Category: #Ask Nicky

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 24-26 March 2023

Plum tree blossoming in Tenteniguada March 2023
It’s the last weekend of March already and Spring is here; winter is behind us and the summer weather is already hotting up on Gran Canaria. The hillsides are in full bloom, particularly up in the mountain summits; it’s Carnival Weekend in Arguineguín and the last of the carnival festivities for this year are happening around the island. With summer just around the corner, clocks Spring forward this Saturday and Sunday night when 1am becomes 2am 🕐. On the north of the island, one of the biggest seasonal trade fairs is happening, gathering produce and people from 11 municipalities, ENORTE will be celebrated in the historic Rum capital of the island, Arucas, this weekend.

Illegal Trafficking: President of Gran Canaria “Animal Welfare” Association Investigated for Falsifying Export Certificates and Suspected Mistreatment of Animals

A rogue individual, living on Gran Canaria and operating an unlicensed and unregistered facility supposedly dedicated to animal welfare, has been referred by the Guardia Civil to the Canarian justice system for illegal trafficking and documentary falsification of certificates required for the safe transport of animals into the UK. The operation, she has run for nearly a decade, is suspected of collecting around a quarter of a million euros for this activity in just one 18 month period, keeping large numbers of unregistered animals in inadequate conditions, and illegally transporting animals from the island, without proper zoosanitary checks, across Europe by air, sea and land, destined for recipients in the United Kingdom.

 Between January 2021 and October 2022, the investigated Association irregularly exported 482 dogs to the United Kingdom
 The president of the Association falsified export certificates and presented them to the UK authorities.

Leaked documents raise further concerns about welfare in proposed Las Palmas octopus farm that would be first of its kind in the world

The proposal by Spanish multinational Nueva Pescanova to create the world’s first commercial octopus farm on Gran Canaria has generated a great deal of controversy. The company aims to produce one million octopuses a year for consumption worldwide, three times the number currently caught in the wild by Spanish fisheries. However, the project has been condemned by many scientists who regard the proposed method of killing the octopuses as “cruel”. Confidential documents obtained by the BBC reveal that the creatures would be killed using water as cold as -3°C, which many experts believe would result in a slow and stressful death.

Three Men Detained, without bail, for An Alleged Gang Rape, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Hotel

Three men were arrested and charged with sexual assault after having allegedly gang-raped a young woman in a hotel, in the Santa Catalina area of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Thursday, March 16, 2023. The woman, who is 21 years old, reported the incident at the hotel’s reception, claiming that she had been raped by the men and could not remember anything after accepting a drink from them.



Brits wanting to buy a property in the Canary Islands must first get a permit from the Ministry of Defence, after proving they do not have a criminal record

Brits wanting to buy a property in the Canary Islands must now get specific permission from Spain’s Ministry of Defence, since January 1, following Brexit, when British subjects officially went from being EU citizens to being considered foreigners. Under Spanish law, Third Country Nationals, like the British, who wish to purchase a house, or any other rustic or urban property, in areas and facilities designated of interest for national defence must get prior military authorisations before any sale can be completed. The simple fact is that the two Spanish archipelagos —The Balearics and The Canaries— are areas declared of interest for national defence, and as such, access to property is limited in the case of all foreigners who are not EU citizens. The law in question was established in March 1975, just months before the death of military dictator Franco, who sanctioned it, and it is still fully in force to this day.


