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Holiday Lettings “as they’re worried inspectors will catch up with them”, says Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies, its head of communications. A number have stopped letting, and others are trying to sell their homes, which is problematic in a depressed market, in which many places have been repossessed by the banks.


Any advice?


Contact a good English-speaking lawyer. José Escobedo (www.escobedo. net) is appealing on behalf of several British owners, and getting fi nes reduced dramatically. He advises owners on ‘“touristic” schemes to take the following steps:


• Check who the licence-holder is. The local Cabildo [government administration offi ce] lists them, and for no cost you can get this information in writing)


• If a company is acting already on site, fi nd out the rental conditions


• If there isn’t a licence-holder, hold an annual meeting with other owners to apply to reactivate the licence


THE LAWYER - JOSÉ ESCOBEDO


If you’re on a “residential” site, you can consider letting full-time.


What will happen?


Escobedo thinks the law might be amended and some complexes’ licence status could be readdressed. “Top politicians enforcing the law aren’t being fl exible at the moment, but there are a number of problems, including proving someone’s letting simply from an internet ad, the level of fi nes and the abusive monopoly of one managing company per complex.”


THE AGENT


Michelle Holt, who comes from Essex, has been running a management company for seven years on Tenerife which helps to maintain and clean holiday rental homes. She’s angry that she’s been hit with a £53,000 fi ne for helping people to rent out their homes, because she’s not a registered sole agent on a “touristic” complex and is therefore deemed to be breaking the 1995 law. “I’m fi ghting the fi ne,” she says, “as there is no proof I’ve been renting. The government’s produced copies of ads on my own website and property portals, but it is easy to hack or change an entry online.”


Lawyer José Escobedo is appealing to get her fi ne reduced, and she is concerned about her business, which employs fi ve local Canarians, and how she will support her children, aged six and nine. “The law should be changed, so each individual can get a licence and rent out their homes as they wish,” she adds.


THE OWNER - ED SUTTON THE OWNER


Eight years ago, Ed Sutton, a consultant in the electrical industry from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, bought a studio fl at on the beach near La Caleta on Tenerife’s west coast for £100,000. He spent £6,000 doing up his holiday home in the 20-year-old complex to use with his wife, Nia, also 54, and children, Chloe, 29, and William, 27. “After an agent asked if we’d like to rent, we put our


fl at on Owners Direct and got 70 per cent occupancy, turning over about £8,000 a year,” says Ed. But after an inspector spotted the ad on the holiday lettings site, Ed said a letter came through the post last April, saying he’d been fi ned £15,000. “I was very resentful, as no warning to change our ways was sent beforehand.”


Ed, who has hired the lawyer José Escobedo to appeal on his behalf, feels the authorities are hounding homeowners and “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut in a cynical money-making exercise. There’s also a dispute over whether our sole agent has enough property registered to make this legal, and rules [for our own usage] are very onerous; we could only use the fl at four weeks of the year and at restricted times”.


aplaceinthesun.com 43


THE AGENT - MICHELLE HOLT


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