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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.​

Housing: an empowerment tool

15/12/2016 - 22:49

Housing policies. Barcelona City Councillor for Housing, Josep Maria Montaner, takes part in the presentation of a comparative study of housing policies in European and American cities.


The Barcelona City Councillor for Housing, Josep Maria Montaner, took part in the presentation of Qüestions d’habitatge: Polítiques comparades d’habitatge [Housing Issues: Comparatives of Housing Policies], where he asserted housing was a cultural hallmark and a social “empowerment tool”.

“Each culture is becoming increasingly known for its housing policies. When we know how people live, where they live – in private houses, in cooperatives, in open or closed cities – all that tells us a lot more about that society” he said during an event held at the head office of the Barcelona Quantity Surveyors, Technical Architects and Building Engineers Association (CAATEEB).

Issue Nº 20 of Qüestions d’Habitatge offers a comparative study of housing policies in various European and American cities: Amsterdam, Paris, London, Berlin, New York and Bogota. The study takes sociological and demographic indicators, the types of public grants and subsidies, and the bodies created by public authorities and civil society for managing housing-related issues as its points of reference.

Montaner stressed the importance of studying the models of other cities with much more developed housing policies, in order to learn more about successful experiences and assess measures and instruments that could be extrapolated to Barcelona.

At the same time he maintained that housing policies have to aim at “the greatest possible diversification” and bring together various local authority lines of action, for example, carrying out a study of vacant flats and taking advantage of that to educate owners so they include their properties in the Rented Housing Pool.


Better management, funding and housing associations

The Barcelona School of Architecture (ESTAB-UPC) professor and director of the study, Pilar García-Almirall, highlighted its interdisciplinary approach and summarised the main lessons drawn from the examples studied which could be applied to Barcelona to boost its housing policies.

Firstly, she stressed the importance of housing associations, which are widespread in some European countries and make it possible to diversify affordable-housing providers and public-private entities, while broadening housing options and expanding the available stock.

These non-profit organisations offer a local service and professional advice. They also supplement the work of public authorities in providing, managing and maintaining social housing.

The director of the study also insisted there was a need to strengthen the systems for obtaining funding, giving France as an example because it has a public bank with funds solely for building and managing public housing. There is also a legal entity, the inter-professional workers’ committees (CIL), which donate part of their income to building social housing and can manage the award of that housing.

In Amsterdam, the existence of a computerised system that controls rent prices (by means of the Annual Housing Survey) enables a relatively stable threshold to be maintained and allows the associations to intervene when they consider it is appropriate.

In García-Almirall’s opinion, citizen participation is a key element, not only in defining planning or government initiatives, but also in helping those government bodies to implement their housing policies and monitor them, to ensure they are effective.


The problem of non-existent public spending

For her part, Carme Trilla, the director of the Hàbitat 3 Foundation, criticised the fact that the percentage of GDP which the Spanish government allocates to housing policies is practically nil. In the most advanced countries, public spending on housing hovers between 1.5% and 3% of GDP. In Europe, it has gone down from 1.1% to 0.8% following the crisis but Spain only allocates 0.08%.

Trilla expressed her “deepest concern” and regret that, in the end, it is families that have to make up for the lack of public investment in a vital aspect of social welfare. “That is the dilemma: the inability of people to gain access to housing and keep their home faced with the rise in prices”, said the Catalan government’s former Housing Secretary.

Trilla also asserted that the public housing stock’s “great virtue” is being able to control the price of housing, that public authorities can set prices below market trends to ensure the most vulnerable sectors of society have access to a decent home.

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