S?nchez: new housing law to help youth, make decent homes accessible

The new housing law will make access to a decent home ‘a right and not a problem’ and offer more emancipation opportunities for the youth, Prime Minister Pedro S?nchez said Saturday.

The new law “is going to transform an enormous problem, in particular for young people in this country”, S?nchez (PSOE/S&D) said at a socialist rally, referring, among other hurdles, to the low emancipation rate in Spain.

In line with what is outlined in the Spanish Constitution, the new norm makes access to decent housing “a right and not a problem”, the prime minister added.

“All Spaniards have the right to enjoy decent and adequate housing,” Article 47 of the Spanish Constitution writes. The Constitution adds that public authorities must promote the necessary conditions and establish the relevant regulations to make this right effective.

In his speech, S?nchez recalled that the aim of socialism is working for the “dignity” of the people, noting that access to decent housing is part of that political commitment.

The new law approved Friday includes terms that until now had not been part of any housing regulation in the country. These include the definition of zones with high rental prices, large tenants and reference indexes that will determine the rents paid for flats.

According to a fresh survey, housing ranks among the population’s top concerns, together with high inflation and food prices.

In Spain, mainly in big cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, housing demand largely exceeds the housing offers. At the same time, the public rental housing stock barely amounts to 2% of the total real estate stock, while in other EU countries, such as the Netherlands, the public rental stock makes up 30% of the total, RTVE reported.

To mitigate price increases, the new law foresees the implementation of specific tools to avoid uncontrolled increases in rent prices. For example, a 2% top limit for rent increases will continue to be applied (the current level) during 2023. In 2024 it will be 3%.

In 2025, a new index will be created, which is intended to be more stable and lower than the evolution of the Spanish Consumer Price Index (CPI, which stood at 3.3 % in March, excluding core inflation), and which will cap rent increases due to annual updates.

The agreement on the new law came after weeks of difficult negotiations between PSOE, its junior coalition partner Unidas Podemos (EU Left), Catalan pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia, ERC) and Basque separatist Eh Bildu.

Meanwhile, the centre-right opposition party Partido Popular (PP/EPP), lamented that the law does not mention the problem of squatters.

It is a “shame” that the text completely forgets about the problem when in Spain, there are 50 squats a day, said PP President Alberto N??ez Feij?o.

Spain will hold regional and municipal elections on 28 May, with a general election expected to take place in December, during the country’s final month of presidency of the EU Council.

(Fernando Heller EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)


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