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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.​

Over 60% of property agents accept ethnic discrimination when renting out homes

16/12/2021 - 11:50

Inclusion. The figure is revealed by a study based on 350 calls by people posing as fictitious property owners.

A new report on exclusion in the housing rental market on the grounds of people’s origins, based on calls to property agents operating in Barcelona, concludes that 62% of agents approached accept discrimination.

A first study on discrimination in access to housing was presented in 2020, and two fines imposed: one for offering a home for “Spanish people only”, and another for a case of direct discrimination. These were the first fines of this type in the Spanish state. Under the title Discriminació a la carta, the new study finds evidence of this type of discriminatory practice in the sector.

The 350 calls to property agents operating in the city were made posing as a fictitious owner seeking to rent out a flat and asking for immigrants to be excluded from the tenant selection process. The answers obtained from the property agents contacted show that a significant majority openly accept such discrimination:

  • Accepting of discrimination: in 62% of cases the agent accepted the discriminatory request and excluded the specified profile in the selection process.
  • Facilitation of discrimination: in 24% of cases the acceptance of discrimination was not direct, but various practices were detected that result in the specified collective being excluded from access to the home in the same way.
  • No ethnic discrimination: in 10% of cases the agent refused to accept the proposed discrimination.
  • Evasive response: in 4% of cases the agent avoided responding to the request.

The studies help identify and quantify the scope of this type of discrimination, determine to what extent it is normalised in the sector and decide how to work together with agents and organisations to eradicate it. The results have been conveyed to the Property Administrators’ Association (API) and the Chamber of Urban Property, and the resources, training and mediation services offered by the Office for Non-Discrimination (OND) have also been made available.

Presence of prejudice and stereotypes

In the discriminatory request from the fictitious owner the caller consciously only opts for the term ‘immigrant’, without any further explanations on ethnic origin, religion or social class, meaning the discrimination was interpreted as referring to people from certain countries. Throughout the experiment, the study observed that the responses from property agents demonstrated a clear distinction between the ‘immigrant’ population, corresponding to the profile being discriminated against, and the ‘foreign’ population, which is not targeted.

Another important aspect which emerged during the study is that this is a shrouded practice. Some 94% of property agents spontaneously note that such discrimination cannot be publicised, without the fictitious owner requiring a filter being applied to the property ad.

The fact that the discrimination is not publicised or never openly displayed by the property agents demonstrates an initial obstacle when it comes to proving that it occurs. Secondly, the use of deceit and lies towards the people discriminated against, strategies which the agents admit to and which are noted in the study, make it even more difficult to prove. In turn, this makes it more difficult to pursue, penalise and repair.

More discrimination between non-affiliated agencies

The study Discriminació a la carta has helped identify substantial differences between the behaviour of officially affiliated agents and those which are not. Despite the fact that discrimination is accepted by a majority in both cases, the figure among non-affiliated agencies was 3 out of every 4, compared to a slightly lower figure among affiliated agents. At the same time, the figure for affiliated agents rejecting any sort of discrimination was higher, at 15%, compared to the those that don’t, at just 5%.


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