Apartment owners being fined €2,250 for renting them privately over Christmas

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 26-12-2023
  • Gran Canaria
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Apartment owners being fined €2,250 for renting them privately over Christmas

Property owners in the Canary Islands who have apartments on complexes classified as for ‘holidays’ and don’t make it available for the letting agent in charge of the complex are receiving fines of 2,250 euros this Christmas. An owner in the south of Gran Canaria has gone to the Spanish press to voice his opinion on this situation after he got a fine for using his apartment for private use and not for the exploitation company.

JSA, who prefers to safeguard his full name because he is fighting for this cause and the case against him, says that the defenceless situation he finds himself in is unfair and out of date.

He inherited his apartment from his father, who bought it in the 1960s when tourism had not even taken off in the Canary Islands and Playa del Inglés had not become over run with non-hotel properties. However, this is not an isolated case as these sanctions have been being issued for months and Maribé Doreste, president of the “Platform for People Affected by the Tourism Law”, cannot cope with advising the large number of affected families.

Earlier this year, the group appealed against the Insular Planning Plan (PIO) of Gran Canaria because it understands that it favours the tour operators and letting agents, and not the property owners being able to use these properties.

At the same time, they continue to fight in Parliament for a reform of the Canary Islands Tourism Renewal and Modernization Law of 2013 and its subsequent regulations, which included the “principle of unit of exploitation.”

This in practice means that the owners of apartments on ‘holiday’ complexes are not allowed to rent it on their own privately, as a single operating company must take charge. It also states that these apartments must be governed by the use established in the municipal planning plan and harms those who want to live in it as they are not classed as for residential use.

Maribé Doreste summarises that what these sanctions are saying is that “if you have a property or a home, you have to dedicate it to tourist use, but you cannot do it yourself except through a letting agent who uses your apartment to earn money and pay you a nominal fee, not the market rate.”

More than 40,000 families affected in the Canary Islands

Doreste claims that there are about 40,000 families affected by this situation, and the fines are hitting those hard in the south of Gran Canaria, but they may soon reach other areas of family apartments on the other islands.

Each case has to be looked at individually to determine the classification of complex, the exploitation company, if the owner is living in it, or whether they are renting it out privately, which carries the biggest fines of up to 9,000 euros.

The 2013 tourism rule does have a loophole for people residing in their property if they have lived there before, January 1st, 2017. If the owner, not a tenant, has lived there before this date they are not obliged to give it up to a letting agent. However, any time after this date, they are.

The Ministry of Tourism does not consider this resource nor does it accept its arguments as valid and emphasises that the use of that land according to current planning is for tourism and that the property is registered as part of a tourist complex.