The problem of holiday rentals in residential zones continues in Lanzarote as in many parts of Spain, but here’s what you can do about it.
Holidays are great. You can stay out all night, drink as much as you want, stagger home in the early hours, maybe even have a late-night party. Unfortunately, this isn’t so great for neighbours who have to get up and work or go to school early the following morning.
For many years this wasn’t much of a problem – Spain kept its tourists in hotels or special complexes and its residential home owners elsewhere. The problems arose when some of those residents realised that it would be lucrative to rent out their apartments, and estate agents realised that this could turn properties into attractive investment prospects.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but the Canarian law on rentals – which bans holiday lets in tourist zones – remains inadequate and has been successfully challenged on several occasions. If you’re a rental owner, you’re advised to get legal advice about your activity, and to ensure all income is declared to the tax authorities.
On the other hand, if you’re a resident who’s fed up of noisy tourists, your first port of call will be the Community of Owners, which has the right to ban holiday rentals if the vote is carried by 60% or more of owners. Before last year this law required a unanimous vote, which rarely occurred for obvious reasons. However, if you already have a tourist licence for your apartment (unlikely on Lanzarote), it cannot be withdrawn.
This law is based on the Spanish equivalent of the English legal concept of quiet enjoyment – the owner’s right to peace and quiet in their living place.
Communities can also vote to increase the quota (the annual amount each owner pays for shared services) for owners who are renting. This also makes sense, as tourists may use certain shared property, such as swimming pools, more than residents.
If noise and disturbance is a continuous problem, then more drastic measures including complaints about noise pollutions may be made. In this case it would be highly advisable to seek legal assistance.