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.​

City Council condemns the IRPH and puts forward measures to protect citizens

27/12/2016 - 14:45

IRPH. The Municipal Plenary makes an institutional declaration to condemn the abusive situation of the IRPH and calling for local governments to make commitments to act in this regard.

The Barcelona City Council Plenary debated the effects of the Mortgage Loan Reference Index (IRPH) on mortgage rates and the consequences it has on the economies of low-income families, with the aim of establishing a series of measures to improve the situation.

Despite EU directives set out at the start of the economic crisis, the Spanish Government did not prohibit these types of mortgage indexes to financial entities. That allowed these entities to carry on assigning the IRPH to their products and, as a result, affected mortgage repayments ended up costing between 300 and 400 euros more than mortgages linked to the European index, the Euribor.

The Municipal Government considers that the lRPH is a “manipulative and abusive” bank interest which is still applied today and which affects over 300,000 families in Catalonia, many of whom have ended up losing their homes and being evicted.

Because of this, the Municipal Council Plenary agreed five points:

  • To support affected families and call on the Spanish Government to immediately and definitively do away with the IRPH for financial entities and established fixed rates. For the loans in question to remain at zero interest rates and for excess quantities charged to be returned.
  • To back an ethical commitment between the City Council and financial entities, building in measures to reverse the effects of bad banking practice.
  • To set up a specific service to coordinate support, advice, supervision and mediation between the UCER (Unit to Counter Residential Exclusion), the OMIC (Municipal Consumer Information Office), the OAC (Consumer Support Office) and Social Services to avoid abusive and disproportionate measures by financial entities.
  • To promote this motion among municipal entities, the PAH (Mortgage Victims’ Platform) and residents’ associations, as well as social media.
  • To commit to actively monitor the various bodies directly involved (UCER, OMIC, OAC and Social Services) and compile a report on the situation (evaluation and follow-up).


Local governments, a key to reaching agreements

In July 2015, the Catalan parliament unanimously approved Law 24/2015 detailing urgent measures to tackle the emergency in the spheres of housing and energy poverty, based on a popular legislative initiative presented by the PAH (Mortgage Victims’ Platform) to protect affected users against these sorts of abusive bank products.

The State Government is responsible for regulating credit, banking and insurance. Nevertheless, Barcelona City Council stands by its duty to protect consumers and recognises that, based on their role as purchasers of financial products, local governments may contribute and apply pressure to reach agreements between customers and financial entities.

Following various meetings with the Commission representing those affected by the IRPH, the Catalan Consumer Agency opened a case against 28 banking entities as it saw sufficient evidence that consumer rights had been violated. The Ombudsman of Catalonia also made a public commitment to profile the abusive situation and start an investigation into banking entities with the aim of eradicating the index from their derived products.


IRPH: A banking product condemned by the EU

In 2009, the EU considered these types of indexes to be “suspicious and easily manipulated” and ordered Spain to prevent its banking entities from applying them. Two years later, the Spanish Government issued ministerial order EHA 2899/2011, which described the elimination of the indexes from banks and building societies, but made no mention of the IRPH used by financial entities.

These entities used the indexes as references for over a million and a half mortgages in the State, arguing that they offered greater security and stability. Many families saw their mortgage repayments subject to a fixed interest rate (even though the contracts specified they would be variable), while a second group of users were subject to the IRPH from financial entities imposed by the Government.

In both cases, Article 26 of EHA 2899/2011 was violated and a reference index which the EU had declared illicit was imposed. At present, the IRPH used by financial entities and the fixed interest rates which derive from them have still not been definitively annulled, and while they are still in use, many others may lose their homes due to the abusive conditions of these banking products.

Share this content