Colau Creates Register of Empty Plots to Expropriate them in Two Years time

21 August 2018 – Eje Prime

Ada Colau has laid down the law regarding a topic that is affecting the real estate market in Barcelona. The mayor of the Catalan capital has signed a decree to create a municipal register of the empty plots in the city so that they may be expropriated in the event that no activity is undertaken on them in the next two years. The decision was announced on Tuesday by the Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning, Janet Sanz.

The measure could start to be executed during the second half of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, following the definitive approval of the modifications to the General Metropolitan Plan (Mpgm), scheduled for the end of this year.

The main objective of this decree is “to activate the plots” for the generation of housing, explained Sanz. For this, the Town Hall will prepare a map of the city, which it will use to verify the vacant plots, and that should be ready within a few months.

The councillor for Urban Planning argues that “it is not acceptable that unused empty private plots in Barcelona are being used for speculation”. She maintains that other cities, such as the case of Valencia, have already taken similar measures. “We want to stop private owners from holding onto plots for speculative purposes. We want homes to be built and if the private sector won’t do it then the Town Hall will”, said Sanz.

In addition, Barcelona is also going to penalise the breach of orders for the execution of works for the renovation and conservation of buildings with safety problems or those that are protected due to their architectural or cultural heritage. In these properties, if the building work is not undertaken, then the Town Hall will also be able to expropriate the building in two years time or charge the owners for the expenses.

The new decree from the Town Hall of Barcelona relating to the Catalan capital’s residential market comes two months after Colau said that 30% of all new homes must be allocated to social housing following her decision to renounce the moratorium on new construction.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake