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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.​

Everything you need to know about the Decree Law on Urgent Measures to Improve Access to Housing

19/03/2020 - 16:45

Habitatge. Decree Law 17/2019 aims to combat the housing emergency, increase the number of homes protected under rental regulations and moderate the price of rent.

At the end of 2019, the Government of the Generalitat approved Decree Law 17/209 which includes urgent measures to improve access to housing. Specifically, the regulation has a threefold objective: to combat the housing emergency; to increase the amount of protected housing, with a special emphasis on homes for rent; and to help to moderate rental prices of private homes. Below we review the main innovations this decree involves for the various areas.

Housing Emergency

In terms of combating the emergency situation and preventing evictions, the following aspects should be noted:

– Large owners must offer social renting to families in a vulnerable situation and these contracts must last for 7 years, whereas previously they could be for 3 or 5 years.

– These social rent contracts should be offered to vulnerable families who are in the process of eviction when their rental contract expires but also when they have occupied a home for six months without having had any type of contract.

– The definition of a large owner is extended, now being based on the number of dwellings, rather than surface area, and also including natural persons. Thus, a large owner is considered to be any natural or legal person who owns more than 15 homes.

– The change of use for land which was planned for public amenities will be made easier so that it can be used to build temporary housing in order to cope with the emergency situation.

– The preferential right of refusal and acceptance by administrations is extended to second or third purchase transactions.

New model of protected housing

The second area in which the Decree aims to have a major impact is that of protected housing, both by creating a new housing model and, at the same time, increasing the protected rental housing stock. The most significant points are as follows:

– The protected housing designation will be permanent provided that the properties are set aside for use as publically protected housing under urban planning regulations or that they form part of the public land and housing assets. This will prevent the loss of protected housing that would otherwise return to the private market.

– The land available for protected housing will be increased. In municipalities with a strong and proven demand for housing, this will be a minimum of 50% of the buildable area on land for designated development and 40% on non-consolidated land.

– Private initiatives will be encouraged to build protected housing. Private protected housing developments built with public aid will be covered against non-payment of rent and tenants will take precedence in help for non-payment.

– It includes the possibility for urban planning regulations to allocate land for the construction of multi-family housing specifically for rent. It also promotes the possibility of partially allocating buildings for designated protected housing in order to offer a more varied range of housing adapted current needs.

– The sale of public housing will be subject to a set price that will prevent profiteering alongside protected housing.

Reduction of rental prices

The Decree Law also includes some measures that aim to encourage the reduction of rents using the Catalan Housing Agency’s Reference Rate for rental prices. This is an index calculated using the average price of apartments with the same characteristics in the same area.

Decree Law 17/2019 will require this to be included on real estate sites and in rental contracts and when handing over supporting documentation. However, owners who want access to aid must rent their homes at a price below the Rental Price Reference Rate.

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