Existing Properties in Gran Canaria subject to new Tourist Planning Regulations

  • Leocricia
    Leocricia
    Leocricia has represented English-speaking clients in Gran Canaria since 1990. Now with over 20 years experience , she runs a multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary team of lawyers with offices in Las Palmas and Maspalomas. Services include Real Estate law, Contract Law, Inheritances, Debt Recovery, Medical Negligence and Tax & Fiscal Support to businesses.

Background

Over the last decade, various laws have been enacted in order to protect the tourist industry in Gran Canaria. However, many of these laws did not have the impact hoped for, since in order to be effective, they required a level of investment that the tourism industry was not willing, or able, to make.

For this reason, the necessity arose for the planning system to be overhauled to ensure that any new buildings constructed in areas designated as “touristic” would be restricted to use for this purpose. It was purely on this basis that such buildings received planning permission, and indeed, the most sought after or privileged areas were restricted to building for touristic use.  

All of the above was contained in Law 2/2013 as modified by Law 9/2015, and which amongst other things, states, in Article 3(c):

“Avoid, and where necessary correct any residential use of buildings in areas of touristic use.“

New Modernisation Plan

The Town hall of San Bartolome De Tirajana  is in the process of modernizing the entire area zoned for tourism (including Bahía Feliz, San Agustín, Playa Del Ingles, Maspalomas). but it has come across apartment buildings that are being used not for tourism purposes, but rather for long-term rentals (hotel employees, restaurants, mixed-business) or homes used by their owners. There are buildings that require extensive refurbishment, and despite the laws that have been approved to improve these touristic areas, the result is one that not been expected.

Despite the fact that Law 17/1967 does not establish that the use of property can be affected by future planning regulations and that those buildings that were constructed before 1996 were not subject to any restriction for use as residential properties, Law 2/2013, Article 75(12) renders as a serious infraction, “use for residential purposes and therefore non-compliance with a planning restriction that designates an area as for touristic use solely,”.

Sanctions

Upon failure to comply with the established use intended by the original planning approval, property owners may be sanctioned to the extent permitted by Law 2/2013 and, where the planning approval permitted mixed residential and touristic use, such owners may be required to adapt their facilities in order to comply with the building quality standards that reach an excellent and eco-efficient level, as proposed under the legislation.

The preamble to Law 9/2015 expresses it as follows:..”the necessity that the planning process promotes the correction of the process of conversion to residential use in touristic zones, on the one hand, declaring the requirement to adjust to touristic use, being the use that the planning approval was originally conferred to many buildings, that have converted in practice, and without authorisation, to residential complexes: and on the other hand, establishing the criteria by which the most optimal and privileged zones are restricted to touristic use, additionally regulating supposed compatibility exceptions, permitting and facilitating the reconversion of specific residential buildings, with due authorisation, into villas or any other tourism product that will enhance those specific destinations.

As a result, all those who are not in agreement with the content of the new Planning Guidelines and who consider that their rights are infringed by the approval of the new Urban Plan, should present their allegations at the PGOU, before September 30th, 2015.

Conclusion

This is the current situation and we will see how matters progress after the ‘public hearings’ phase. However the Town Hall has stated that property owners should not be alarmed, that they do not wish to take anything away from private owners, though the plan is approved and nothing can be ruled out. That said, they are required to apply the law, and if a complaint is received by a Tourist Operator, the would be obliged to act.

Client Testimonials

Below is a list of recent reviews received from our clients, obtained via the Wufoo client survey platform:

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    David W Baker, Malaga
    Tuesday, November 06, 2018
    We were extremely satisfied with Alvaro: He explained the law to us and gave us a solution to our problem. He could not have been more helpful and we will definitely use him again.
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    Thom Koller, London
    Monday, November 05, 2018
    Francisca provided a perfect service!

    She is professional, dedicated and took care to understand the needs of my situation. Her service offers exceptional value for money and gives complete peace o...f mind.
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    Michael O'Sullivan, Ibiza
    Thursday, November 01, 2018
    Understanding Spanish law regarding buying and selling properties is a minefield for English speakers. Cristina provided the legal expertise, the translation of legal documents, explanations for all i...ssues, and solutions for our challenges.

    Also, she provides confidence and reassurance that what we are doing is in our best interests and within the law - very important when working in a foreign country.

    In summary, she is an excellent professional that we are so pleased we found and will continue to use for all our legal matters.

    I think you have a perfect solution for supporting people abroad. I was lucky to find you on the internet. Perhaps you could promote your services to all estate agents abroad, so more people can get access to your service when buying or selling abroad.
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    Colin Wilson, Australia
    Tuesday, October 30, 2018
    Overall it was great. Rosa always answered all questions asked and provided clear, concise and well explained answers.

    When there was a delay in responding she did offer an apology which was appre...ciated. Rosa always instilled a sense of confidence that she knew exactly what was going on, what I was asking, and what the applicable law was.

    When not a Spanish local and dealing with her remotely, this provided great comfort in a sensitive matter.
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    Campbell Reynolds, Spain
    Monday, October 22, 2018
    We were very satisfied with the service provided by our lawyer Sabela.

    She was very accomodating, quick response to everything while thinking outside the box for solutions. Also, her English was mo...re or less fluent.
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    David Edwards, England
    Wednesday, October 17, 2018
    Very Satisfied with the service provided by Oliver. He was quick, efficient and value for money. Would definitely recommend to friends.
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    Andrew Morecroft, Lubrin
    Monday, October 15, 2018
    Juan was extremely helpful during every part of the purchase. As I was buying an older property there were slight complications but Juan explained every issue and managed to work through the difficult...ies with supreme efficiency.

