1st Jan 2024 @ 6:00 am

The Canarian tourism minister, Jessica De León, has announced that the regional government will present the white paper for a proposed new housing law in late January. Although the contents of the law are as yet unknown, it seems that controls on holiday rentals – especially in residential areas – are likely.

In a press conference last month, De León stated that the unregulated and unlimited growth of holiday rentals is affecting Canarian residents who are, in some areas, forced to pay “exorbitant” prices for rental accommodation.

She pointed out the “regrettable” situation in which workers are unable to find reasonably priced accommodation, which is not only making it difficult to find employment on the islands but is also causing staff shortages.

To tackle the issue, the Canarian Government carried out a public consultation on a future Law on Sustainable Planning to regulate tourist use of housing. 5,400 people responded to the consultation with comments, complaints and suggestions.

“Tourism is a transversal activity that affects everything and is also, at the moment, affecting housing,” said De León. The drafting of the law will take into account “everyone”, she claimed, and will be ready by the end of January, after which the process of approval in parliament will begin.

The minister claimed that there had been a change in the tourism model, with more tourists staying in Airbnb-type accommodation in zones where they rarely stayed previously. This, in addition with the desire for workers to live in the resorts where they work, had caused “confrontation”.

A comment that holiday rentals located in residential areas “drive up rents” gives a suggestion of the measures that the proposed new law may contain. De León also blamed a “poor national housing law” that had contributed to 40% of housing to leave the residential market in the Canaries in recent years.

“We are beginning to see response and rejection”, she said, claiming that the regional government should act in a “preventive” manner. “Looking the other way is not an “option”, she added.

Nevertheless, De León also stressed that this was not an anti-tourist measure, pointing out that 80% of the Canarians consider that tourism “has been good or very good” for the development of the islands.

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