Gov’t To Extend Suspension Of Evictions For Vulnerable Families

6 February 2017 – RTVE

Last Wednesday, the Minister for the Economy, Luis de Guindos, announced that the Government will extend the moratorium that prevents families in vulnerable situations from being evicted from their primary residences. The moratorium was due to expire on 15 May this year and its extension had also been requested by the Socialist Party.

“Yes, we will do so again now (extend the moratorium), like we did in 2015. We are open to negotiations”, said De Guindos, after confirming that 24,000 families have now benefitted from this measures, which favours certain groups.

The Minister was responding to questions from the Socialist congresswoman María del Mar Rominguera (…), who asked him about the Government’s intention to extend the deadline for the suspension of evictions of the most vulnerable families from their homes.

De Guindos said that the Government has protected the people who have suffered the most during the economic crisis and pointed out that some of the measures undertaken in this regard, such as the Code of Good Practice and the Social Housing Fund, approved by the Government, have benefitted more than 76,000 vulnerable families.

Evictions from primary residences have decreased by almost 30%

De Guindos said that the Government is willing to continue with these actions because they are having a “positive” effect, although he pointed out that the most recent statistics indicate that evictions from primary residences have decreased by around 30% “and that is a result of the economic recovery”.

De Guindos insisted that the creation of employment is what will confirm the economic recovery, given that “it is not only a matter of establishing palliative measures, although they are also important”.

“If employment improves in Spain, if there are increasingly more possibilities, if we increasingly see that house prices are not collapsing, we will see how situations involving evicted families will become increasingly marginal”, he said.

The PSOE supports the extension

Meanwhile, the Socialist congresswoman said she appreciated the fact that the Government has extended the moratorium for anti-evictions, which was due to expire in May (…).

The PSOE had requested an extension of the moratorium, four years after it first came into force. Nevertheless, De Guindos did not specify how long the moratorium would be extended for. (…).

Original story: RTVE 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb To Allocate c.1,000 More Homes To Social Housing Stock

29 September 2015 – Expansión

The financial sector is continuing to make grand gestures towards society’s most underprivileged groups. Barely a week after the banks decided to add 4,000 homes to the Social Housing Fund (‘Fondo Social de Viviendas’ or FSV) taking the total number of homes to 10,000, Sareb is considering increasing its social housing stock by 1,000 to 3,000.

According to sources consulted, this possible increase comes at a time when almost all of the 2,000 homes that were initially allocated to the stock have been assigned.

Before the summer, Sareb had transferred just over 1,000 homes to Cataluña, Aragón, Galicia and País Vasco. But since then, negotiations with other autonomous regions, such as the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Castilla y León, have accelerated and an agreement is now close to being signed. Sareb is also holding talks with Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, Cantabria and Comunidad Valenciana.

In addition to granting homes to autonomous regions for social purposes, the company led by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured above) is beginning conversations with several town halls, such as those in Madrid and Barcelona, to offer up homes in cases of emergency. The homes in question could be used by the town halls in the event that, for example, a building collapses or refugees arrive.

Help for entrepreneurs

Sareb has recently added a new initiative to its existing portfolio, with the aim of helping entrepreneurs. The company intends to implement a plan to offer cheap rents on retail premises and offices for new entrepreneurs. The plan would involve spaces being granted to certain corporate projects, with the tenants being required to cover the maintenance costs of the properties only. Sareb currently holds 3,500 retail outlets and offices on its balance sheet.

The drive from the banks to support social initiatives comes at a time when the rise of political parties such as Podemos is calling into question the banks’ activities, with measures such as the tax on empty homes introduced in Cataluña.

Besides its social initiatives, Sareb is also currently focusing on completing the migration of its assets from their former managers – entities that transferred homes and loans – to the new administrators: the platforms of Haya Real Estate, Altamira, Solvia and Servihabitat. This situation has caused a slowdown in house sales through the retail channel, but Sareb may offset that through the sale of large portfolios to funds before the end of the year.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Banks Sign Deal With Gov’t To Add 3,000 More Homes To FSV

14 September 2015 – El Economista

Today, the Spanish banks will sign an agreement with the Government to increase the number of homes in the Social Housing Fund (‘Fondo Social de Vivienda or FSV) by 3,000. The FSV initiative was created to respond to the needs of families made vulnerable by the economic crisis.

The changes to the agreement will not only increase the number of homes, but will also extend the scope of the fund, according to reports from the Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness.

This addition of 3,000 homes is equivalent to a 50% increase in the size of the existing FSV, taking the total to 9,000 homes. The expansion of the fund is the result of meetings held on the subject between the Ministry of the Economy and representatives of the major Spanish banks.

Until now, the social fund comprised a stock of almost 6,000 homes, of which less than half have been rented out. The FSV was created in 2013 using homes that had been foreclosed by the banks, to make them available to vulnerable families in special situations that had been evicted from their own properties for failing to keep up with their mortgage repayments since 1 January 2008.

The terms of these leases, provided by 33 entities in total, include: a rental income of between €150 and €400 per month, up to a maximum limit of 30% of the household’s combined net income; and a lease term of two years, extendable to three years in certain cases.

To access the initiative, the total monthly income of a household may not exceed the limit of three times the Multiplier of the Public Income Index (IPREM) (i.e. €1,579 under the current IPREM) and none of the family members may own their own home.

Profile of the families

FSV homes are mainly allocated to large families, single-parent families with two or more dependent children, families that have a disabled family member, families that do not qualify for unemployment benefit and families that include a family member that has suffered from domestic violence.

In February, the creators of the FSV decided to extend its term for another year, until January 2016, after it had been in force for 2 years. During that time it provided assistance to 1,465 families who had found themselves in a vulnerable situation as a result of the economic crisis.

The Fund was launched on 17 January 2013 by agreement between the Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness; the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality; the Ministry of Development; the major banks in the country and their associations; the FEMP; and the platform of the tertiary sector.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Popular Extends Suspension Period For Home Evictions To Four Years

16 February 2015 – Expansión

Grupo Popular has approved an amendment to increase the suspension period for the eviction of vulnerable people, from two years to four years, and to extend the right to Social Housing Fund access to include those evicted for the non-payment of non-mortgage loans; until now, only those evicted for the non-payment of mortgages were allowed to access social housing properties.

The agreement for the establishment of the Social Housing Fund was signed on 17 January 2013 by the Ministries of the Economy, Health, Development, the Bank of Spain, the Spanish Federation of Towns and Provinces (FEMP), the Platform of the Third Sector, the bankers’ trade association and 33 credit institutions. The rental cost of these homes ranges between €150 and €400 per month.

The following requirements must be fulfilled to access the Fund, amongst others: the family must have been evicted after 1 January 2008; the joint monthly income of the members of the family unit (household) may not exceed a limit of three times the Multiplier for Public Income Index (Indicador Público de Rentas de Efectos Múltiples or IPREM) or €1,597; and the family must not own its own home.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake