The Land Law adapted for residential reality

May 19, 2017 in 28Degrees, Community, Economy, News, Politics, Property, Real Gran Canaria, Tourism by The Canary

The controversial Canary Islands Land Law is to be adapted to consolidate the de facto reality that some owners of apartments on tourist ground have been happily residing at their properties up until now.  The amendment, expected to come into force this summer, makes plain that anyone who has been living in their tourist zone property prior to January 1, 2017, will be protected by the law, however they still can not use them for other uses, such as short term holiday rentals. From that date forward, the guidelines prohibit breaking the established principle of “unit exploitation” (ie licensed operation of tourism apartments) and new residential uses on tourist parcels are prohibited.

All political parties in The Canary Islands’ Parliament yesterday supported this compromise amendment to the draft Land Law, to solve what they recognise as a”complex” problem such as the coexistence between residential use and tourism.

The socialist PSOE and Podemos political parites are in agreement that the new norm draws a temporary line to consolidate  rights of those who reside in apartments located on tourist parcels and will refer the proposal to their respective parties to endorse.

Making residential use compatible with tourist unit exploitation has become one of the headaches of the Canarian Government and of the parliamentary groups who are tasked with creating legislation to meet the demands that are put before them by various citizen groups and associations.

This provision of the new Land Law must be developed, according to political majority, in the revision of the Tourism Renewal Act to be undertaken in 2018.

This proposal establishes “a system of consolidation of residential use for those who are already there, from before January 2017, but can not produce transmissions of use or extensions to new uses,” since it must be “compatible with the Respect for the principle of unit exploitation, ” said CC (Coalicion Canaria) spokesman , José Miguel Ruano.

Specifically, an owner can reside in the apartment and even sell it for that pre-existing residential use or for tourist activity within the established rules of unit exploitation but not for any other use such as vacation private rentals.  Also, from that date, apartments or bungalows located on tourist parcels can no longer be changed to residential use, only tourist.

The problem originated in San Bartolomé de Tirajana after their 2015 decree to develop the Tourism Renovation and Modernisation Law of 2013 and General Town Planning (PGO), documents that regulate tourist and residential uses of accommodation and aimed to prevent their coexistence.

This created a standoff situation leading to the creation of the Plataforma de Afectados por la Ley Turística (Platform for those Affected by the Tourism Law). According to their data, 70,000 owners would be affected throughout the Canary Islands. As many apartments have been used like residences for decades and are, as well as in the south of Gran Canaria, in zones across the archipelago including Puerto de la Cruz and Los Cristianos in Tenerife, in Puerto del Carmen in Lanzarote, and various areas in Corralejo Fuerteventura.

Source: La Provincia 

Tom Smulders, these days the president of the Asociación de Alojamientos Extrahoteleros de Las Palmas (Association of Extra-Hotel Accommodations in Las Palmas), is not happy with the new formula delivered by parliamentary groups to give an outlet to residential use on tourist ground.

In the Parliament they think that they have taken a Solomonic decision, but for most of the extra-hotel managers and tourist complexes we believe that it is a diabolical decision” , said Smulders, since residential use is being maintained in these infrastructures, which, in the opinion of the employers , hinders the processes of tourism renewal.

“They dodge the problem and leave it in the hands of the tourist managers ,” he says, who find themselves having problems complying with the principle of unit exploitation. He says that the proposal will generate “conflicts“, in addition to “uncertainty” regarding current tourist regulations, with this “amnesty” to resident owners.

“There are often people in complexes who do not bother [anyone], who are sympathetic and respectful, but there are others who think that buying a housing unit exempts them from all obligations and there are many Spaniards and foreigners who do not want to live there but are forced to do so because in 35 years no social housing has been built,” in these areas, such as Playa del Inglés, he says.

He also questions whether the ban on residential use is really retroactive and wonders whether people who have purchased apartments since January can not use them as a residence.