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.​

If you have any queries, consult the following questions, which will guide you according to your needs.

1. I can't pay the rent. What can I do?

If you can't pay your rent, the first thing you have to do is contact one of our Housing Offices, where we will provide you with mediation and information about the various subsidies for paying outstanding rent. These subsidies are for Barcelona residents and the title holders of the rental agreement for their habitual residence. It is also necessary to meet some requirements, which vary according to the subsidy required. Consult the possible options here. 

2. I can't pay my mortgage instalment. What can I do?

If you can't pay your mortgage instalment, you have to go to one of our Housing Offices, where you can use the "Ofideute" (debt office) information and advice service, aimed at families who have difficulty in meeting their loan or mortgage payments and who are at risk of losing their habitual residence. Qualified professionals will help you to try and renegotiate your mortgage debt with the financial institution concerned. At the Housing Office, we will also provide you with information about emergency subsidies for paying mortgage instalments. 

3. I have been evicted and I am living on the street. What can I do?

If you don't have anywhere to spend the night and you are living on the street because you have been evicted, you can call the Barcelona Emergency Centre (CUES), on the toll-free number 900 70 30 30. They will find you a place to sleep. Afterwards, at a Barcelona Housing Office, you can ask for emergency help for people who have lost their home because of eviction or a mortgage foreclosure.

4. I want to renovate my home. How can I do that?

If the renovation work affects the whole building, you need to apply for the renovation subsidy for dwellings and buildings. This can be done by the president of the community of property owners, the community's administrator or the owner of the building. When the renovation is inside a dwelling, the subsidies can be applied for by the property's owner or even the tenants, if they have formal permission from the owner. The subsidies are processed at the Barcelona Housing Offices. You must have a construction-work permit or an immediate notification that certifies the beginning of the activity. It must also be remembered that there are city areas that have special subsidies because of their characteristics: housing estates, the Sant Ramon area, the Raval neighbourhood, and "the efficient block" in the Eixample.

5. I have a flat in Barcelona and I want to find a use for it. What options do I have?

If you have an empty flat and you want to make use of it, as well as contributing to improving the city's housing situation, there are three options: include it in Barcelona's social housing rental pool; join the City Council's new Empty Flat Plan or assign the flat to the Catalan Housing Agency. In order to include it in the rental pool, you have to fill out the corresponding application form at one of Barcelona's Housing Offices, after arranging an appointment. The flat must be located in the city and have a Certificate of Occupancy and the Certificate of Energy Efficiency, or comply with the conditions for obtaining them. This option means you can benefit from "Avalloguer" system, which covers rental payments, insurance, subsidies, and technical and legal advice. 

6. I would like to have access to public housing. How can I do that?

In order to opt for public housing, you have to go to one of Barcelona's Housing Offices and register in the Applicants Registry. This can be done by people who have lost their homes by judicial decree, final court rulings or dation (payment in kind) of the property, as well as families with minors who live in housing with poor health, hygiene and safety conditions, or with a family member who is disabled or has serious health problems that are aggravated by the housing conditions, among other causes. Remember that registration in the Registry expires after three years, so you have to keep renewing it. 

7. How can I gain access to the rental pool?

One of the essential requirements for registering for the Rental Pool is to be a registered Barcelona resident. It is also necessary to go to a Housing Office to sign the Applicants Registry. Once you have registered, you will have access to the flats in the pool. Renting a flat through this system has many advantages, including: the rent is below market prices, both for social housing and unsubsidised housing; professional staff will find the best available flat; and assistance will be provided free of charge for drafting and signing the contract, as well as legal advice during the process. 

8. Am I eligible for an emergency subsidy?

Emergency subsidies are non-recoverable subsidies awarded to people who have contracted debts related to housing. They guarantee a home for the applicants and their families. They are available to people with unpaid rental bills or mortgage instalments, as well as those people who have lost their home due to eviction or mortgage foreclosure. In very urgent cases of vulnerability or imminent loss of dwelling, the City Council has Social Housing Stock dwellings available, which are adjudicated through the Barcelona Social Emergencies Committee. If you find yourself in an emergency situation and at risk of eviction, go to your nearest Housing Office. 

9. Who controls Barcelona's housing policies?

Barcelona's housing policies are controlled by the City Council, and more specifically, by the Office of the Councillor for Housing. Other relevant public bodies include the Municipal Housing Trust –created by the municipality, it promotes housing to help people who do not have access to a decent dwelling under market conditions– and the Barcelona Housing Consortium –formed by the City Council and the Generalitat of Catalonia and which aims to develop the functions, activities and services related to affordable housing in Barcelona. 

10. Is access to housing a right?

Housing is a basic human right recognised in various international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25) or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11), and the Spanish Constitution (Article 47), which specifies that “the public authorities will foster the necessary conditions and establish the pertinent regulations in order to make this right effective”.