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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.​

The renovation of housing and its impact on citizens' health

12/05/2023 - 12:33

Housing. In addition to providing benefits from an economic and environmental perspective, actions on buildings bring improvements in the health and quality of life of people, as numerous scientific studies have shown.


In the last decade, the renovation of housing in the city of Barcelona has increased, thanks to greater investment by the City Council.  

In many ways, the concept of renovation is synonymous with savings. First, economically, as rehabilitating is much cheaper than building anew. While it has a high initial investment cost, passive measures ensure better performance of the home and require fewer improvement interventions over the years.

Secondly, there is energy savings, which increasingly has more value in the current context of environmental emergency. The renovation of housing should involve, for example, improving facades and insulation for lower consumption, as well as emphasizing the use of renewable resources and turning to solar, geothermal, and wind energy. The Vauban eco-neighborhood in Germany, where part of the old barracks were renovated to create solar homes and a solar parking lot, is an example of reference on a European scale. These measures generate a direct benefit for neighbors and show the direct relationship between renovation and health.

Beneficial measures for health

Precisely, the impact of home rehabilitation on people’s health is a well-studied aspect in the international arena, which has already provided interesting and positive conclusions.

A study published in 2019 and conducted by researchers from the IREC (Catalonia Institute for Energy Research) determined the potential economic savings in the healthcare system resulting from rehabilitation interventions in vulnerable homes, which have a positive effect on the health of their occupants. Specifically, the savings translate into a reduction in healthcare costs, expenses on medication, and costs derived from sick leave, which would be achieved thanks to the positive impact of reducing by 15% the number of households with at least one sick person.

These interventions in buildings can be aimed, for example, at eliminating moisture or fungi, which can facilitate the development of a series of diseases, such as respiratory illnesses.

The Sophie project, integrated within the seventh framework program for research of the European Union and with the participation of the Barcelona Public Health Agency, analyzed, among other aspects, the association between cold weather and mortality in people, both in those who lived in renovated buildings and in those who did not. The study showed that, on cold days, women’s mortality was not as high in renovated buildings. Therefore, measures such as widening the exterior walls of the building by adding insulation, insulating roofs, and installing elevators can be highly beneficial.

“Cold weather affects both physical and mental health, and energy poverty also affects health. It is worth noting that energy poverty usually combines with other types of poverty. Different insecurities – such as not being able to pay for housing, food insecurity, etc. – and energy poverty are often linked,” points out the manager of the Barcelona Public Health Agency, Carme Borrell, in an interview conducted in issue number 23 of Qüestions d’Habitatge dedicated to renovation.

Cold, but also heat, affect health, and are two elements that can be avoided if the building is well constructed and undergoes adequate renovation. In addition, as Borrell explains in QH, “What is clear is that cold temperatures inside the home affect the health of southern countries more than those in northern Europe. Even though it is much colder in northern countries, their homes are much better prepared, and therefore they live more comfortably”.

In this regard, low and high temperatures indoors during winter and summer, indoor humidity and the presence of fungi, poor indoor air quality, and unacceptable levels of indoor noise and natural light are some of the most problematic elements for the well-being of people living in a home. So much so that, in the last decade, scientific publications have proliferated showing that people’s physical health and emotional well-being can be influenced by their environment, in this case, by the conditions of their home.

The reasons mentioned, along with others such as job creation, fostering responsibility and private sector intervention, and the redistribution of rights in the city, are incentives to continue the commitment to housing renovation in Barcelona.