees, “off the complex”. There needs to be legal action against debtors, and at some point, at the end of all processes, their properties can be repossessed, but owners can’t be evicted in some way.

    If, in the meantime, they continue illegally letting, they will at some point be fined, and if unpaid, that too will be lodged as a charge against their property. There’s no quick fix for this, but it will get dealt with in the end.

  114. If owners do not pay community fees then why not turn off their electricity and water supply. See how many holiday lets they get then.

  115. You cannot on a dormant touristic, because there is no individual water or electricity supply – it is all communal – hence the few end up paying for the consumption of the many. We have tried to get individual water and electricity meters installed, but we are not allowed to because we are touristic. Despite this, we are not allowed to do holiday lets either, because we have no licence or sole operator. So we are totally screwed either way.

  116. We have been given legal advised that a 20% levy on community debts would not be enforcable in a court of law as it would be deemed unreasonable and puntative and that denying owners electricity and water is not allowed under the Law of Horizontal Property and is also a breech of the owners Human Rights.

  117. Peejay is correct it is illegal to turn off the water and electricity. What if they are on a shared sattellite system could you stop them receiving t.v. On our community it is not allowed to have individual receivers and all t.v comes through a large receiver.

  118. I’ll throw a few figures into the conversation, which is normally a wsay of killing a thread stone dead!

    In 2010, tourism represented 27% of the Canaries’ GDP and was responsible for a third of employment (el dia). I would guess that this figures is lower on Tenerife and Gran Canaria and higher on the others, but that’s an educated guess.

    As for how much “illegal” tourism contributed to the “big four” islands, I calculated a figure of €445 million in 2011 out of a total of €4.2bn. The illegal expenditure was split as follows: TF – €315m; GC – €35m; LZ – €63m; and FUE – €33m. These figures were based on published data and very extensive analysis on my part.

    I could also comment on the strategy of building 5* hotels to try and move tourism upmarket, but the whole idea is so laughable as to be not worthy of further comment.

  119. I quite agree Adam. Trouble is, there are too many scapegoats to blame, the foreigners, Madrid etc for them ever to admit they have launched a kamikaze attack on their own economy via this legislation. I can see two undesirable outcomes they have not considered though:
    1. Fuerteventura will reach a crisis point in summer 2013. Tourist numbers have already dropped 8.9 percent Jun-Sept and that’s before the flight cuts. Next Summer the real impact will be felt. And the demand for flights will have dropped due to the crackdown on illegal letters, so there will be no demand to put those flights back on. In a parallel attack by the government they will impose expensive renovation works on many of the currently legal complexes. Some of them will close too. So, the tourist offer and the tourists will be decimated. People travelling to Fuerte do not want to go to Tenerife, so they will go somewhere else.
    2. The negative impact on property prices will continue and properties will flood the market as foreigners flee the law. Eventually in Tenerife they will reach a point where they can be snapped up for a pittance by the Russians, who will start illegal letting businesses. Oh, and of course there will be some lovely 5 star hotels as well, but we could always have had those anyway couldn’t we.

  120. Hello Adam

    Your figures for illegal tourism works out at around 10%, it is therefore understandable for the hotels to object to the illegal activity, as they assume it is affecting their legal business, in other words they want this 10%.

    Tenerife has one of the best 5* climates in the world and as a result it has the potential to increase its share of the worlds 5* tourism, therefore the Canary government are trying to achieve this by encouraging the building of 5* Establishments/Hotels. I see nothing wrong with this long term planning policy, as long as it does not have a detrimental affect on the existing property owners.

  121. Author

    Agreed, Ken, though I’d add “… or tourism generally”. This policy has to work, and they’re convinced it will. I remain to be convinced, and am horrified at the effect this will have, in particular, on those who bought property here in good faith requiring rental income to pay the mortgage that was, in the day, so easily given with few questions asked.

