Canary Islands Holiday Homes Decree

terorThe Canary Islands autonomous regional government has, on Friday May 22, approved the long awaited new decree regulating holiday homes in the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands Government Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ricardo Fernandez de la Puente Armas, said that “after months of work, together with associations, industry players and public institutions, we have finally arrived at a standard for the development of this activity on the islands.”

Not in existing Tourist Areas

In a shock for some, who thought inevitable the inclusion of homes and apartments in established tourist areas, the new decree “expressly excludes from the scope of this regulation” areas that are already covered by the tourism laws, which were fully ratified in Madrid, and as specified in Article 3, “buildings in tourist zones that are within tourism developments or tourist areas, as well as tourist homes located in mixed residential developments or tourist developments, according to the definitions established by the existing Law 2/2013, of May 29, on renewal and modernization of Canaries tourism”.

Basically this means, that if your holiday apartment is in an already regulated area, then it is still prohibited for you to rent to tourists or anyone for short periods, usually of less than three to six months.

The new law, as expected from the previous drafts, states that houses or apartments outside of the existing regulated zones “may only be marketed as vacation homes where no such activity is expressly prohibited by the statutes of the estate”. So if your residential community (communidad) rules state that you cannot rent to tourists, rent short term, or sublet, then you are also still not allowed to contravene these rules agreed between proprietors of your complex.

So if you are outside the regulated tourist areas, and your community does not forbid you renting short term, then you may consider carrying out tourist rentals, however in another aspect contained in the decree you must begin by submitting a sworn statement “by the operator…prior to the start of the activity of operating a holiday home”

The right paperwork

The new law specifies that “the holders thereof or, where appropriate, the natural or legal persons to whom the owner has previously entrusted exploitation, must formalise their responsibility for these activities” and register with the appropriate Island Council (Cabildo), agreeing to comply with the new regulations and to maintain compliance throughout the periods of rental.

“In addition to this, the person responsible for the declared activity must show at least one of these three documents, depending on the date the permit is requested:

  • the occupation license,
  • certificate of occupancy,
  • or declaration responsibility for occupation of buildings or facilities.

The decree also seeks to protect the users of these holiday homes and specifies in Article 7 that “advertising, supply and management of vacation homes must conform to the requirements of truthfulness, objectivity and good faith, providing the user with enough information on the characteristics of [the property], conditions of use and performance of the contracted services, all without prejudice to the provisions of the existing rules on advertising and consumer protection and the end user.”

A major feature of the new law governing the activity of private short term holiday rentals is article 12.4, which states that if the contract or agreement has not properly been made in writing prior to the rental, it is now mandatory that both parties sign a document in which, at the very least, is contained the amounts to be paid, the binding terms of the contract, indicating hours, maximum number of people who can occupy the house and the prices to be charged for the service accommodation, all with the VAT (IGIC) included. This document must be drafted in at least Castilian (Spanish) and English.”

Canarian and Rural Owners Get Benefit

President, Doris Borrego, of Ascav, the association who have been lobbying over the last couple of years for clarification and regulation of holiday home lettings, has said that they will need to study the new decree before fully being able to comment.

She responded to disappointment expressed by many foreign owners by pointing out that their association members are primarily Canarian native owners, with very few of the foreign resident holiday home proprietors, based in and around the already regulated tourist areas, really having taken part in the process.  She pointed out that Ascav have never lobbied for a change to the tourism area regulations, but have in fact lobbied on behalf of their members for proper clarification of what is allowed outside of these areas already legislated for.

Those foreign residents/owners who didn’t stand up and actively take part in the process, on either a local or a regional level, will have little grounds for complaint, though of course many will be disappointed that the long standing laws are expected to be upheld, maintained and where necessary enforced.

This is of course great news, however, for all those with holiday homes outside of the regulated tourist zones, particularly on the north of the island and in the mountain areas less travelled to by visitors, who can now in good conscience, and with the right paperwork, rent to tourists and short term visitors in full knowledge of the rules within which they must perform the activity.

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