DOZENS of business owners have accused Puerto Banus of coercing them into accepting rent hikes of up to 700%.
In a denuncia to the magistrate’s court of Marbella, some 25 shops, bars and restaurants claimed the concessionary company which owns the port disabled their access cards, which lift the barriers at the entrance and exit of the exclusive enclave.
This means deliveries cannot be made to the businesses, which include hotels and luxury clothing brands.
The cards have been paid in advance and are not due to run out until the end of May.
Business owners allege that the move is an intimidation tactic to make them accept new conditions on premises which have terraces and outdoor spaces.
“It is a measure of harassment aimed at increasing the pressure on the owners,” the complaint reads.
Lawyers also noted that concrete blocks have appeared in front of several of the businesses involved in the feud, although this was not included in the denuncia.
The trouble began last year when, according to the business owners, the port unilaterally changed the renting laws of common areas being used as terraces, effectively adding a terrace tariff.
The change will see an average square metre of terrace space cost an extra €480 per year.
It means some rents will soar by up to 700%, according to lawyers representing the stores.
But when tenants investigated the spaces which have been selected for the new tariff, they claim they found that they were actually public spaces and outside the limits of the land owned by the company behind Puerto Banus.
The tenants have refused to sign an agreement on the new rental law.
In two letters addressed to the Public Ports of Andalucia Agency (APPA) and the City of Marbella, they argue that Puerto Banus has not provided any documentation proving its ownership of these areas.
They allege that these areas are considered public domain assets, classified in the urban planning of roads, and therefore are under the purview of Marbella town hall and not the port.