Vacation rentals are blamed for the shortage and high cost of residential rentals, forgetting the almost non-existent official housing policy
The shortage of residential rental housing and high costs are problems that have been looming large in Lanzarote for some years now. Lack of scruples and disreputable practices have led to some appalling levels of exploitation and islanders lay the blame at the door of holiday rentals.
According to Javier Martín Vera, manager of the Canarian Holiday Rental Association, ASCAV (ascav.es), ‘Holiday rentals are being blamed for the lack of housing when there’s actually been no housing policy put in place to tackle the problem. These types of lettings barely account for 3% of the island’s rented housing and a mere 10% of all accommodation on offer. And yet there are numerous hotels.’
Another point to consider is the amount of irregular or illegal holidays lets. ‘Of course, from the ASCAV standpoint, we condemn this activity as it creates unfair competition and damages the reputation of both the sector and Lanzarote as a quality destination. The association is not equipped with the means to carry out inspections or controls, that’s the responsibility of the police authorities, the Guardia Civil.’
He went on to say that ‘Nevertheless, we have been working on keeping our members informed of correct procedures and getting holiday rentals registered and made official. It is now permitted anywhere because the Supreme Court overturned the exemption of tourist areas, and one set of regulations has been in place since 2015 (Canary Island Government Decree 113/2015) passed on 22 May. This means that 80% of holiday rentals are now regulated very strictly.’
Martín puts the sector’s public image down to the fact that ‘we defend the little guy, but we have 10% of the quota, which doesn’t sit well. People think there’s a lot of profit to be made with holiday lets, but that’s not the case when everything is done legally. What does happen, though, is that owners get paid upfront, and there’s far less risk of occupants destroying the property.
He finishes by adding, ‘Don’t forget, a holiday rental property is constantly being rated by users across more than thirty platforms involved in dealing with vacation lets. It takes just three negative feedback reports to make it very difficult to rent for quite some time.’