  122. Agreed, Petra. FUE’s tourism is dropping like a stone and I’m not sure why. Is it related to the very high (>50%) participation in all-inclusive tourism? I don’t know the answer.

    And Ken, the problem is simply that EVERYWHERE is trying to attract tourists with money. If everybody is doing it, what can the Islas offer that other competing destinations cannot?

    To my mind, the immediate answer is island hopping, with X days spent on GC (say) and the remainder spent on another island. But the distortion in inter-island travel pricing for non residents makes this prohibitively expensive. I investigated such a trip myself before I became resident and rapidly went off the idea when I saw how much a simple 30 minute inter-island flight cost.

    At the risk of courting unpopularity – what the hell – I would propose an entire deregulation of inter-island travel and the scrapping of the residents’ discounts. Ryanair has already expressed an interest in flying interisland and, frankly, when it can be cheaper to fly to Lanza from Madrid than from Gran Canaria, the market is clearly distorted by regulation.

    Now, where is that bullet-proof jacket?

  123. Hello Adam

    As I mentioned earlier the Canary Islands have one of the best climates in the world and is normally good for 12 months of the year. This of course makes them an excellent destination for the winter months, particularly since the Islands are within a 5 hour flight from most parts of Europe. It is true there are other good weather destinations, however these flights can be lengthy and they may not be direct. I therefore can’t think of any other good weather destination within these time frames. I also think the Canaries will become attractive to visitors from further afield.

  124. Thanks for all your comments. To me it sounds like these ‘criminals’, because that is what they are, know exactly how the law works and the length of time it takes to get anything done. On our complex as I mentioned before, the developer has refused to pay their community fee, (€100,000 and rising each month) and our only hope of ever getting them to pay is when they do eventually sell, and as we know a property should not and hopefully will not be sold with a debt. We hope prospective buyers have a good solicitor. The community has been told that some of the apartments have been taken back by the bank/s in payment of the mortgages the developer took out when building the complex. I’m not sure how this works but I hope if the banks have taking apartments in payment, they have included the outstanding debt on the apartment/s which they will return to the community. These apartments are now being advertised at roughly half the price we paid 4 years ago. Any owner who took mortgages out in 2008 are now probably having to deal with negative equity which I know has affected many people everywhere including probably, ‘the buy to lett brigade’. Unfortunately it is the sign of the times.

    Having said all that, it seems to me that the only way you can get the ‘criminals’ to pay, is to make their life hell if possible and as difficult as you can. In the olden times anyone breaking the law was ‘put in the stocks’ and pelted with mouldy fruit and vegatables. To me, the modern day equivilant would be, naming and shaming and publicly ridiculing all them. Putting up signs around the complex warning and naming those owners and any of their holiday rental people’ that they are being monitored. It sounds a bit ‘Big Brotherish’, but if its affective, why not? I’m thinking outside the box here, so if you have any other ideas, lets bounce them around. What do you think Janet?

    John Breheny mentioned that it was illegal to turn off water and electricty. On our complex each owner has their own meters. When not using my apartment, I turn off all the water and switch off the electricity from inside my apartment for health and safety reasons. But then I started to think. On our complex there are meter cupboards for both water and electricity all around the complex. Just recently we have had all the electricity meters changed so why not turn them off there? Because of H&S do you not think that owners who do not live in their apartment but lett them out only, could be made to have the services turned off outside the apartment when not in use? Holiday lettings do not always run continually, so my thinking is, make the owner report to the community when the apartment is not in use and if they don’t, because of H&S the community can do it for them.

    I mentioned earlier that our electric meter has been changed to a digital one which I have been told can be read elctronically instead of manually. Does anyone know if these meter readings can be downloaded to individuals computer to monitor useage?

    I hope someone out there can come up with a answer to this it would seem, a common problem.

