► Proposal seeks to ensure affordable housing, cap runaway rental prices ►
Spain’s anti-evictions activist organization PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, or “Platform for People Affected by Mortgages”) on Friday filed proposed legislation with Congress to provide greater protection of the rights of renters and homeowners, while ensuring affordable housing through regulation of residential rental prices modeled on formulas currently being deployed with success elsewhere in Europe.
Registering the new legislative proposal with the parliamentary support of Unidos Podemos, Compromís, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and EH Bildu groups in Congress, the PAH plan aims to put a brake on rising cost of residential rentals across Spain, which have jumped 30 percent since 2013, with particularly sharp rises being registered in Madrid, Barcelona and tourist areas across Spain.
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The legislation, if approved, would modify several existing Spanish laws and calls for lengthening the minimum duration of long-term rental contracts from three to five years, referencing annual rent increases allowed landlords to the annual growth in Spain’s national Consumer Price Index (CPI) and regulating rental prices with a ceiling cap based on a benchmark index determined by the characteristics of the rental property, such as its location and/or number of rooms.
The PAH proposal would also make it easier to appeal and halt evictions from housing that is the primary home of the occupants. And, it would streamline the process for making up missed payments by those in arrears on their mortgages and protect homeowners from cutoffs of electricity, gas or water supply when the family income is insufficient to enable them to meet both the monthly mortgage payment and utility bills in a given month.
The PAH said measures designed to put a brake on rising rental prices are a response to a tendency in Madrid, Barcelona and tourist areas of property owners to throw tenants out at the end of the current three-year rental period in order to generate more income from the property through short-term tourist apartment lets.
The benchmark index plan contained in the proposal is based on similar initiatives in Paris and Berlin, the organization said, where residential real estate is regulated to ensure fair and affordable housing in the face of rising prices linked to the high demand for tourist apartments.
To become law, the proposal must pass through committee hurdles and faces possible amendment before being debated by the full Congress. The governing Socialist party (PSOE) opposes the proposal, while the Socialist party (PSOE) and Catalonia’s Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (PDeCAT)) party have said they will consider providing support, pending the outcome of the amendment process. The Ciudadanos party has registered its own proposal that falls short of the PAH legislative changes, but which the party says would also ease the plight of renters across Spain.
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