1st Dec 2023 @ 6:00 am

The Canarian Government has approved the formation of a new Housing Law, which may have far-reaching consequences for the future of holiday rentals on the islands.

The local parliament faces a problem with many interests at stake. Firstly, there is a housing crisis which is placing affordable accommodation out of reach for many thousands of islanders. It’s a crisis that is having an increasing effect on the economy of the islands, as hotels and other employers have trouble finding staff.

Secondly, there are thousands of Canarian owners of second properties who wish to make a bit of money by renting holiday accommodation. They do so because it’s more lucrative and less likely to lead to long-term commitments, although it is also harder work.

Add to this a hotel lobby that has always resisted the competition it perceived from holiday rentals, and decades of unclear legislation, and you have a difficult problem that the Canarian Government appears determined to finally tackle.

Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, the General Director of Tourism Planning for the Canaries, recently announced “There has to be planning to determine where holiday rentals should be located and there has to be, above all, a balance between freedom of business, the right to housing, respect for the quality of life of citizens and respect for urban planning”.

Rodríguez says that the issue has far more to do with tourism, claiming that pricing people out of resorts and city centres means that new educational and health facilities have to be provided, and that workers who live further from their places of employment will also use more transport and fuel.

Rodríguez claims that attracting tourists is no longer a priority: “We already have so many tourists that tourist satisfaction is not increasing but rather decreasing, and therefore we are less competitive.”

Referring to the boom in holiday rentals that has been accompanied by platforms such as AirBnB, he said “Once, the problem was the residentialisation of tourist areas; now it’s the touristification of residential areas,” Rodríguez added.

However, ASCAV, the Canarian Association for Holiday Rentals, has warned the Canarian Government to take care with its legislation, claiming that “2 billion Euros a year” is raised by holiday rentals, and pointing out that this money is made in the Canaries and remains there.

The law is currently at a pre-draft stage when public representations are being sought. The Canarian Government hopes that the new law will be in place by June 2024.

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