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.​

European cities seek solutions for controlling the rental accommodation market

14/11/2017 - 23:51

Conference. Representatives from Barcelona, Lisbon, Bonn and London have explained the rental accommodation market in their cities and the policies undertaken to defend people's right to housing.

Today, at the Smart City Expo World Congress, Josep Maria Montaner, the Councillor for Housing in Barcelona, outlined the measures being taken in the city to defend the rights of tenants. He was taking part in the “Stabilising measures for rental accommodation in the city” conference at the Eurocities network meeting, which representatives from other European cities also took part in.

Montaner explained that the hike in rental prices (currently at a record high, with an average cost of almost €13 per square metre) is driving local residents away from their neighbourhoods.

What are the main causes of this situation? The city councillor mentioned various factors, including the pressure from tourism and the lack of a stable public housing policy, which has led to a very small number of affordable flats.

He also criticised housing policies carried out at a national level: “The laws are designed to favour investors” he said, giving the example of legislative changes that have limited the duration of rental contracts, a decision that is detrimental to tenants.


Municipal responses

In order to tackle this situation, Barcelona City Council has undertaken a series of measures that facilitate the general public’s access to housing and defends the rights of tenants.

The 2016-2025 Right to Housing in Barcelona Plan, driven by the City Council, establishes measures to prevent and respond to housing emergencies, ensure the proper use of available housing, expand the number of public flats and improve the existing stock of public housing.

Specifically, the municipal government is purchasing and acquiring empty flats in addition to building new ones. Furthermore, rent subsidies are being increased in order to prevent the more disadvantaged people from being evicted from their neighbourhoods, and it has also significantly increased subsidies for renovating buildings.

Regarding initiatives to mitigate the effects of tourism, it has undertaken measures to stop the construction of hotels and the proliferation of tourist flats.


The impact of tourism on Lisbon

Rui Neves Bochmann Franco, the Councillor for Housing in Lisbon, explained the rental accommodation market in his city, seriously affected by the pressure of tourism. He affirmed that 20 million people visit the Portuguese capital every year and that “they are causing unsustainable inflation” in rental prices.

In response to this situation, Lisbon City Council is increasing its efforts to renovate flats and it is exploring alternatives, in order to build flats in collaboration with the private sector.


Protection for tenants in Germany

Bernhard von Grünberg, representing Bonn City Council, explained a very different situation. He stated that in his city, tenant rights are much more protected, thanks to local authority control.

“Tenants’ rights are at the same level of those of property owners”, he affirmed, adding that “In Germany, it is normal for tenants to stay in the same flat for a long time, even for their entire lives”.

He also explained that in Bonn, there is a benchmark public price index that the City Council verifies by means of surveys on the city’s population.


London: a severe crisis

Rhona Brown, representing the Greater London Authority, explained the characteristics of the British capital’s “severe housing crisis”. “We have one of the largest and least-regulated rental markets in the world, and there hasn’t been any sustained, coherent policy”, she affirmed.

Brown admitted that prices have soared in her city, and that tenants “have very few rights”. She also said that the Mayor of London’s powers for tackling this situation are very limited, because the United Kingdom has a political system with very little decentralisation. She also affirmed that the Authority’s objective is to build 60,000 social housing flats.