A fresh new blow has been dealt to those property owners seeking to holiday let their properties in the Canaries after the glimmer of hope from Decree 113/2015, 22nd of May that would finally allow them to legally let after years of restrictions. Last Wednesday 23rd September, the Canarian Parliament ordered the regional Government to put the above-mentioned law that regulates holiday lets on standby until an agreement can be reached on the definitive text and this motion was approved with 39 votes in favour, none against and 19 abstentions.
The motive behind this new course of action is to better legalize the rental activity amidst fears that banks would take advantage of this opportunity to further their interests by letting the large volume of repossession properties and residential complexes they have on their books. The Government is to revise the law and submit another draft within a two month period in which all implicated agents, institutions and associations must participate.
The decree was disputed from day one due to its rushed approval just a couple of days before the 24th May elections with some accusing the government of election fraud and whose content was harshly critiqued by most as unfinished, unpolished, vague and riddled with errors. The new Government voted in after the elections has been charged with amending the text and properly govern this sector. The main opposer besides property owners themselves is ASCAV (Asociación Canaria del Alquiler Vacacional), an association tasked with defending their rights as well as promoting free trade. On the 29th June, ASCAV denounced the way in which the decree had come about along with its content, stating that it does not respect owner rights and does not allow free trade and at the beginning of this month, a meeting was set up to discuss the necessary amendments to the law, two of the main points that have been highlighted being the fact the decree prohibits holiday let licenses to those properties situated on land classified as touristic which in itself is ludicrous and that the bed and breakfast model was not mentioned anywhere in the decree.
Initial information would suggest the amended law will exclude issue of new holiday let licenses, rather it would only regulate existing permits. Mr José Miguel Ruano of the CC Political Party states that the prime objective would be to legalize only preexisting holiday let properties that were in that legal grey area prior approval of the May decree and afterwards were deemed illegal due to being situated on touristic land. They do not have any interest in increasing the number of properties to be included in this rental model but instead prefer to improve the quality of existing properties on offer.
It must be mentioned that information at this moment in time is ambiguous but what is clear is that the situation will be as before, uncertain and unregulated until the modified text is approved. The only good news is that any fines in process will also be suspended until further notice. Non-compliance of the holiday let ban meant fines of between 30.000 and 300.000 euros.
Again, property owners find themselves in limbo whilst the Canarian Government tries to figure how how to regulate an industry that is guaranteed to benefit the islands by promoting another tourist model besides hotel accommodation. Until now, hoteliers have virtually demanded exclusive rights to this industry by failing to recognize they cannot monopolize an entire sector which at present practically forces visitors to stay in hotels, usually in the all inclusive system that does not favour local businesses in any shape or form.
I will continue to follow this situation closely and advise of any expected changes and progress until the definitive law is approved but the photo shown here could not be any clearer.