Tanca Tanca

Housing Glossary

You will find information here on all topics relating to housing in Barcelona


Accrued interest

The interest applied as a penalisation when the debtor does not comply with repayment obligations. The amount must be established in the contract.

Active supermortgage

This allows the client to choose their loan's benchmark index (MIBOR at three months, six months or a year) so that payment can benefit from lower interest rates sooner.

Adaptable instalment

Characteristic of UCI superloans that allow the borrower to not pay one instalment a year for the first three years if there are problems due to holidays, extraordinary expenses, etc.

Advanced cancellation fee

A commission arising from the financial risk involved in the advanced cancellation of an operation. The applied commission compensates the financial institution for its financial losses.


Direct state aid for paying the deposit on a property.

Affordable housing

Group of social housing or dwellings from social renovation projects that are sold or rented at below-market prices.

Affordable rent

The cost of renting these dwellings is below market prices after being included in operations concerning the rented flat pool, social renovation or social housing promotions.


Payment made to repay a loan.

Amortisation period

The duration of the loan. The contract establishes the date of the first and last payments. The longer the period, the lower the payments are, but the higher the interest. You therefore pay more in the end. The monthly instalment should not exceed 35% of your net income.


Estate agent. A qualified professional who acts as an intermediary between the two interested parties to facilitate the signing of a real estate contract, which can be a rental agreement, a sales agreement or another similar contract. They usually charge a percentage of the sales price as compensation or commission.


A citizen who makes a registration application to the Barcelona Social Housing Applicants Registry, and who represents the other members of the dwelling unit included in the application.


Annual Equivalent Rate. Effective annual cost of the mortgage in terms of interest, commissions and the repayment period. To compare loans, it is not enough to just look at the lowest APR, you also have to compare the conditions, the repayment period and the distribution of instalment payments.

Arbitri municipal de plusvàlua

Former denomination of the capital gains tax on landed property.


The value of a dwelling certified by a specialised assessment company, in accordance with the mortgage market law. This certificate not only indicates the real value of the property, it also serves as a reference for obtaining the necessary financing.


Document in which the owner authorises the tenant to carry out building work in the dwelling's interior.

Close glossary

Housing offices only offer face-to-face assistance by prior appointment, so check out the “Housing calls you” service here to receive the most appropriate personalised assistance. If you also need assistance in energy rights, book an appointment with an energy-advice point (PAE) by clicking here. On the other hand, if you reside in an IMHAB public dwelling you can consult our contact, management and processing channels here.​

Cohousing is an experience that creates places for community life. This is common practice in the north of Europe, and it is now possible in Catalonia as an option with many advantages.

Cohousing, a change of model

An alternative to the current housing model

In order to face the housing emergency, Barcelona City Council is not only working to help people through grants and specific services, but also by increasing the Public Housing Stock. Along these lines, the City Council has opted for an alternative to the current model: the assigned-for-use housing co-operative, or cohousing.

Cohousing is a way of getting access to housing which allows a community of people to live in a building without being the owners or tenants at below-market prices, for a long period of time, between 50 and 100 years. 

The objectives of supporting this model are as follows:

  • To guarantee access to decent, affordable housing.
  • To maintain public ownership of the land, which is offered as leasehold.
  • To prevent housing speculation.
  • To guarantee stability over time for the users.
  • To foster the community management of property.

The model consists of the City Council or a private owner assigning a property or abandoned site to a co-operative for building on. The co-operative members pay a deposit and monthly instalments for the use of their dwelling. Community life is promoted and self-organisation of the people forming the cooperatives is encouraged. With this model, housing is considered an asset for use and not as an investment.

The projects must use strict environmental criteria, provide a significant number of areas that promote communal life, the shared use of basic infrastructures and the coresponsibility of users in its management. The projects must anticipate strict environmental criteria, a significant number of spaces that promote community life, shared use of the basic infrastructure, and co-responsibility of the users in the management. The transfer to the cooperative of the surface rights is for 75 years, which can be extended to 90, and it is the cooperative that builds/renovates and manages the housing. At the end of this period, the property that has been built becomes municipal property.

The model aims to persuade a private owner or a city council to assign a property or an abandoned site to a co-operative for building on. The aim of the model is for a private owner or a town council to transfer an unused property or site on which the cooperative can build. To access this housing, which is classified as subsidised housing, cooperative members must be entered in the register of housing applicants. Therefore, they must meet the register requirements; in other words, be registered as residents in Barcelona with limited economic resources, who do not have any other property, and who have difficulties to access the housing market.  

Do you want to know what actions Barcelona City Council has promoted to foster cohousing?

You will find various actions promoted by Barcelona City Council to facilitate and guarantee the promotion and diffusion of a new housing model in the city: cohousing.

