An announcement and a denunciation

3 March 2016

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Housing

Yesterday we held an important City Council press conference on housing that included an announcement and a denunciation:

1. The announcement:
In addition to the 200 flats handed over by SAREB [the Bark Restructuring Asset Management Agency] a few months ago, we have added a further 255 flats to the social housing stock, properties which come from transfers and acquisitions. Therefore, in the 8 months we have been in power, we have managed to incorporate 455 flats that had previously been empty and possessed by banks. These will now be available to families in emergency situations, who will pay a social rent. During their four years in office, the previous administration only managed to get 33 flats from the banks. The increase from 33 to 455 in such a short space of time is a significant achievement that required a great deal of joint effort. But it's not enough. We know there are at least 2,000 empty, bank-owned flats in Barcelona, and we will therefore continue to use all the potential of Act 24/2015 (promoted by the PAH [mortgage victims platform] and other social entities) in order to guarantee the right to housing in this city.

2. The denunciation:
We are witnessing a worrying increase in rent prices in Barcelona, and it is our duty to draw attention to the rise of another speculation bubble in the housing sector. We would remind the Spanish and Catalan governments of the disaster that resulted from not taking timely action at the first signs of the property bubble, which had terrible consequences for thousands and thousands of families when it burst. We are still paying for those consequences now.

So we call on the Spanish government, which currently has the power to legislate, to create the necessary mechanisms for regulating the property-rental market, as Germany and other European countries have done. And we at the City Council offer the expertise needed to start taking action now. Housing is more a right than a piece of merchandise, and we must therefore legislate accordingly if we wish to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

 

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