The Manager of Barcelona City Council’s Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life, Xavier Olivella, has announced that the City Council plans to implement agreements so that the most vulnerable communities can renovate their buildings, even if they do not have resources, and pay for the work over time.
“The goal of these renovation grants is to guarantee that the people living in buildings can live there with improved living conditions, not so that the tenants can then be replaced by new tenants paying a higher rent”, ensured Olivella in a talk to the Association of Chartered Property Administrators of Barcelona and Lleida (CAFBL).
In that regard, the call for applications for 2017 Renovation Grants aims to boost these grants for the most vulnerable communities. Consequently, when the City Council detects areas that require special grants, efforts will be made to reach out to them and apply large-scale joint actions.
To achieve this, the Director of Renovation at the Barcelona Housing Consortium, Jordi Amela, has announced a new renovation call for areas with special grants starting in June. This involves areas with problems that go beyond economic resources because the residents’ communities are not constituted and, as a result, it has never been considered to request these types of grants.
Barcelona City Council will support these communities during the processing of these grants and will follow up each case. “Managing this will be complex and the results will be limited in the short term but, in the long term, it will achieve not only renovation on an urban level but also regeneration on a social level”, insisted Amela.
A quality renovation model
Today, the Housing Consortium’s director of renovation also highlighted the city’s housing and urban renovation model but maintained that, in order to ensure the quality of these actions, it is also necessary to establish minimum requirement criteria.
“In Barcelona there is a constant concern regarding the provision of renovation grants: we want quality renovation and that is why we demand certain energy efficiency criteria and establish some social scales”, stated Amela.
Accordingly, he welcomed the 60% grants for energy efficiency included in the new call for applications for 2017 Renovation Grants. “It is true that we have the state tax for solar energy, but there is also an opportunity with the future municipal energy supply company”, he pointed out.
In addition to prioritising the energy efficiency actions, the new call for applications for renovation grants includes a direct investment by the City Council of €5,000,000 for work inside flats and an increase in the renovation grants of up to €20,000 for the property owners of flats in the Rented Housing Pool.
The new line of grants also bolsters the projects for blocks of flats by paying 85% of the cost of the works. In this way, the actions are implemented jointly and the level of habitability in the urban area is maintained. In this respect, the new grants have been promoted in all the neighbourhoods of Barcelona, and not only the historical centres or the more rundown areas.
“We want the quality of renovation to be implemented all over the city, which is why the same requirements have been demanded in every area. This contributes to everybody’s quality of life”, explained the manager of the Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life.
Invest in renovation to ensure decent housing
In 2017, Barcelona City Council has planned to invest €46,600,000 in grants for renovation to promote access to housing and its habitability. The new line of grants prioritises energy-saving measures and works to improve the inside of flats.
The 2017 renovation grants are framed within the renovation policies of the municipal government, defined in the 2016-2025 Right to Housing Plan, which seek to increase the number of accessible rental properties available in the city and incorporate social scales in the application for grants and subsidies.