Text of the new Ley de Renovación y Modernización Turística de Canarias

The text of the new Ley de Renovación y Modernización Turística de Canarias is now available. It is currently going through Parliament. I have selected the sections of the new law that I’ve identified as most significant in terms of the various issues that have been discussed here previously and have made a new page which is under the Links & Laws tab: HERE is a direct link to it.

I am working through a translation of the selected text as it appears on the new page and will post it as soon as I have it finished: I’ll also post an interpretation where it seems appropriate as well. When I do so, please understand that translation is not an exact science, and I am open to queries and suggestions for alternative “readings”. In the meantime, please can you post in the comment box on the new page if there are any sections of the law which I have not included but which you would like me to include because they might be relevant to your own specific case. There is a link to the new law in the links page and on the new page itself, but for ease of reference, HERE is a direct link.


  1. I have been reading the whole text patiently. I am a Spanish lawyer and I am afraid my English is not really good. After such work, I have understood that…
    A tourist apartment placed on a tourist complex must be used for compulsory tourist legal activity, which should mean nobody will be authorized to use it for residential purposes. There are many more details to analyze, but it seems to me this is the most relevant point, apart from the results for those who go against this new law. I wish good luck to everybody.

  2. The question remains then, what are they going to do with all the dormant touristic complexes where people are already living in them? On the one hand they are trying to change the law to prevent evictions by the bank. On the other hand they are bringing in another law which will force people out of their own homes. Not very joined up us it.

  3. Author

    To avoid this getting drawn into another thread on the general issue, please can we now keep comments specifically related to the text itself? I’d be grateful.

  4. If I am reading this correctly, it seems to me that owners who originally bought on a Touristic complex will be unable to rent out short term themselves and will be unable to use their own apartment as and when they like? Is this correct? If it is, then I have a lot of sympathy with these owners, although I myself have bought on a Residential complex with no intention of renting out short term. Why is the Canarian government determined on changing the law and who and why are they changing it and what for? Who are they targeting? I apoligise if this has already been asked. This appears to be similar to what happened on mainland Spain to the owners of properties living along the coastal regions. Do I smell corruption, I do hope I’m wrong.

  5. Author

    It’s been asked, and answered, many times! They are determined to go upmarket, and want all accommodation to be legal.

    Yes, it seems from the text, as interpreted too by Efrén, that tourist apartments must be used for tourist activity, and not residential. I just cannot see that this doesn’t violate their constitutional rights, but I’m waiting on legal opinion about that.

    As I said above, to avoid this getting drawn into another thread on the general issue, please can we now keep comments specifically related to the text itself? I’d be grateful.

  6. I am seeing jose Escobedo tomorrow so hope to have more clarity. I think Janet is correct on the rights of owners in touristic complexes but I wonder if it could mean that they can only be rented touristically and not long term rented as allowed under the current civil law.

  7. I would be interested to know what “Los titulares de los establecimientos turísticos” (Art 22&23) means in context … I read it as referring to Sole Agents rather than individual owners

  8. Author

    I’d like to read it like that, would make life simpler!! In 21, they use the same term, and in context it should mean owners. In 23, it’s clear that “establishments” are complexes, not apartments. As such, I’d have thought that “title holders of complexes” were the community of owners …

    Also, it’s before the section on the principle of unity of exploitation, and in the section on requirements for maintenance and renovation, which is down to owners …

    D, they cannot mean, surely, to refuse to allow free personal use of a private property by its escrituraed owners? This just has to be a constitutional violation!

  9. Doesn’t it all depend on what is stated in the escritura … I believe some have very restrictive clauses … so if you signed with restrictions, no constitutional breach, I would have thought (of course, bad or lack of advice from agents & lawyers is the real breach !)

  10. Also, if this law practically compels people to rent out their apartments to tourists and bans all other uses, it will surely cause a surplus of tourist rental properties on the market. Many will be unlet and have to remain empty, not exactly a good business model for investors. Plus it would create a social housing timebomb. The reason many older apartment complexes have become residential and lost their tourist licence is that they work better in ‘social reality’ as 1 bed apartments for local owners and tenants on low incomes, typically singles, couples, and retirees. If they are not allowed to live there, where are they going to go, they cannot afford to rent or buy a residential 2 bed, and all the other 1 beds will be dormant touristic too. Is the government planning to build a whole lot of new social housing for these people, or will Cruz Rojas be expected to pick this up? I can see a whole lot of hunger strikes ahead, if they try and put this into practice.

  11. How on earth can they prevent owners using THEIR OWN property? If we could find anyone to buy our place at the minute then we’d happily walk away from Tenerife and never return.

  12. Art 23 a) Cuando se haya producido un cambio de uso no autorizado y haya cesado de hecho la actividad turística al menos en un 25% de las unidades de alojamiento del establecimiento o cuando no permanezcan en explotación turística más del 50% de las unidades, en aquellos establecimientos a los que les sea de aplicación la disposición transitoria de la Ley 5/1999, de 15 de marzo, de modificación de la Ley 7/1995, de 6 de abril, de Ordenación del Turismo de Canarias. … seems to be crucial to me – allows for at least a portion of mixed use or have I misunderstood?

