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Firmalex > Business consultancy > New Housing Law in Spain

The Spanish government has approved the new Housing Law, which aims to reinforce the concept of decent and adequate housing set out in article 47 of the Spanish Constitution.

The new law indicates, fixes and defines what is meant by decent and adequate housing. “Dignified housing is that which is habitable, accessible, energy efficient and which also guarantees access to basic supplies without its enjoyment entailing an unaffordable financial effort on the part of citizens”.

The following is a summary of the ten most important points of this law.

1. Public rentals in new housing developments

New housing developments will have to have a reserve of 30% of housing destined for the public housing stock, half of this percentage being destined for social renting. Thus, a building with 100 dwellings will have to set aside 30 for this purpose, of which 15 will be for social renting.

2. Tax advantages for small owners to lower rental prices

Small landlords (with less than 10 properties in their possession) will be eligible for large discounts and tax incentives in order to lower the rental price of their properties. In fact, there are plans for a rebate of up to 90% of the rents obtained by owners if they lower the rental price.

3. More taxes for empty homes

In order to incentivise the renting of these properties to those that have been empty for more than two years for owners with more than four properties in the same municipality, the Government will allow local councils to increase the IBI rate for empty properties with a surcharge of up to 150%.

4. Limiting rentals to large landlords

Large property owners, which are those individuals or legal entities that have more than 10 homes in their property (excluding garages and storage rooms) or with a built surface area of more than 1,500 m2, will have to adapt the price of their rents to the reference index of the area where it is located for those homes that are in the so-called “stressed areas”, limiting the price of the rent to the price of the previous contract.

5. Aid vouchers for young people

The President of the Government announced on Tuesday that this new regulation will include the creation of a ‘youth housing voucher’ of 250 euros per month for the next two years. This voucher will benefit young people aged between 18 and 35 with an income from work and an annual income of less than 23,725 euros. He also informed that, in the cases of the most vulnerable families, this youth bonus may be complemented with more direct rental subsidies of up to 40% of its value. This youth rental voucher will be limited by the rental price to flats with a rent of 600 euros.

6. Regulation of evictions

Both legal procedures and rental contracts when there are situations of vulnerability. The aim is to improve communication between judges and social services to make it quicker and more effective. In this way, social services can be encouraged to provide a housing response to vulnerable households by the municipalities, the Autonomous Regions or the State.

To allow time for these situations to be resolved, the deadline for evictions is extended from one to two months when the owner of the home is an individual and from three to four months when the owner is a company.

7. What is considered a “stressed area” in the housing law?

The declaration of a neighbourhood or municipality as a “tense zone” will depend on the State and each Autonomous Community, including in the review the Town Council of the municipality where these zones are being studied. If a zone is declared a “tense zone”, it will have a minimum duration of three years, which can be extended year by year in order to avoid an indiscriminate rise in the price of rented housing.

The condition for declaring a “stressed zone” will be that the average rental price in the zone is more than 30% of the average income of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood in question.

8. Creation of incentivised affordable housing

Privately owned housing, including third sector entities, to whose owner the competent administration grants benefits of a town planning, fiscal or any other kind, in exchange for using it as a habitual residence on a rental basis or any other form of temporary tenancy, for people whose income level does not allow them access to housing at market prices.

9. Creation of a social housing fund

A commitment to a public rental stock and a measure that the real estate sector has been calling for for many years. It should be remembered that since 2015, around 5,500 subsidised housing units have been created in Spain, of which less than 1,000 have been allocated for rent.

10. Impossibility of changing the classification of public housing

As of this law, the public social housing stock is considered heritage, which means that it is permanently protected and cannot be sold. This offers protection to those households affected by the possible alienation of social housing that has occurred up to now.

It establishes the indefinite qualification of protected housing, always guaranteeing a period of thirty years. Basic conditions are established at the state level, defining a permanent public protection regime for subsidised housing that is developed on land classified as a reserve. In all other cases, a minimum disqualification period of 30 years is established.

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