  125. Yes, there has been a move towards all-inclusive, but at the same time an increase in popularity of private letting. But the flight costs have gone up considerably and everything costs more here than the other islands as, unless it’s a goat, or goat-related, it has to be imported. So, you need to spend a lot more money to come here on holiday, than say Tenerife which has abundant natural resources. In times of austerity, less people can afford it. Couple that with the marmite attitude to Fuerte – you either love it or hate it – and we are a poor island, with a fragile economy.

  126. Author

    Adam, the inter-island travel idea is a non-starter. Islas Airways has just gone bust and Binter has it all sown up … and political friends. The resident travel discount, for its part, is nothing as such to do with the Canaries. It is funded by Madrid, and is part of the European (not even just Spanish, let alone Canarian) funding for outlying regions (i.e. areas which are far away from centres of government).

    Terry, putting up signs around the complex is also a non-starter, I’m afraid. The only place in a complex that signs can be posted is a notice board, and that is community property. As far as I’m aware, the law only allows the explicit naming of those owners who are community debtors.

    As far as individual utility supplies are concerned, these are sacrosanct under the law. They cannot be disconnected, and certainly not as punishment. For what it’s worth, however, I have known an administrator disconnect the water to an apartment which was heavily in debt; apparently there was a problem with “flooding”, and the entire water supply needed to be disconnected for, oh, about five seconds. Everyone who was then up to date with community payments was, of course, immediately reconnected ………

  127. I am afraid there is little if any viable sanctions that can be imposed on individual owners even those in significant arrears.

    There are those who cant pay as distinct to those who wont pay.

    Our president and administrator has worked hard over the past 2 years and managed by negotiation mainly to reduce our arrears significantly.

    This approach seems far more pproductive than any punative measures.

    Of course we have started some court actions for persistent non payment and recently have had some success again under the advice of our administrator.

    Yes this is a lengthy procedure and you do need to chase the lawers regularly but it does work in the end.

  128. Terry
    I totally understand your frustration, we have individual elec / water metres and it is frustrating when owners who do not pay fees have the benefit of these utilities which responsible owners are paying for. I receive all the payment statements for the community which includes fees. I used to e-mail the statement for community fees to all owners this proved useful as it shamed the debtors but also notified owners who had ran into debt accidently. I was informed this was illegal , so I have to contact owners individually, this works for us as we only have a small community.Regarding fees it is annoying as all the laws lie on the side of the offender. Sometimes underhand tactics have to be employed !!!!

  129. Author

    It’s not so much that the laws lie on the side of the community debtor, John, indeed they can end up losing their property for the debt, it’s just that the law takes such a long time.

  130. Here is a recent review of one of the apartment complexes in Fuerte run by Barcelo, that Turismo are insisting that people should now be staying in ‘luxury’ and ‘quality’ all the way!!

    The superior bungalow we were in had sewerage coming up through the shower. We complained but they cant understand English when you have any problems. Stains all over the chairs and sofa, cockroaches and ants are rife.

    The swimming pools … are salt water and the salt content is that high that it burnt your eyes and lips. The food is lukewarm and the same menu for breakfast, dinner and tea. Three of our party had food poisoning. Book somewhere else.

  131. Quite correct Janet it just seems that way at times. Communities struggle to move forward as debtors hold them back. Looking forward to seeing the Ley de Renovation translation.

  132. Thank you Janet for your comments, (3:06pm). I will be emailing my President and a copy to our Administrator for them to look carefully at your column. It may set the little grey cells working!

    Anyone had there electric meter changed recently and whether this will be a very helpful divice for monitoring your useage?

  133. @Terry

    It reads like you might be considering or requesting taking action against those you have termed as `criminals`by committing illegal acts against them ????

