Draft law on short-term rentals in the Canary Islands: something doesn't add up.

Draft law on short-term rentals in the Canary Islands

Let's talk about the proposed draft

The draft law on tourist rentals in the Canary Islands, presented to the public on April 3rd, sparked heated and conflicting reactions: on the one hand the hoteliers, who uncorked the bottle in the face of the (temporary) annihilation of their "adversaries", on the other the owners of VV (Holiday Experiences), who felt under deliberate attack and profoundly violated their fundamental rights.

These are the two sides of the coin, which in the dozens of articles published on the Web and on social media are exalted, in one direction or the other, to ignite hearts and gather consensus and likes.

It is obvious that everyone has their own opinion and the same goes for journalists and bloggers.

But to obtain a realistic picture of the situation you should put aside, at least for a moment, your own ideas (albeit legitimate) and limit yourself to observing the facts for what they are.

This is what we will try to do in this article, therefore: observe both sides of the coin to identify reasons and inconsistencies.

Two sides of the coin

Let's start immediately with those who argue that this law limits the freedom of business and the owner's right to dispose of his apartment as he sees fit.

If the regulation of a sector is equivalent to the limitation of freedom of enterprise then I have news: even hotel entrepreneurs are denied freedom of enterprise.

In fact, owning a building is not enough to create a hotel: the hotel business is, however, subject to numerous restrictions and regulations that govern its development.

The key point here is to determine whether and to what extent, therefore, the limitations imposed by the new law on VVs are acceptable in a context of free competition, but this will be decided by the technicians and we will certainly have the opportunity to find out in the coming months.

On the other side of the coin there are those who argue that VV is the main cause of the shortage of residential rentals on the market; among these, apparently, the promoter of this legislative initiative himself.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to read the draft text of the law will have noticed the presence of two mantra that accompany the text in each of its paragraphs: the right to have a "decent, adequate and affordable home” and the inevitable “fight against climate change”, which, I fear, we will have to learn to live with in the coming years in any area of our lives.

In short, a law that seems more oriented towards solving the world's problems than local ones, regulating the most important economic sector of the Canary Islands, which with its 40% of GDP generates almost half of the archipelago's wealth and gives work to dozens of thousands of residents.

Therefore, instead of a rule aimed at promoting the sustainable development of a sector in which illegal activity and uncontrolled diffusion should be fought, a sort of sentence has been issued condemning it to rapid extinction.

In fact, anyone with a basic knowledge of this sector cannot help but wonder about the inconsistencies present in the standard. It is not the scope of this article to examine them all in detail, but I would like to provide at least a couple of points for reflection, which everyone can then explore independently.

So what are they proposing:

Let's start with the minimum sizes required, which range from 39 m2 useful for one guest, to 44 m2 for two guests and, at the end, 60 m2 for an "average" family, made up of parents and two children. Aside from the fact that 60 useful m2 is equivalent - in the best case scenario - to around 70 commercial m2, the question is the following: how many VVs today have a surface area of at least 70 m2?

Those who know what we are talking about know the answer well, given that both the bungalows in classic complexes with swimming pools and the studios in city buildings average around 40-45 m2 to say the least.

So what will happen to these apartments? Following the (idea)logic of ours Council of Tourism and Employment they should end up on the residential market. But would this therefore be their idea of a "dignified and adequate home"? 45 m2 for a family of 4, given that there are no minimum surfaces for residential rental, other than those contemplated in the habitability condition?

But let's get to the second mantra: to save the planet it is required that properties intended for VV must have a minimum energy classification of class C or B, depending on the year of construction. Obviously they must be equipped with heating and cooling systems (A/C) with minimum energy class "A".


In summary: in a region where, in homes, heating and air conditioning systems are often a plus, it is required by law that not only these systems must be present, but that the property must also be able to guarantee maximum consumption efficiency .

The list of inconsistencies and absurdities contained in this bill is still long, enough to think that - if there is a shred of common sense left in this distorted society - a very different text will be published on the BOE from the one we have read and studied in recent days.

The debate (so as not to use the term "war", which in these times is best avoided as much as possible) is therefore open and rather heated. We just have to follow him and hope that, in the end, reason prevails over the brisk ideology of a policy that is, today more than ever, highlighting all its inadequacy.

Article by Marco Sparicius Canary Islands Real Estate Consultant

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