Brits with Canary Islands holiday homes hit with £2k fines due to little-known rule | World | News

Brits with homes in the Canary Islands have been hit with huge fines for refusing to rent them out.

Holiday homeowners in Gran Canaria received fines of £2,000 when they stayed in their properties rather than renting them to tourists.

They are required by law to rent out the “tourist class” apartments to holidaymakers through a registered tourist operator. Such spaces are intended for short-term use only.

It has prompted protests across the island from those who want to use their second homes in tourist areas as their main home or holiday getaway.

Those hit by fines have said that the government is being pressured into the fines by tourist operators due to residential use of holiday homes reducing beds for tourists by almost 70,000.

Irishman John Hefferman was furious when he arrived at the holiday home in Gran Canaria he bought 13 years ago to find a £1,930 fine waiting for him. 

He is one of 400 homeowners said to have been sanctioned over the past few months.

He told island newspaper Canarias 7: “We have paid the fine but the thing about it is that it’s a bit unfair. 

“We believe that the fines are suspended for people who did appeal it but we did not have an opportunity to appeal it because we didn’t receive it in time.

“The other issue is that we find this very worrying. We bought this apartment to spend our winter months out here and our family come here as well. If we can’t do that maybe we have to sell it. Certainly this apartment will be devalued if this rule is enforced.

“We are very worried about the future of this. It’s unfair. I don’t understand why this is happening after 13 years of enjoying this place.”

Hundreds of people demonstrated last September in Gran Canaria against the government’s decision to impose fines as part of a legal conflict linked to the 2013 Tourism Law.

Maribe Doreste, vice-president of a ‘Platform for People Affected by the Tourism Law’, has branded it a ‘constitutional violation of the jurisprudence of Spain’s Supreme Court regarding the right to property and free residence.’

This comes as locals on the Canary Islands hit out against tourists, with recent graffiti reading ‘tourists go home’, ‘your paradise, our misery’, and ‘average salary in Canary Islands €1,200.’ 

In 2023, Tenerife received 5.6million visitors, up 600,000 compared to 2019, setting a new record. 

Now, locals are furious that holidaymakers are turning their paradise island into a ‘tourism ghetto’ thanks to soaring rents, inflation and yobbish behaviour.

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