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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.​

Proceedings against fourteen owners of protected homes for not living in them and keeping them empty

09/01/2019 - 17:45

Housing. One of the cases has been resolved with a fine of 180,000 euros for not residing in the flat and renting it out above the permitted rate. The other cases are still being resolved.

The city’s pool of officially protected housing (HPO) is being inspected to guarantee it is being put to social use. Proceedings have so far been brought against the owners of fourteen flats which are either empty or being sublet without permission from the Catalan Housing Agency at prices above the authorised rate. Out of the fourteen cases brought, thirteen are still being resolved and one has been settled with a fine of 180,000 euros.

The action by the Housing Disciplinary Unit, operated by the Municipal Housing and Renovation Institute, is part of an inspection and control programme for the pool of officially protected homes. It is the first time the process has been conducted in Catalonia.

The programme is checking whether regulations are being met at the 16,000 homes which are officially protected in the city of Barcelona. So far around 1,500 have been visited, resulting in the 13 cases currently being brought in the districts of Ciutat Vella (2 cases), Sants-Montjuïc (1 case), Horta-Guinardó (2 cases), Nou Barris (4 cases), L’Eixample (1 case) and Sant Martí (3 cases).

One case resolved

Besides the 13 cases currently open, the City Council has also resolved a case brought against the owner of an officially protected flat in C/ Doctor Aiguader (Barceloneta neighbourhood) for two serious offences: not residing at the home and subletting it without the permission of the Catalan Housing Agency at a price well above what would have been authorised.

The fine imposed by the City Council in this case is 180,000 euros and includes the obligation to pay back the extra money received above the permitted cost of the rent to the City Council. That means paying a further 16,048 euros on top of the fine.

The protected homes in C/ Doctor Aiguader date back to the 1990s and their classification as officially protected housing applies for thirty years. While that classification still applies, the owners remain bound by a series of legal conditions.

Process for fines

When an empty home is detected a process begins to locate the owners of the flat and determine why the home is empty. This is because the Act on the Right to Housing establishes the obligation for officially protected homes to be used by owners or tenants as their regular abode. Only in exceptional cases, when those awarded the homes demonstrate the impossibility of living in them, can authorisation be given to rent them out. However, the rent charged must be set by the administration responsible, in this case the Catalan Housing Agency.

Failure to meet these regulations is considered a serious offence according to the Act on the Right to Housing and can lead to very heavy fines ranging from 90,001 to 900,000 euros.

The City Council is also calling on the government and the Parliament of Catalonia to maintain official protection for housing indefinitely, and for the Government of Catalonia to strengthen and complement the action taken by the City Council in terms of powers to impose fines for breaches in the law on officially protected housing.


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