There is a group of people in the situation of having received a fine for illegal letting, but who did not find out about it, normally through discovering their details published in the BOC, until it was too late to put in an appeal.
From a meeting that I had earlier this week with José Escobedo, it has become clear from his research that Spanish constitutional law, together with precedent, requires the Government to do more than just send a letter to whatever address is readily available here, and then go straight to publication in the Boletín. Constitutional legislation is quite clear that all possible means of identifying someone’s whereabouts must be exhausted before a fine is imposed without individuals being able to defend themselves.
José Escobedo intends to present the cases of those in this situation to the Turismo minister responsible for the fines, Rita Hernández, asking for resolution. There is no deadline for this submission. If the submission fails to get a positive response, then the cases can be brought to the Constitutional Court itself.
If anyone is in this situation and would like their cases to be included, they need to contact José Escobedo, providing him with copies of their Escritura, a letter from their community administrators confirming that an address was passed to the inspectors, copies of NIE and passport, a tax form if applicable, and any other documentation that shows that an alternative address has been made public in Spain. An Escritura alone does this, of course, because it is a public document and as well as the Spanish address it contains the UK address of the owner, but any supporting paperwork showing that an alternative address was available in Spain will add weight to the argument that the inspectors did no more than the minimum investigation. José says that his fees for this will be the same as for the appeals, i.e. €880.
On the subject of the appeals themselves, the first cases are now starting their journey through the Courts, and an appeal is being made to the Courts for suspension of the enforcement of fines until the end of the appeal process – they are usually enforced beforehand. Not the least of the arguments is the seeming discrepancy in fines between the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: the latter appear to be lower, sometimes considerably so, a discrepancy that is apparently legally questionable, not least because whatever the reason for it, it gives rise to concerns of favouritism since Sra Hernández is herself from the eastern province. It has also not gone unnoticed that some politicians in Lanzarote, although fined, have been so with extremely low amounts.
If anyone has any questions on this, please post them in the comment box below. If I don’t know the answer I’ll check so that you are as informed as possible.