País Vasco Will Tax Empty Homes And May Expropriate Properties From Banks

5 May 2015 – Expansión

The Socialist Party, EH Bildu and UPyD are going to add their votes together in the Basque Parliament to push through a new housing law in Euskadi, which recognises the subjective right to have access to a home. The law will result in the forced and temporary expropriation of the use of homes owned by banks, as well as the introduction of a fee for homes that have been empty for two years.

This initiative – which stems from when Patxi López was the Basque regional president – has been rejected by the PP and the PNV, which governs the País Vasco. Nevertheless, the support of the three opposition groups guarantees 38 votes against the 37 of the nationalist and popular parties.

Through this law, Euskadi will become the first autonomous community to recognise the subjective right to housing, in addition to (the subjective right to) health and education, according to the socialists.

The text provides for the possibility of expropriating empty homes, and those with tenants that cannot afford to pay the rent, from banks for a maximum period of three years, even though this measure has been suspended by the Constitutional Court in other autonomous communities. Within five years, all public housing will be put up for rent. The fee for empty homes will be €10 per square metre per year, an amount that will increase by 10% per year, up to triple the initial fee.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake