It’s not just the Canaries …

Update 14 December: The Daily Mail has now got hold of this story. Its Money Mail article appeared today HERE.

Original post 3 April: I know that many people opposed to Canarian tourism restrictions see them as unique and out of place in the world. They are nothing such, of course, and restrictions on short-term letting are familiar in other parts of Spain, and more generally in Europe and in America too, perhaps particularly evident in cities like London and New York. Despite all this, the Canaries is repeatedly singled out for opprobium and ridicule, derided for what are called its protectionist and restrictive policies. In the “nutshell” article I wrote recently, I said that the Canarian Government felt its tourism was worth protection, and that is now, clearly, a view that is going to go national. No more will it be discrete parts of Spain that have protectionist policies. It will be Spain itself.

Spain is shortly to pass a law that will limit the short-term tourist rental of properties nationwide. The Proyecto de Ley de medidas de flexibilización y fomento del mercado del alquiler de viviendas. is acknowledged to represent a negative impact on the pockets of  many owners, but appears to be an attempt to help the hotel industry.  Critics say that the new law will damage tourism by restricting the freedom of holidamakers by limiting the number of properties available to them, is a “legislative attack” on rental property owners, and will have negative economic consequences beyond the field of tourism. The Government, however, is intent on the legislation, which also makes it easier for landlords to evict problem tenants, as I posted HERE when the bill was first introduced last August.

Maybe the Canaries will now stop being seen as backward, but rather as leading the field …


  1. This is so bad. Hotels are just not the same. Just came back from Madrid, where I stayed in a private apartment booked via I did look at hotels and they had all bad reviews: noisy, slow internet, etc. My experience at the apartment was excellent and I loved the fact that you have your own kitchen. Based on my positive experience, I am already planning to go back to Madrid and stay at the same apartment, already feeling like my home in Madrid…in a hotel I felt never at home.

  2. Point is though, you CAN choose to stay in an apartment if you prefer – it just needs to be an apartment in a complex which has been approved as being safe, suitable and appropriate for holiday lets.

  3. I think Jon is right to say that the legislation seems to be aimed at ensuring that tourists stay in touristic accommodation and not residential and it is difficult not to see the sense in that. It then brings us back to the old chestnut of the regulation of sole agents – the frustrating thing is that if there was a legislative model standard for sole agency most people would be happy, rather than each agent being able to operate whatever scheme they deem fit.

  4. My sister in law lives in Maderia, they had exactly the same problem there, but instead of fining everybody the inspected apartments to ensure standards, and issued licences.

    Firstly this system generated money for the local authorities by charging an annual fee for the licence, secondly they control noise and quality with inspections, thirdly all these apartments are now expected to submit figures for income.

    This seems like a so much more logical solution than scaring owners over huge fines, causing many owners to sell. Come on Canaries get up to speed please,

  5. Author

    I think this is the solution employed in Portugal, and of course Madeira is Portuguese. The bottom line, I’m afraid, is that it is what it is. We’re in Spain, and this is Spain’s solution. Different strokes for different folks. It remains to be seen, too, whether they, in fact, change to the Spanish system …

  6. Is this not what is being proposed for residential villas?

  7. Author

    No. We don’t quite know what the proposals will be yet, but what is clear so far, at least from the detail of the draft law, is that some villas, and only then in some circumtances, will be able to apply for tourist licences. Most won’t at all.

  8. So ” leading the field” is to shut down thousands of villas with no equivalent accommodation to go into? to enforce legislation which will result in thousands of tourists each month being prevented from staying in accommodation for which there is no similar alternative?

  9. Author

    They won’t be shutting down anything since there is no legality at present nor ever intended for there to be. My wording was meant to indicate a policy here that is now being adopted elsewhere … despite many calls for the Canaries to follow other models, most notably Portugal. It was not meant to indicate approval on my part – indeed how could it when I am in a campaign group one of whose main aims is to get villas the right to be able to apply for tourist licences! It appears that this has been partially, but sadly only partially, successful. The general policy here in the Canaries, however, and in various other parts of Spain, to restrict tourist lets to legal tourist accommodation and hotels is now being rolled out nationwide. Inevitably many will not like it, but it’s what Spain is doing.

  10. And so not the whole of Spain is adopting this draconian action by you comments & why are people not supporting all the investors who have invested here not just the Villa owners, which is a very small percentage of the illegal property that has been renting.

    As far as I am concerned this is dual standards its OK for those who can afford to own & rent a villa ( and I could ) to get support but the majority who rent to the masses because they do not like Hotels & prefer apartments in complexes there is no support at all, yes we are illegal so tough, even though a lot of us have been misled & lied too when purchasing our property and even after.

    This might sound like sour grapes or an an old record playing again but it is the truth. I know this is led by the Hotel lobby/Touristic department in the Government but when is somebody going to stand up & fight for US

  11. Author

    M, the whole of Spain is adopting the measures as apply here for short-term lets … what I said was “they won’t be shutting down anything since there is no legality at present nor ever intended for there to be”. In other words, no residential property can be let legally for tourism, and there are to be restrictions on how tourist property is let as well. That currently applies here, and will soon apply to the whole of Spain.

  12. Janet,

    I know what you are saying as we have gone over it many times, BUT WHEN IS SOMEBODY GOING TO STAND UP & FIGHT FOR US and push for complexes that conform to their criteria, reassessed and given a Touristic licence

    I know they only want 5* A/I Hotels but that will take years even if they had the money, so they want all these holidaymakers ( who spend money there ) to find somewhere else while they do this & then expect them to come flooding back (they are MAD or STUPID)

  13. I share your exasperation I Don’t Believe it but fear nobody is going to stand up and fight for us and we’ve just got to let it all go wrong to prove the point – and that could take an awful long time! It almost seems to be a conspiracy with even Alotca members handing out brochures to unsuspecting clients offering advice on renting when they should be the first to be warning people off – I know because it happened to me recently. I don’t even understand why Alotca are advocating villa rentals (sorry Janet) as if I had paid out a lot of money for a villa, I’m damned sure I would not want rowdy tourists in a neighbouring villa using the pool at all hours of the night. At least in a complex, even a residential complex, these things can be controlled. As a lot of people on this and other forums are saying, this year could be the first where the real change is felt, due to people pulling their ads last year when the true extent of this nonsense started to become reality. I’ve already mentioned in a previous post about the huge numbers of properties for sale in my area and this is going to happen more and more. My own property would be on the list except I was not prepared to accept the ridiculously low price advised when I looked into selling it, so I will limp on without advertising for another year and see what happens. We can only hope that sometime soon, someone high up in the Government will see the error of their ways, or maybe even they will come up with a bright idea to make more money and start allowing people to register their properties for touristic purposes.

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