Under Spanish law, the Canarian Government’s fine on those it deems to have been letting illegally must be processed within six months or it “expires”. Once expired, Turismo issues a certificate (of “caducidad”). If one is not received it can be applied for. The process includes three stages: an appeal against the initial notification of the fine, an appeal against the rejection of the appeal, and a final appeal – a Recurso de Alzada. Once a Recurso de Alzada has been made, however, the clock changes, and another administrative legal rule applies, namely that if no reply has been given to this final appeal within three months, the appeal is considered rejected.
Alotca lawyers of those who have been fined and reached the six months limit – and who have not received a certificate of caducidad – have already applied to Turismo for this certificate. In the majority of appeals which have expired and where a certificate has not been issued, the request for the certificate has not been acknowledged. Many of these fines, however, are in the Recurso de Alzada period, and so the “three months for reply” rule applies.
Obviously fines are issued on different dates, and so the Recursos de Alzada were made varying times ago, but the lawyers are writing to clients whose three month period is almost at an end. They would be negligent if they did not advise their clients that there was a clear danger that their first appeal (the three-stage appeal to the Government) is about to be rejected and that appeal to the Courts must follow – or Turismo will consider the rejection to be accepted, and enforce the fines and lodge the charge against the properties of those who have not paid.
The appeal to the Courts will use several legal arguments, one of which is that the appeal was beyond its six month limit, though Turismo has the option of using the “three-month reply to Recurso de Alzada” defence. Other legal arguments have already been drawn up but it is clearly not sensible to publicize those arguments which the lawyers are going to use in Court.
The fee of €925 that is being quoted for this second appeal to the Courts covers not only the full appeal, which is expected to take up to a year, but also barrister fees. Unfortunately, those in this position must confirm their decision now as the lawyers need time to organize the cases for defence.
In a nutshell: if you are beyond the six month period but have not received a certificate of caducidad yet, the lawyers can not guarantee that Turismo will issue one. Turismo can instead choose silence, and the law allows that following a Recurso de Alzada, if no reply is received in three months the fine is confirmed. If you do not instruct your lawyers before the three months is up you risk the fine of just under €14,000 being confirmed and lodged as a charge on your property. Please be reassured that anyone in this situation will be receiving a letter from the lawyers. You do not have to do anything proactively other than instruct them to proceed, if that is what you choose, when they contact you.