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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.​

Inspections and controls for ensuring proper use of social housing

08/08/2019 - 17:30

Seven flats that were either vacant or rented out above the rental prices set for social housing will return to being rented at an affordable price.

There are 16,000 official social dwellings in Barcelona still classed as such. The last year and a half have seen signs of improper use detected in 358 public sale-promotion flats, suggesting their beneficiaries had not been living in them. The commonest misuse is for the dwelling to be vacant or rented out at market prices. Inspections and controls have enabled seventeen of these to be reclaimed as affordable-rental housing.

Municipal initiative

December 2017 saw the City Council launch its Official Social Housing Inspection Plan for investigating and fining owners who fail to use their official social housing dwelling (HPO) as a usual and permanent residence or who have subrented it without authorisation. Its aim is to ensure the social purpose of these flats.

As jurisdiction for housing, capacity for inspecting improper use of the social housing pool falls to the Catalan regional government, even so, the City Council asked the regional government for a list of the city’s social dwellings as well as authorisation for investigating them and fining their owners.

Reduced fines in Exchange for affordable rent

Inspections were focused on flats that had lost their classification during the last few years. So far 2,679 dwellings have been inspected, with improper use detected in 358, for being vacant or rented out without authorisation and for over the established rental price.

In all, 60 disciplinary proceedings have been started, currently at the procedural stage. So far twelve fines have been paid, ranging from 4,000 to 45,000 euros, for improper use of social housing.

As these are very serious offences, the fines provided for them in the Act on Right to Housing may range from 90,000 to 900,000 euros. The amount of the fine is reduced where owners go back to making proper use of their dwelling, such as putting it on the affordable-housing market or renting it out at the price set by legislation.

Inspections have therefore enabled the incorporation of 6 flats into the affordable rental housing pool. already rented out, will now have a price protected by the Act. The dwellings are located in the neighbourhoods of La Barceloneta, El Clot, Poble-sec and Vallbona, among other places.

The City Council is calling on the Catalan government to permanently protect the city’s small pool of public housing, to prevent flats from losing their social status and being sold at a much higher price than what the original people awarded the housing had paid.

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