  13. The wording of Art 23 just before 23.a) is relevant …. Tras la tramitación del procedimiento que reglamentariamente se establezca se podrá proceder a la declaración de incumplimiento del deber de atenerse al uso efectivo del establecimiento, y la sujeción del inmueble al régimen de sustitución, en los términos señalados en esta ley, en los siguientes casos ….so, failure to adhere to touristic use and therefore substitution can be declared if (a)… I am reading that the Sole Agent will be changed ??

  14. Author

    It’s the section I’ve identified as crucial too, in which case article 16 applies.

  15. Article 23 is particularly confusing. It seems to say a very similar thing, but with two different percentages. I think some hotel people have already complained about this as it is confusing and open to misinterpretation. Yes and I read the regime substitution to mean change of sole agent. It doesn’t help that the law seems very poorly written and confusing in several key places. This is what happens when you rush things. If they are planning to put in new sole agents, it would be a good idea to set up some kind of accredited training course to improve the quality of the people involved. Otherwise literally anybody could be drafted in to do it.

  16. Yes probably corrupt Eastern Europeans, Russions, etc who seem to be all over parts of the island now who have no regard whatsoever for property owners and are purely interested in lining their own pockets even further! God knows what our elderly Italian neighbour will do who has lived on the complex for numerous years if he’s told he can’t even stay in it any more! Hope the Government will be proud of themselves for forcing a guy in his 80’s who CHOSE to live in Tenerife out of his own home??

  17. Thanks everyone for interpreting this odd sounding requirement. What is the thrust of the rest of the law? How is the translation going Janet?

  18. With regards to the brief note from Efren at top of the page.
    I have google translated the new proposed law, however the translation may be imperfect, but it seems to me that it may ultimately force owners of touristic apartments to rent them out. This is the most damaging piece of the new laws and I can easily imagine substantial financial fines for failure to comply. I am trying to obtain some legal advice, but I would like to know if Janet or anyone else has obtained a legal opinion on the new laws.

  19. Author

    No translation yet, Ed, sorry, but I just haven’t had any time, and a rushed job is worse than no job at all. I cannot believe, though, that this clause is being correctly interpreted, and it seems to me that article 16 is crucial in its interpretation … but I need legal opinion on this, and in that too, it’s behind time. I admit that the more I look at it, the more a simple translation at this stage seems pointless: there is more need for interpretation right now than translation.

  20. I met with a well respected and knowledgable Canarian Lawyer yesterday and he told me in no uncertain terms that this legislatation was not and could not force an owner on a touristic complex to let their freehold apartment out or indeed not live in it if they wished. He said there was some hysteria at the moment about some aspects of the new law but any government who attempted to deprive people of their apartments in such a manner would not only be acting unlawfully but also would be committing political suicide in the current climate. He cited the demonstrations outside the banks in Santa Cruz as an example to support this. I did ask him if there could be restrictions on Escrituras that made this easier fot the government to enforce and he again replied not.
    No doubt there will be many other legal opinions on all this but I do know that he has contact with the authorities (and Janet) on a regular basis and I am taking some comfort in what he has said at this stage.
    He did mention the current situation with the fines etc and there is no doubt in my mind that without alotca (Janet included) things would be a lot worse!
    It is clear that sole management is an important part of the legislation and all I would like to see is regulation of these so that owners are in control of their own apartments’ use and that they receive a decent return on the investment if they do choose to rent.
    I fear it will be a ‘watch this space’situation for some time to come!!

  21. Author

    Thank you Philip, on several levels.

  22. Totally agree with Phillip and hope for the same. All property owners want is to be treated fairly and not see their investments be worthless. I am pretty sure we would all comply with any new legislation regarding renting out our properties provided that it still allows owners to use their apartments when THEY want to and to have some control over who stays in their property if they wish to rent it out to tourists. It’s not a lot to ask really is it?

  23. And I agree without this website I’m sure many of us would not have found out half of what we now know so thanks to Janet for that. I’m not sure I could devote so much time to a cause unless it directly affected me. Call me selfish if you like but it’s a good job there are people out there who do try and help others.

  24. Hello Phillip
    Thanks for this reassuring piece of information, I suspect some of the rumours evolve from the ambiguous way the new proposed laws are written and then translated/interpretated. I am still waiting for the legal advice from my Tenerife lawyer and I do hope they have a similar legal opinion.
    Thanks again to all and in particular to Janet for taking an interest in this matter.

  25. What does this mean for private detached villas in villages?
    If they only give out a percentage in one village how would they chose which houses?

  26. Author

    Nothing intrinsically, at least for the moment. It all needs clarifying, but as I understand it, some villas will be able to apply for licences, but it will depend on density and plot/build size, as well as local rules and planning designations.

