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.​

Energy advice points help over 30,000 people in 2020

26/04/2021 - 18:07

Environment and sustainability. The PAE have also helped prevent utilities being cut off in 27,598 cases and helped families save over 80,000 euros.

The principal service for defending people’s energy rights acts in cases where there is a risk of energy poverty and provides advice for households to optimise their consumption and seek energy-saving solutions.

Support provided in 2020

The city’s eleven energy advice points (PAE) helped 33,641 people in 2020, corresponding to 13,355 households. The volume of support rose by 7% compared to the previous year and brings the number of people who have approached the service since it was set up in 2017 to a total of 99,225.

Problems associated with the consumption of utility services mainly affect those linked more closely with housework and domestic tasks: two out of three PAE users are women, a figure which responds to the high level of feminisation of care work which persists in society. In addition, women mainly account for the 32% of users who live alone, with an average age of 69.

In terms of families attended to, 42% of these households include minors and 41% have at least one family member over the age of 65. The labour situation of users reflects high rates of precariousness, with 42% of households with all family members unemployed, 12% of those with jobs working part-time hours and 7% inactive or with permanent disabilities.

Suspension of utilities being cut off

One of the goals of the PAE is to avoid individuals and families in vulnerable situations ending up without basic services. Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the worsening socio-economic conditions in many households, a special state regulation was approved last year expressly prohibiting companies from cutting users off. The decree means the PAE have not had to act in as many risk cases as in previous years, but even so, 27,598 cases of people getting cut off were prevented in the city. This brings the total to 84,663 since the service was set up.

Less consumption, more savings

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 55% of phone enquiries made to the PAE using the special number set up during lockdown were about how to save on energy bills.

The PAE energy-savings advice service helped families save 81,692 euros in 2020. This was achieved through reducing the power potential contracted (11% of cases), requesting the social discount (27%), changing distributors on the regulated market (17%), switching to variable rates according to times of day (14%) and the elimination of additional services (6%), meaning PAE users were able to bring down their electricity or gas bills. In terms of water supplies, there were also advantages for families through the social discount (24%), while 33% of households attended to also applied for the solidarity fund.

Labour insertion for vulnerable people

The PAE also offer a labour insertion programme, which every year provides experience and qualifications for twenty people with the goal of generating job opportunities. This year’s programme saw 80% of participants find work afterwards, a much higher figure than in 2019 (37%) and in 2018 (28%).

Some 74% of people who took part in last year’s labour insertion programme by the PAE were women over the age of 50, with 80% coming from households where all members are unemployed and with severe material deprivation.

How to contact energy advice points?

By phone, on 930 008 054, from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 2 pm, and by email, with any of the eleven points around the city.

What is the social discount?

The discount entitles holders to 25% or 40% off their electricity bill and can be requested by any individual or family in a vulnerable situation. More information on the social discount.

How to get water bills down?

People at risk of residential exclusion or in vulnerable situations recognised by municipal social services can ask to be exempt from paying the sewerage tax.

How to save on energy consumption?

The reduction of contracted power levels and the application of variable pricing according to the time of day can help bring down bills and optimise consumption. Find more energy savings advice here.