Catalonia’s Regional Government Boosts Social Housing

4 January 2020 The Catalonian regional government approved a decree at the end of 2019 that will oblige people and companies which own more than fifteen properties to offer social housing to groups considered vulnerable. Those groups may include families in eviction proceedings and people who have illegally occupied properties for at least six months since the decree’s approval.

The government will also extend compulsory social rental contracts from three to five or seven years, depending on whether a person or a company owns the property. Additionally, the government will implement a measure whereby buildings with unfinished works will be considered unoccupied after a specific period and liable to coercive fines and the possibility of expropriation.

La Generalitat de Cataluña aprobó un decreto a fines de 2019 que obligará a las personas y empresas que poseen más de quince propiedades a ofrecer viviendas sociales a grupos considerados vulnerables. Esos grupos pueden incluir familias en procesos de desalojo y personas que han ocupado propiedades ilegalmente durante al menos seis meses desde la aprobación del decreto.

El gobierno también extenderá los contratos obligatorios de alquiler social de tres a cinco o siete años, dependiendo de si la propriedad es de una persona o una empresa. Además, la Generalitat implementará una medida por la cual los edificios con obras inacabadas se considerarán desocupadas después de un período específico y susceptibles de multas coercitivas y la posibilidad de expropiación.

Original Story: El Confidencial

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Andalusia Decrees Safeguards to Prevent Sale of Protected Housing to Vulture Funds

28 August 2018

Regulatory changes were approved to reinforce the social function of the stock of public residential housing.

The Governing Council of the Regional Executive approved a decree on Tuesday amending the Regulation of Protected Housing in Andalusia, in force since 2006, to strengthen the social character of the stock of  and shield it from private capital.

The norm, called Defence Decree for Publicly-Owned Residential Housing of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, adapts the regulations to the current state of the real estate sector and increases the guarantees that prevent the properties from ending up in the hands of vulture funds, with the consequent damage for families with limited resources.

As a spokesman of the Andalusian Regional Executive explained in a press conference, the text expressly prohibits the sale of property owned by the public administration to legal entities, thus formalising a measure that the Junta de Andalucía already applies in practice. To date, the executive has never carried out this type of operation with profit-seeking private entities.

The approved decree, which enjoyed input from social agents through the Andalusian Housing Observatory, also incorporates measures that guarantee compliance with the housing’s social function. Among them are included further specification of the people who can use protected housing and in what situations it can be accessed, setting new mechanisms to ensure that the properties remain the habitual and permanent domicile of the chosen families.

Thus, the regulation establishes that only natural persons may be awarded residency and excludes legal entities, though not non-profits, which may be the official tenants provided that the end users belong to groups with special difficulties in accessing a home.

A response to increasing prices due to tourist accommodations

On the other hand, the text broadens the powers of administrations’ rights of first refusal and withdrawal over any protected dwelling, regarding both ownership and rent. Also, with the increase in rent as a result of the interest in tourist accommodations, added guarantees were introduced to prevent that any property is used by any party other than the authorised family.

However, the protected homes may now be used to carry out any economic activity, provided that it is the habitual and permanent residence of the person who exercises it. Likewise, swaps and transfers of protected homes owned by the same developer will not be considered as assignments. Consequently, those transfers will not be subject to the municipal registry by the claimants.

Finally, the decree also modifies the regulation of these registries, in effect since 2012, to give priority in the adjudication processes to registered people promoting housing cooperatives and not, as it has been the case to date, to plaintiffs who express their interest in forming part of them.

Original Story: Eldiá / Europa Press

Translation: Richard Turner