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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.​

To address any queries you may have, we've compiled a set of frequently asked questions regarding the rental price regulation in areas designated as having a stressed housing market, such as the city of Barcelona.

In May 2023, Law 12/2023 of 24 May on the Right to Housing was finally approved, marking the first law of the State since the promulgation of the Constitution. It came into effect on 26 May of the same year, introducing a range of changes impacting both tenants and landlords. 

One significant change involves the index governing rental prices, which became effective on 16 March 2024, following its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE).


1. In Barcelona, can the owner set the rental price they desire when I rent a property?

No, in the new rental contracts for regular housing, the rental price in Barcelona is regulated. This implies that there is a maximum rent set by law for each property.

2. What is the maximum price I can be asked for renting my usual residence?

The maximum rental price is determined by the upper end of the price range set by the state index. In other words, this index establishes a price range that spans from the lowest to the highest possible price.

This range represents the negotiation margin within the regulations outlined by the index, which both the owner and the tenant must agree upon.

3. And what determines whether the price index is applicable?

The maximum rental price depends on whether the property owner is the owner of multiple properties or not:

If the property owner is the owner of multiple properties, the rental price will necessarily be the lower of these two options:

  • The result obtained by applying the reference index.
  • If the property has been leased within the last 5 years, the updated rent from the previous lease agreement.

If the rent from the previous lease agreement exceeds the amount determined by the reference index, the owner of multiple properties must adhere to the rent specified in the index.

If there has been no lease in force for the last five years, the rent will be determined by the reference index.

If the property owner is not the owner of multiple properties, they may freely choose between the rent specified by the reference index or the updated rent from the previous lease if one has been in effect within the last 5 years. If the rent from the previous lease exceeds the benchmark rent, the owner is not obligated to apply the benchmark rent.

If there has been no lease in force for the last five years, the rent will be determined by the benchmark rent.

The fixed price range (reference index) is only available in the State rental price reference index.

4. Which contracts does this regulation affect?

In Barcelona, it applies to all contracts signed after the publication of the rental price reference index.

5. What is the current reference index that establishes the maximum rental price?

The only reference rental price index is the one published by the State.

6. So, if these conditions are met, is it not possible to have the rental price increased beyond the limitations outlined above?

The landlord can only increase the rental price of the previous contract, up to a maximum of 10%, if any of these conditions are met:

  • The property has undergone refurbishments or improvements in terms of energy efficiency or accessibility within the two years preceding the new contract.
  • The new contract is signed for a period of 10 years or more, or a right of extension of 10 years or more is established, which the tenant may voluntarily apply for.

7. What happens if I already have a rental contract in force before the publication of the index?

The new rent regulation will not affect you. The rent cap will only apply to contracts signed after the publication of the declaration of Barcelona as a stressed residential market area. Regarding rent, contracts signed before this date will continue to be governed by the contract and by the legal regime that applied to them at the time they were signed. However, the parties may agree to adapt to the new regulation.

8. How is the annual price of contracts in force throughout 2024 updated?

For all contracts in force that complete the corresponding annual period before 31 December 2024, the following regulations apply:

  • If the property is owned by an owner of multiple properties, the increase may be agreed upon, but it must not exceed 3% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) if it is less than 3%.
  • If the property is not owned by an owner of multiple properties, the increase may be agreed upon by both parties. In the absence of an agreement, the increase must not exceed 3% or the increase in the CPI if it is less than 3%.

9. Is the landlord obliged to give me a new lease when my old one runs out?

No, the landlord is not obliged to provide a new lease. Although Law 12/2023 of 24 May limits the rental price that the new lease must adhere to in stressed residential areas, it does not mandate the landlord to renew the lease.

10. If the contract is renewed, can new fees or charges be added?

No, new fees or expenses that were not agreed upon in the previous contract cannot be introduced.

11. OK, the landlord does not have to renew my contract, but is he/she obliged to extend it in any way without making a new contract?

In the case of Barcelona, given the entire city has been declared a stressed residential market area, the property owner is obligated to extend rental contracts in an extraordinary manner if the tenant requests it. This extension will have an annual duration but can be prolonged for a maximum of 3 years.