    Also there was a ridiculous situation with my Spanish bank account where I could not access the money even though it was in the account. Thankfully I had given Juan power of attorney and he managed to sort-out the problem.

    He went above and beyond the call of duty and I am very grateful for all his help. I would strongly recommend him to anyone looking to buy in the Almeria region.
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    Manoochehr Jafari-Nahad, UAE
    Saturday, October 13, 2018
    Jose-Antonio was extremely helpful and prompt and also it was helpful that he could be contacted via social media like Whatsapp
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    Michele Jansen van Vuuren, Benajarafe
    Saturday, October 13, 2018
    Alvaro was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more. Very quick to respond to my query.

    Only issue was that some of the documents I needed to provide were not mentioned. However, would defini...tely recommend his services to friends.
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    John Fraser Dunfield, San Francisco
    Friday, October 12, 2018
    Good understanding. Applied sufficient pressure as needed to get the issue resolved. Reasonable charge for service provided. Would definitely recommend this service to friends.
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    Rosemarie Byrne and John Cooper, Dublin Ireland
    couple
    Tuesday, October 09, 2018
    We found Francisca extremely helpful with a great amount of knowledge about buying a house and re-locating to Spain.
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    Jane Evanson, London, UK
    female
    Tuesday, October 09, 2018
    Francisco was very helpful and professional. I was very happy with the advice and service.
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    David McChesney, Puerto Banus
    Wednesday, October 03, 2018
    Alvaro was very professional, Knowledgeable of the subject at hand, did not over-charge - in fact cut costs in the best way for me. Very efficient in the entire process. Thank you.
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    Martha Kimes, Scottsdale, Arizona USA
    female
    Tuesday, October 02, 2018
    Francisco was incredibly responsive (and quickly).

    Unlike American attorneys (and I know, because I am one), he didn't even bill me for a few follow-up emails/calls that he made on my behalf which... he easily could have done.

    I was supremely happy with his legal services.
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    David Roots, England
    Monday, October 01, 2018
    We were very satisfied with the service we received. Rosa dealt with the matter in hand promptly and efficiently.
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    David Knors, Barcelona
    Wednesday, September 26, 2018
    Oscar was very kind, professional and fair. He was able to help me with my problem and he was very determined that he would.

    Oscar is very competent, polite and showed a lot of effort to solve my ...problem. I strongly recommend him.
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    Tauri, Estonia
    female
    Tuesday, September 25, 2018
    Very satisfied with the service. Francisco is bilingual English-Spanish and was always quick to respond and was very professional at all times.
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    Mohamed kheder, Dublin, Ireland
    Monday, September 24, 2018
    Every thing was great ... Rosa was really helpful and understanding. And I see the value for money was good enough.. of course I would recommend it to any of my friends.

    And I would like to have th...e chance to thank Rosa and the whole company for everything.
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    Daniel Elias, New York
    Tuesday, September 18, 2018
    Excellent service, delivered exactly as promised, and at half the cost a different translator had requested for the same project!
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    Darren & Gemma Nesbitt, Valencia
    Tuesday, September 11, 2018
    Inmaculada has been of excellent service to us, as a family and in helping to set up a business in Spain. She has now undertaking several project for us and has delivered high quality on all of them. ...Perfect service!
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    Patsy Valentin, Granada
    Tuesday, September 11, 2018
    Extremely accommodating and highly professional and very pro active. Excellent result and service. Highly recommended.
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    Jovie, Malaga
    Wednesday, September 05, 2018
    My lawyer Alvaro was extremely helpful and very efficient. I would definitely recommend his services to friends.
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    Albert Roldan, France
    Tuesday, September 04, 2018
    Alfonso was extremely helpful, particularly since we requested a quick turnaround for the 18 documents needing to be translated from English and French to Spanish.

    He was fluent in our phone conver...sations and email correspondence, he never misunderstood what our requirements were. He was was clear in explaining how this process works and what the price included.

    I would highly recommend him to anyone needing these services.
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    David Grundy, UK
    Friday, August 24, 2018
    Jose was very polite and we received an excellent service from him. Nothing was to much trouble and his communication was 2nd to none. Highly recommended!
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    Mario Klappholz, Miami, Florida
    Thursday, August 16, 2018
    Inma was very helpful, always happy to assist. I particularly appreciated her professionalism. I would not hesitate to recommend her services to friends.
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    Daniel Spitzhorn, Spain
    Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    Miguel in Oviedo helped us during the process of buying a flat in Asturias. He was just brilliant!
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    Tracey Iliffe Bradley, UK
    female
    Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    Rosa dealt with everything efficiently and promptly and went beyond our expectations by helping us to open a Spanish bank account and deal with other minutiae.
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    Erslaan Ahmed, Bangladesh
    Friday, August 10, 2018
    Gave very good advice and provided an excellent solution. Inma is very professional in her work. I would recommend her services to friends.
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    John Ryan, Derby, England
    Wednesday, August 08, 2018
    A perfect relationship between client and professional. Nothing was too much trouble.

    Went over and above his job and more. I would only use his services if I need legal services. I were very lucky... to find Jose first time round.

    Thank you jose
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    Robert Brownlee, Almeria, Spain
    Wednesday, August 08, 2018
    Everything was as it should be: excellent. Had to pay by bank transfer and maybe would have liked another means of paying.

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