- LeocriciaLeocricia 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.
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,”.
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.
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.
Below is a list of recent reviews received from our clients, obtained via the Wufoo client survey platform:
- David Stack, Lliria, SpainThursday, June 21, 2018Francisca was extremely helpful. She made the whole process easy to understand. I would definitely recommend her service to friends.
- Susanna Buckley, United KingdomWednesday, June 20, 2018Lidia is very approachable and friendly and I never felt that anything was a problem.
She was also very sympathetic to my situation (my mother had passed away) and supportive. As soon as she was c...ontracted, she acted quickly to sort things out so that I could return home to the UK as soon as possible.
She always tried her best to answer any questions very quickly and promptly and matters proceeded without too much worry on my part.
- Wendy Dickson, MarbellaTuesday, June 19, 2018It was all done very quick. Very good value for money. How easy it all was to communicate via email.
- Peter & Anita Bradshaw, Leeds, EnglandMonday, June 18, 2018We could not be more happy with the service we received from Jaime.
He responded immediately to our enquiry and it was clear from the outset that he fully understood our position. It was vital tha...t Jaime acted quickly in this matter and he did so in a highly professional and competent manner, providing us with clear and concise updates throughout.
We found Jaime to be very polite and approachable and we believe his fees to be very reasonable. We would genuinely not hesitate to recommend his services.
Before contacting Jaime, our previous experiences of Spanish Lawyers had been appalling - in fact we needed Jaime's help to resolve issues which previous Lawyers had created. Our only regret is not finding Jaime sooner!
Thanks so much for all your help Jaime.
- Jan Neate, NerjaWednesday, May 30, 2018Very satisfied with the service provided by Beatriz. She extremely helpful and spoke more or less fluent English. We would definitely recommend her to friends.
- Serena Bhatia, LondonWednesday, May 30, 2018Anna has been nothing but helpful in providing information, sound advice and genuine care, My fiancé and I adore her! She is timely, professional and extremely knowledgeable about world wide law.
- Ronald Peter Downs, SpainTuesday, May 29, 2018A lady staff member took us under her wing and managed to sort out my residency. Overall no complaints.
- Tracey and Mike Iliffe Bradley, Colchester, United KingdomTuesday, May 29, 2018From our very first contact through to the end of our purchase, Rosa surpassed all expectations.
She was helpful, efficient, always quick to return our communications and a pleasure to deal with. ...We have already recommended her services to a friend.
- Cheryl, SevilleMonday, May 28, 2018Miguel was helpful and kind. We will use his service in the future.
- Ken & Margaret, TorreviejaThursday, May 24, 2018Pedro was extremely helpful, he couldn't have done more. We would definitely recommend his services to friends.
- Rl, AlicanteThursday, May 24, 2018Felt very comfortable at all times. Nothing was too much. Understood everything mentioned in our meeting. Very reasonable rate, money wise.
- KL, Valencia, SpainWednesday, May 23, 2018Inma is easy to talk to, is prompt in replying to emails, is helpful and above all achieved the solution I wanted.
- MF, LanzaroteMonday, May 21, 2018My lawyer Cristina was extremely understanding , friendly and reassuring. With Cristina on my side, it gave me confidence to continue.
- RA, ParisFriday, May 18, 2018The service I needed wasn't complex, just verification of documents, but the service was rapid, friendly and exactly what I needed.My lawyer Julia was bilingual.
- Sham Naib, Callao Salvaje, TenerifeFriday, May 18, 2018My lawyer Oliver was very helpful, always happy to assist. He professionally checked the law before dispensing advice.
- Smith, FranceFriday, May 18, 2018Caroline is bilingual and was very helpful throughout. There is nothing I would suggest to improve. I was very happy with the service and would definitely recommend to friends.
- SJ Thiele,Tuesday, May 15, 2018Inma was very helpful and we were very satisfied with the service overall. We would definitely recommend her services to friends.
- John Stecher, EnglandTuesday, May 15, 2018Very satisfied with the service received. OUr lawyer was very easy and straightforward to deal with. Would definitely recommend to friends.
- Cian O'Grady, IrelandTuesday, May 15, 2018We bought a property in spain and Lidia assisted us through the buying process.
She was very professional and reassured us throughout the process.Her english was very good and we felt that we got ...good value for our money.
- PJU, Torun, PolandWednesday, May 09, 2018Béatriz responded quickly to any queries I raised, with easily comprehensible answers.
Her fee was very reasonable and she proved to be a very personable and approachable person when we finally m...et at the Notary.
- Barry Gracey, Melbourne, AustraliaMonday, May 07, 2018I found Jaime helpful and responded promptly to my emails. I was very happy with the service provided and if needed would use him in the future
- Geraldine King, IrelandMonday, May 07, 2018I was extremely happy with Pedro,and Ana. They were honest,and answered my queries promptly.
Pedro had to evict my squatter tenants, and then organised an estate agent to sell my apt. This agent un...dertook renovating the apt, and got me a good price.
Pedro and his brilliant co-worker Ana finalised the sale and I received the money into my account, without me ever setting a foot in Spain.(Power of attorney).
I will be recommending Pedro to friends, who are going to sell their apartment in Torrevieja. I highly recommend him.
- Joy Ellis, SanxenxoTuesday, May 01, 2018Sabela was extremely professional in her dealings with us, very patient and understanding of the situation and gave very good advice and a good solution to our problem.
We feel very confident that... she has dealt with the complaint against a third party and know that if we need any further assistance in this matter she will be more than able to resolve it for us.
She responded immediately to our contact and arranged a meeting on site to enable us to explain fully the problem we had.
- Caroline R, BarcelonaTuesday, April 24, 2018Miguel has been great!
His English is excellent, he explains everything clearly, emails when he says he will, and is very efficient in the service he provides.
I'd definitely recommend him to ...friends.
- George Salib, LondonMonday, April 23, 2018Jose Antonio was very professional and has assisted me in every step of the purchase of my flat in Alicante.
He also assisted me by advising of the most suitable area according to my needs. His com...mitment and dedication is excellent.
Jose Antonio was very easy to approach and happy to help in any way he can.
I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends.
- Liezl Pulido, PhilippinesMonday, April 23, 2018Rosa never stopped working very hard, she went way above what she needed to do...she never gave up on me and always did more than I thought anyone would.
I am so blessed I got Rosa to help me I co...uldn't have gotten a better lawyer she's the best.
Thank you Rosa from the bottom of my heart you are a wonderful person, I am so grateful to you.
- KJB, United KingdomFriday, April 20, 2018Francisco was professional and efficient. Very good value for money.
- Duncan Martin, Wolverhampton, EnglandFriday, April 20, 2018Lidia, was extremely helpful and patient throughout the process.
She was very attentive and responsive and explained everything in detail.
Lidia represents excellent value for money and the so...lutions she recommended were very beneficial, especially as you hear and read about a lot of horror stories on the web.
Lidia was the best legal representative i have employed and i will always use her where Spanish legal affairs are concerned.
- Julie Smith, TorrellanoFriday, April 20, 2018I can't compliment my solicitor enough.
From our initial meeting right through to my ultimate divorce (with no unpleasant surprises the entire duration of the entire process), he immediately respo...nded to my many enquiries, always had mine and my daughter's best interests at the forefront of any considerations and was well worth every penny of his extremely reasonable fee.
Excellent value for money, totally approachable and very professional and understanding. I highly recommend him and will continue to retain his services for other matters in the future.
- SH, EnglandFriday, April 20, 2018Very satisfied with the service provided. Miguel was approachable and prompt in replying.