  134. I think Terry’s reaction is the same as many of us when trying to first tackle non-paying owners. You are annoyed and you want to do something about it. Gradually you come to realise there is little you can do, apart from apply a very slow pressure through the courts, negotiate, try and agree payment terms and failing that, hope they sell up and leave. Non-payers play the system, some of ours have racked up 7 years of debts and will never pay in full, as even the courts will only make them pay the last 2 years. This is a major issue though for the efficacy of this new law. Even if we met the requirements to re-open as a tourist complex and all the owners agreed to do it, the usual suspects would not pay the community fees and we would have to shut again pretty quickly as we would not be able to pay the increased running costs. Back to square one and in breach of the law.

  135. Author

    John B, the translation is going to take a while because I’ve got a few other very time-consuming things on at the moment. At least the text is there for everyone to get started on.

  136. Janet, I agree with your points about it being a non-starter, but that does NOT change the fact that it is politics rather than economics which prevents this type of tourism from occurring. Who actually runs the discount scheme is irrelevant from an economic viewpoint: it still distorts the market and, moreover, blanket subsidies hardly ever fulfil the objective of helping the poorest members of society.

    What you say about political friends pretty well supports my view on the rottenness of much of Spanish society and why, IMHO, it will be a long, long time before this country is viable again. Look no further than Greece.

  137. Just did a quick search on hotels for sale in the Canary Islands. Seem to be about 20 for sale, mostly Gran Canaria and Tenerife by the look of it. Wonder if this has already increased from normal number available or will increase due to the new legislation. Many look like the kind of complexes they are looking to upgrade to ‘quality’ standards. Some are even licensed to TUI until 2013. So there are plenty of opportunities for new investment – but are the profit margins going to be enough to attract the investment in the current climate, once you factor in the cost of renovation and replacement? I guess the current owners thought not. Only time will tell. But what if lots of these complexes close down before new ones replace them and they have cracked down on residential lets too – is there a risk of a bed shortage?

  138. I am thinking that when the hotel lobby pushed for the crackdown on illegal letting, they were rubbing their hands with glee when the government agreed to do it. Unfortunately, they did not consider that the government would then decide to go even further and impose restrictions and responsibilities on them too.

  139. PeeJay, I definitely will not be committing any illegal acts because it would make me the same as the ones I call, ‘criminal’. However, having said that, what would you do if you definately knew someone was illegally letting there apartment to holiday makers and hasn’t paid the community fee for at least 2 years and it is also believed this person is squatting in an unsold apartment on the complex. It is thought the key was obtained by deception? What would you do? The squatting obviously needs verifying, but I definately know the owner is renting,(had a chat with one of the holiday makers using the apartment), then it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the owner is definately squatting.

    What I haven’t mentioned before is to enable the complex to meet its budget, we have had to pay extra community fees for several months. We’re having to do this as a number of owners and the developer refuse to pay. Thats why I want to get these individuals to pay their dues. I along with many other law abiding owners are having to pay extra so that those that don’t pay can enjoy the benifits that our complex offers. I am sure this also happens in many other complexes. I do hope someone out there can help.

  140. the hotels for sale that petra mentions, may be simply down to how bad things are for them commercially. They did ask for the crackdown in 2008, you cant blame them for that, it was the law. The reality is though, the crackdown has not provided them with enough ex apartment customers to keep going. Most of us knew that these apartment customers were not simply going to be browbeaten into chosing a hotel stay. So much of the govts position on tourism is based on what they want to be the case , rather than what the customer actually wants to chose. Until they reconsider the customers desires, there is no hope for the islands economic recovery.

  141. Author

    The hotel figures over the past year, as it happens, have been very good indeed.

  142. One of the Riu hotels in Maspalomas is undergoing a 40+ million euro upgrade, so they are making the most of the legislation. On the other hand, Lanzarote, have said they have lost 200,000 seats due to Winter flight cuts. Fuerte has had the same cuts, but then even more airlines have reduced routes in Summer 13 as well, so we will have less tourists now and then even less from June 13.

  143. Author

    I’m closing this post to comments now because they’ve filled a full page … and although I could extend the number of comments available, it distorts the formatting. There will be plenty of other posts for comments on this matter, I’m sure, over coming months!

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