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.​

Barcelona City Council's SIPHO program wins bronze World Habitat Award

05/01/2023 - 11:32

Housing. With more than 31.000 people assisted, the program aimed at preventing the eviction of people in vulnerable situations and at risk of losing their homes has received prestigious international recognition from World Habitat.

The Barcelona City Council has been recognized for one of its most outstanding mediation and counseling programs to prevent the loss of housing in the city. Specifically, it is the Housing Loss and Occupancy Intervention Service (SIPHO), which intervenes in 90% of the eviction cases in the city and which, thanks to its valuable work, has received the prestigious World Habitat Award in the bronze category.

The award is given by World Habitat, an international charitable organization recognized by the United Nations (UN) Department of Public Information that works to make housing a basic right for everyone, far from turning it into an investment or a dream. And among its most outstanding actions are the World Habitat Awards, organized in association with UN-Habitat, which as leading housing awards recognize and highlight innovative, exceptional and revolutionary ideas, projects and programs from around the world.

Key help in times of emergency

World Habitat especially encourages communities to take control of solving their own housing needs. This is precisely what Barcelona City Council does with the SIPHO program.

Specialized in advising and accompanying cohabitation units affected by an eviction process, the professionals who make up this program often act as mediators between the courts, the landlords, and the tenants, and coordinate a joint effort to find an agreed solution that avoids the loss of housing. So much so that the service prevents nine out of ten evictions.

Often, SIPHO intervenes in urgent cases where, with an eviction order on the table, residents are at risk of losing their homes within 15 days. In the event it is stopped, SIPHO works out a plan to help residents retain their rental agreement, while if eviction is unavoidable, it works to relocate the affected family. Thus, although the priority is to ensure that people do not have to leave their homes, in the event of an eviction, alternative housing is quickly found.

The program, funded entirely by the Barcelona City Council, has so far helped 31,000 people, with demand for the service increasing significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, the program works with people in vulnerable situations, as shown by the 2021 data: 86% of cases involved people living below the poverty line, while 47% included children.

“The future for a person who is told they have to leave the place they call home is frightening, but SIPHO offers the help these people need during this very difficult process,” explains World Habitat Executive Director David Ireland.

The World Habitat Awards, in operation since 1985, recognize projects that improve the living conditions of people in many different contexts and are classified into three categories: winners (gold), special mention (silver), and finalists (bronze).