The law in question (8/1975, of March 12) regulates all areas and facilities of interest to national defence and was brought into force by Royal Decree 689/1978 eight months before the Constitution of Spain was approved. It defines places that are especially relevant or sensitive for national security, considering it necessary to restrict or control access by outsiders. All frontier territories in Spain, including islands and islets, are designated “areas of restricted access to property by foreigners.”  Nearly 20% of Spain’s 8,000+ municipalities could be affected by this law, but in particular all of those in The Canary Islands and The Balearics would be included.
This in essence implies that any citizen of a third country needs approval from the Defence Ministry including Brits wanting to buy a flat, a house, any dwelling, premises or even a garage in the Canary Islands. And the authorisation must be prior to purchase, Dean of the College of Registrars for the province of Las Palmas, Rafael Robledo, has emphasised. In other words, these military permits are seen as a sine qua non condition for any sale, the latin legal term for “an indispensable and essential action requirement” prior to the closing of any sale of property, so it is not an action that can be performed retroactively, as with many other types of licence that some purchasers try to obtain afterwards, to do so in this case, theoretically, risks invalidating the sale.
The requirement is not only for individuals, but also for companies.
Both Private and Corporate property purchases require authorisation. Should a London-based multinational or investment fund seek real estate in the Canary Islands Archipelago, it would also need to request authorisation from the Ministry of Defence. This procedure was not required of Brits wanting to buy before December 31 2020, when they still retained all their rights as citizens of the European Union. But Brexit has had ever clearer consequences, not all of which have been fully appreciated from the outset.
All nationals of EU Member States, as well as those from Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, with whom there is a special agreement in place, are also considered nationals for the purposes of this law that regulates areas of interest for national defence. But since the UK is no longer a Member State, and furthermore, “There is no specific provision on civil cooperation” detailed in the London Withdrawal Agreement, says Enrique Maside, director of International Relations of the College of Registrars of Spain, “rules relating to the services and investment regime and liberalisation of capital movements in the agreement do not justify equal treatment of British citizens in the acquisition of real estate subject to restrictions for reasons of national defence”. In an article published by the College of Registrars Maside says that those who want to buy a second residence on the islands must first have military authorisation.
Two specific exceptions to the need for authorisation permits
There are in fact only two exceptions to this law, which would permit a British buyer to avoid having to apply for the military permit. If the property is already governed by a regional or local general management plan, that includes a favourable report from the Ministry of Defence, then this could already be covered by an implicit permit.  Or, if the property is in an area already covered by a preceding piece of legislation, Law 197/1963, which established areas of national tourist interest under the Franco regime, then this permit from the Ministry of Defence would also not be required, however there are very few such areas that were designated in the Canary Islands Archipelago. Those that were approved, on these islands, between 1964 and 1975 include just five areas on the island of Tenerife; and on Gran Canaria the Costa Tauritos, on the coast of the southwestern municipality of Mogán.
There is some debate as to whether the law will be enforced, or indeed if it will only applied to rural properties, as opposed to those designated as urban and under an appropriately approved general management plan, it is imperative that property purchasers seek accurate legal advice before entering into any contract to buy, and ensure that everything is being done correctly.  Even a notarised sale can be reversed if found to be lacking the correct authorisation, which would necessitate a reselling of the property once the correct paperwork had been obtained.  Those who have been verifiably residing in Spain, permanently, for more than 10 years, can also seek Spanish national status, though that in itself could take a minimum of six months to complete.  Which ever way you look at it there is a potential for added expense, that could be prohibitive if not handled correctly.
Criminal record
As well as this requirement, and until there is some sort of bilateral agreement between between the UK and Spain, Brits wanting to buy here on the islands will have to apply to the Ministry of Defence, including a full plan of the property and also a certificate that the buyer does not have a criminal record, which is seen as fundamental when it comes to dealing with issues of national defence. The British are among most prolific foreign buyers of houses in the region, although in recent years Italians purchasing property have rivalled them with equal numbers of purchases completed. Most British buyers have historically sought second homes for holidays and their use after retirement.

Ref: El Dia, Ultima Hora, Notaria Berrenechea, Canarias7

On another note: the impact of ‘Brexit’ on pharmacies
As the United Kingdom no longer belongs to the European Union, once other Brexit related change has also recently come to light, in connection to article 15 of Royal Decree 1718/2010, of December 17, which deals with medical prescription and dispensing orders. On the basis that prescriptions issued by doctors in the United Kingdom are now no longer valid for Spain. The Spanish Medicines Agency has pointed out that pharmacists may need to consult in order to minimise the impact of ‘Brexit’ as they may not be allowed to legally dispense to Brits without the correct paperwork in place.


