Social Institutions of Catalonia Set Up a Rental Property Management Firm

18/12/2014 – El Periodico

Catalan social entities united in Taula del Tercer Sector (local Third-Sector Committee) established a different sort of real estate company, called Fundació Hàbitat 3. The unit will manage social housing leasing to low-income families.

Although the idea is not well-known in Spain, it is widely practised in other countries like the Netherlands (controlling all social homes) or France (60%).

The apartments will be granted to administrations and entites for people in need of social assistance. Entites will take care of the process, while in case of the public administrations, Hàbitat 3 can take on the responsability. Duration of the contracts will vary.

The Committee disposes of a supportive data proving that Catalonia needs 230.000 social rental homes to respond to the crisis-boosted demand. The entities say there are 450.000 empty properties, 100.000 belonging to banks, 80.000 completely new and 270.000 of private owners.

Hàbitat 3 will be chaired by Catalonia’s leading housing authority, Carme Trilla, with Xavier Mauri as the Director. Currently, there are no dwelling units on the list but it seems clear where they should come from.

The biggest share of empty homes is in hands of banks, especially in the areas of Terrassa (3.000 homes). The number causes headaches to local adinistrations. In fact, many fined the banks for holding vacant properties.

The rental prices will be set in line with the family situation of the applicants, selected by social workers with knowledge of the zones. Ideally, it would be of 100 – 150 euros.

Barcelona owns a very narrow stock of social and private units which would be suitable for the program.

When it comes to the REO properties, the request is crystal clear: the company demands occupation for the thousands of homes as thousands of people lose their houses being unable to pay.  But in case of the private owners it would be reasonable to ask who would cede their dwellings for 200 euros per month? Probably, no one. That is why the Committee is going to talk with owners who cannot rent their housing units.

The organization will pay the difference between the social rent and the final amount paid to the private owner which will be higher than the one paid to banks.


Original story: El Periódico (by Toni Sust)

Translation: AURA REE