  27. With regards to the response by “Efren” on the 11 Nov and by “Phillip on the 14 Nov. I had asked for some legal advice by email and the response from my Tenerife lawyer was as follows,

    “It is not normal practice to study a law before it comes into force as obviously the final text has not been confirmed and this can change whilst the law is being approved; furthermore it will be necessary and important to establish how the law has to be interpreted after it has come into force, it will be advisable to confirm this with the relevant authorities etc and this normally takes some time. Once the new law comes into force if you wish I can study your specific case and advise you on the consequences of the law to your situation”

    I wish the advice had helped, but I am no clearer on what the new laws will ultimately mean for apartment owners living on a tourist licensed complex. I just hope that the previous response from Phillip will reflect what will actually happen, but this is Tenerife and logic does not always prevail.

  28. Author

    Thanks Ken. This is what I’ve said since the draft was released, that we have to wait until we see the final form, and to see how it is intended to be interpreted. This is why I’ve not gone ahead with the translation, because to do so might increase fear when there is actually no grounds for it at all.

    We just have to wait …

  29. I had a face to face meeting with my lawyer and he is always very open and honest in his opinions and views and he is active in dealing with many cases concerning the existing law. My specific questions were about the possibility of the government insisting that I rented my property in our touristic aparthotel where there is about a 50/50 split between owners and hotel apartments – many people live there and indeed bought off plan in 1987. He commented that speculation about the proposed new law was bordering on hysteria and causing many people upset. His words to me were that we bought a freehold apartment and we are entitled to free and unlimited use of it as and when we wish, unless we sign an agreement with a sole agent that then dicates otherwise. He said there was no prospect of the government evicting people from their own apartments if they lived there as this would violate their constitutional rights but he also said that this was not the intention of the new law anyway. I even asked him about restrictions that may be on an Escritura and he did not believe this made any difference although I have checked mine and it specifically says ‘Residence’ and ‘Urbanisation’ Until this has all been agreed in final draft and interpreted I am sure we will all still worry but I am taking some comfort from what I have been told.

  30. Author

    … and even after we have the final law, there will be a “reglamento”, a detailed interpretation of each clause issued by the administration to provide legal guidance for the law’s meaning and enforcement.

  31. All the arguments I read only look at the economic aspects of the issue. I don’t disagree with those. But there is also another aspect which is the point of view of people who wanted to make their property their home. These people are not enchanted not having any permanent neighbours. Instead they have either none at all or a constant flow of often noisy strangers passing by their door. These people will welcome the act especially the part which requires a 50% registration on the complex and the requirement of a single company managing the trade. People buying real estate should be made aware of the situation on a complex, i.e. whether it is a complex which allows tourists or one that does not. The law is not such a bad thing but it should have been in place AND enforced a long time ago. Craig Burton in his comment of 24 Oct didn’t quite understand that.

  32. CV

    If Estate agents.lawyers & Developers had been honest with buyers in the past & Estate Agents are still advertizing property with rental potential in illegal complexes this problem may not have happend.

    But to be honest it is the greed of others that has brought about this situation after all, at the moment 4000 of us have been fined, we can not all be stupid as some posts have suggested.

    I fell sorry for people who have bought their homes in the sun only to be disturbed by noisy holidaymakers but spare a thought for us who have also invested our money here but were mislead when we purchased and are now seeing our investments crash in value

  33. By Craig Burton I take it you mean me? It’s not Burton just for the record and I have no idea what comment you are referring to as I cannot find it and can’t be bothered getting into this all with you either. But just for the record we do not let anyone other than genuine friends or family use our place, they treat it with respect, are mainly retired or semi-retired and are not at all noisy! Do not judge everyone who owns a holiday home and has rented it out in the past with the same brush.

  34. CW: I am sorry to have mangled your name. Not my usual habit.

    Here is the quote that prompted me to write and which I would not have passed had I been a moderator: “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?”

    I am not tarring you with any kind of a brush. Just suggesting that you have some understanding for people who live in less enviable surroundings than perhaps you do. Let’s just leave it at that.

  35. IDBI: I agree entirely with all you say.

  36. with regards to the recent responses, I thought this thread was supposed to focus on the proposed new tourist law that may soon be passing through the Canary Government. I think it would be helpful if we all focused on that issue without repeatedly becoming bogged down over historical matters and nit picking.

  37. Author

    Yes, Ken, I was hoping to keep it restricted to such comments, but I think that until we get some clarity from Parliament, it’s inevitable that the same ground is covered again and again. In order to avoid this going the way of the others, I’ll close it to comments now until we have some further clear and definite news. Meanwhile, of course, the law itself has its own page on this site HERE, and for clarity’s sake, I’ll only be allowing on that page comments specifically about the law’s progress through Parliament or the actual text.

    What I would say, though, is that despite quite a bit of panic, and not a small amount of scaremongering from those who seem to me to want to find justification for a doom and gloom perspective, there is no indication that the initial literal reading of a clause that has not yet been approved by Parliament, let alone been clarified by a reglamento, is correct. We must just wait and see, but wait with expectation that no-one is going to be forced from their home!

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