This regulation must be adhered to regardless of whether the owner is an owner of multiple properties or not, and it applies to all leases that come to an end.

12. Does this extraordinary extension apply only to new contracts signed after the entry into force of the new housing law, or does it also apply to contracts signed before but ending later than 26 May 2023?

The extraordinary extension is applicable from the moment of the entry into force of Law 12/2023 (26 May 2023) for all contracts, including those signed before its entry into force, because it is an extraordinary measure.

13. Are there any exceptions for which the property does not have to extend my contract in an extraordinary way?

Yes, there are the following exceptions:

  • If there is an agreement between the parties that establishes other terms or different conditions for the extension.
  • If the parties have signed a new contract with the legally established rent limitations.
  • If the lessor needs the property for themselves or their spouse in the case of separation, divorce, or marriage annulment that assigns them the habitual residence by a court ruling, or for their first-degree relatives (parents or children).

14. How many extraordinary extensions can I request after the end of the contract?

You can request the extension annually, for a maximum of 3 years.

15. Why is the price of rent limited in Barcelona?

The price of rent is limited in Barcelona because it is established by State Law for the right to housing 12/2023, and because Barcelona has been declared a stressed residential market area.

16. What does stressed residential market area mean?

It signifies an area where there is insufficient affordable housing available for the resident population.

Declaring an area as a stressed residential market area requires a report justifying this designation. This indicates that the average load of the cost of mortgage or rent on personal or household budgets, combined with basic expenses and supplies, exceeds 30% of the average income or average household income. Additionally, it signifies that the purchase or rental price of housing has experienced a cumulative growth percentage of at least three percentage points higher than the cumulative growth percentage of the consumer price index of the corresponding autonomous community in the five years prior to the declaration.

Although Barcelona was declared a stressed residential market area in June 2023 by the Barcelona City Council, the application of the rental price limits provided for in Law 12/2023 is effective from the publication of the resolution by the Ministry of Housing and the Urban Agenda.


17. When is a landlord considered to be an owner of multiple properties?

In Barcelona, an owner of multiple properties (OMP) is a natural person or legal entity that owns five or more dwellings (whether in physical or legal ownership).

Generally speaking, an owner of multiple properties is a natural person or legal entity that owns more than ten urban properties for residential use or a built surface area of more than 1,500 m² for residential use, excluding garages and storage rooms.

Only in a stressed market residential area is a property considered an owner of multiple properties if the natural or legal person is the owner of 5 or more dwellings.

18. What happens if the landlord does not respect the law and a higher rent is contractually established? Is there a specific body to claim it?

Yes, it can certainly be claimed through judicial channels: through a judicial claim of amounts subsequent to the signing of the contract. Additionally, one can seek assistance from consumer protection organizations.

19. Do these limits also apply to seasonal contracts?

No, seasonal contracts are excluded from the application of this legislation.

20. If I sign a seasonal contract that is de facto for permanent residence, what will happen?

This is a fraud on the law and if the property does not acknowledge that it is a residential lease, legal action should be taken.

21. What happens if the property has not been rented in the five years prior to 26/05/2023 (entry into force of Law 12/2023)?

Regardless of whether or not the property is owned by an owner of multiple properties, the corresponding index will be applied.

22. What information must be included in the new contract?

The new contract must include, among other information (according to Article 31 of Law 12/2023):

  • The value of the reference index (€/m²), accompanied by the document that generates the rental price indexation system.
  • If the rent is determined by a previous contract, the last rent of the rental contract in force in the last five years must be stated.

23. How can I get advice regarding my specific situation?

The preceding inquiries and responses provide a concise introduction to understanding the fundamentals of recent rental regulations. For further insights, individuals can seek assistance from the Barcelona Housing Offices Network, where legal counsel is available. Utilizing the 'Housing calls you' service allows for scheduling appointments for tailored telephonic support, eliminating the necessity for physical office visits. If an in-person procedure is mandatory, arrangements will be made to specify a designated date and time for an office visit.