Creation of a co-operative housing committee

To promote cohousing, Barcelona City Council has created the cooperative housing committee, a working group within the Barcelona Social Housing Board to promote or launch new ownership programmes. This committee comprises representatives from the housing cooperatives and ethical financing world and is jointly driven by the Councillor’s Office for Housing and the Commissioner’s Office for Cooperative and Social Economy.

The main objective is the co-production of the cooperative housing model in Barcelona.

Public tender for municipal sites allocated to cohousing

One of the tools of Barcelona City Council to promote co-housing is the cooperative housing committee, a working group within the Barcelona Social Housing Council to promote or launch new ownership programmes. This committee comprises representatives from the housing cooperatives and ethical financing world and is jointly driven by the Councillor’s Office for Housing and the Commissioner’s Office for Cooperative and Social Economy.

The main objective is the co-production of the cooperative housing model in Barcelona.

In 2015 the first two pilot projects were signed, where the neighbors already live: Princesa, 49 and La Borda. In November 2016, the first tender was published in which four sites offered in the districts of Ciutat Vella, Sants-Montjuïc, Nou Barris and Sant Martí were awarded. In July 2020, three more sites in the districts of Sants-Montjuïc, Sant Andreu and Nou Barris were awarded in a second tender. These actions have made it possible to increase the public park to 250 homes and have made Barcelona the first city in Spain with cohousing projects under way. In 2024, a total of ten developments are in progress: three are located in the Sants-Montjuïc district; three more in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi; one in Sant Martí; two in Sant Andreu; and one in Gràcia.

Among all these developments, there are six where residents already live: Princesa49, La Borda, La Balma, La Chalmeta, La Chalmeta, Cirerers and La Xarxaire. In total, there are 125 flats.

In addition, within the framework of the cooperative housing table, the City Council has promoted an agreement with non-profit organizations to build a thousand affordable houses in the city.


Map of existing developments

Sants-Montjuïc:  1. La Domèstika  |  2. La Chalmeta  |  3. La Borda  |  4. Sotrac  |  5. Empriu  |  6. Gessamí, 11-13

Ciutat Vella:  7. La Xarxaire  |  8. Princesa49

Nou Barris:  9. Cirerers

Sarrià - Sant Gervasi:  10. Torrent Viu  |  11. Can 70  |  12. Vida Cooperativa

Sant Martí:  13. La Balma  |  14. Abril Poblenou

Sant Andreu:  15. Cohabitem Sant Andreu  |  16. La Regadora

Gràcia:  17. Ruderal

Legend: Land reserve (Red) | In project (Orange) | Under construction (Lilac) | Completed (Green)

Map of the new public-housing promotions in Barcelona

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  • Persons affected by urban planning

    Type of housing promoted by the IMHAB targeting those people or households affected by urban redevelopments or reorganisation in the city. The properties tend to have a surface area of 65 to 85 square metres and can be acquired on a rental or purchase basis at the same prices as social housing properties.

  • Renting

    Refers to all properties being rented, promoted by the IMHAB, that target those people or households that need to be adjudicated a home which satisfies their housing needs. To access any of these adjudications, applicants must be registered with the Barcelona Register of Applicants for Social Housing.

  • Leasehold

    As part of this category, the successful applicant acquires the property for a period of 75 years at a value that is well beneath the market price. On average, these types of property measure 60 square metres and are built in compliance with sustainability criteria. To access any of these adjudications, applicants must be registered with the Barcelona Register of Applicants for Social Housing.

  • Co-housing

    This involves plots of public land allocated to a specific type of cooperative, housing cooperatives, where a group of people organise themselves to promote housing on a plot of land handed over to them by the City Council at an affordable price and by public competition, although it will always remain under public ownership.

  • Social developers and cooperatives

    These are plots of public land allocated to foundations and non-profit organisations that rent out dwellings at affordable prices. They are a collaborative mechanism, but with the novelty that the plots of land will now be awarded through public competition.

  • Aprop housing

    The Provisional Local Housing programme (APROP) is a new model of quick and sustainable housing construction, which offers a temporary response to residents that are excluded or at risk of exclusion, in areas close to their original neighbourhoods. They are prefabricated mobile modules that guarantee quality standards, are distributed throughout the city and take into account diverse resident profiles.


  • Land reserved

    The City Council is allocating a plot of land for housing in a process now underway for holding the project’s relevant invitations to tender, awarding and construction.

  • In process

    From when the plot of land is put out to public tender, for choosing the companies and professionals that will be commissioned with the project and its building work, to when the successful tenderers are announced and the building project can then go ahead.

  • Under construction

    This includes both the implementation of the project through the work and building process and the relevant dwelling award process.

  • Completed

    The dwellings have been built and handed over to the successful applicants.