The Canary News

€17.5m Canary Islands Rental Assistance aid package announced, accepting applications only until March 5

The Canary Islands Government Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing on Friday presented their new rental assistance aid package for 2020-21, through the Canarian Institute of Housing, with a budget of €17.5m in financing collaboration with the Ministry of Mobility, Transport and Urban Agenda. The subsidy is intended to guarantee access to rental housing for the most vulnerable sectors of the population in the Canary Islands as well as young people who wish to access their first properties. The applications call for this benefit package has been launched this Monday January 18, and is one of the first  new Housing Plan of the Canary Islands 2020-25 programs to be implemented.

The main recipients of this aid will be people of legal age and residents in Spain who have a rental contract for a home in the Canary Islands and who meet the stipulated rental price limits and certain income conditions. Within the applicant profiles, this aid will prioritise large or single-parent families; coexistence units that include victims of gender violence or coexistence units that include people with functional diversity, or registered disability, to a degree equal to or greater than 33%.
Sebastián Franquis from the Canary Islands Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing said “We are launching one of the most important programs for the Canary Islands Housing Plan because we not only build and rehabilitate housing, we also help families who are in a situation of social and economic vulnerability to pay part of their rent, and we are aware that the demand for housing in the Canary Islands is much higher ”.
The rental Assistance aid package subsidies will be divided into two lines of aid, on the one hand, for general rent and for those over 65 for which the government can subsidise up to 40% of the rent, or 50% in the event that all the people in the family unit are over 65 years of age. On the other hand, there are rental subsidies available for people under 35 years of age, who may be subsidised up to 50% of their rent for the property and, exceptionally, dependent persons over 35 years of age who may live in it.
Those who qualify as beneficiaries can be subsidised on rental receipts for the period starting January 1, 2020 through until December 31, 2021.  Franquis recalled that “it will be an essential requirement” to indicate in the application for these grants, which of the two types is being applied for (general rental aid and for those over 65 years of age or aid for those under 35 years of age) to be able to proceed with assessment by the Canarian Housing Institute (ICAVI).
In order to apply for this aid, the income of the coexistence unit must be equal to or less than 3 times the IPREM (Public Indicator of Multiple Effects Income) except for certain specific cases, such as large families or those with members with functional diversity, where the income allowable may reach 4 or 5 times the IPREM.
Request method
Applications for the rental assistance aid package can be submitted starting from January 18 through to March 5 both in person and online through the Canarian Housing Institute or at the offices of the Canarian Chambers of Commerce, with which an agreement has been reached for the provision of services for this applications call for rental assistance. Faced with the current Covid-19 health crisis and in order to achieve agile and efficient processing, the ICAVI will prioritise telematic applications for which wide coverage of care has already been prepared. For this modality, anyone who do not have an electronic signature certificate or electronic ID can register without difficulty using the “Cl@ve Permanente” system or by calling 012, dependent on the Government of the Canary Islands, to request this process.
In the event that face-to-face presentation is chosen, it will preferably take place at the offices of the Canarian Chambers of Commerce or the Canary Islands Housing Institute (ICAVI) upon request for a prior appointment by calling 012, or at any of the records provided for in the regulations of the administrative procedure. General information, on the form and presentation of applications, can be obtained on the ICAVI website (, by calling 012, or at the Canary Islands Chambers of Commerce.
The participation of the Chamber of Commerce is part of an agreement signed with the four chamber organisations in the Archipelago that establishes that the Chambers will be collaborating entities for the provision of collection services for the requests of citizens who demand general rental assistance, expanding the staff and technical resources for the Canarian Housing Institute.
Franquis pointed out that the Government of the Canary Islands “is working on a preliminary project, which is being developed by the Ministry of Social Services, where it is foreseen that within the “Income for Citizenship” a supplement for housing will be created,” adding that “the objective is for this aid to form part of that complement, therefore, it could be the last call for this subsidy, since it is desirable that it becomes an economic benefit that is paid monthly.”

There are many who provide services and help to the English Speaking community when trying to negotiate paperwork and social services applications.  We do not hesitate in recommending Nicky Gordon of Ask Nicky, who has shown her commitment and effectiveness in assisting non-Spanish speakers in trying to navigate through often confusing procedures, she is professional, well connected, honest and charges only a modest fee.  Why not give her a call or contact her through her Facebook page…


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The Canary News, Views & Sunshine - Est. 2009

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