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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 number of people served at Energy Advisory Points has doubled in one year

09/08/2018 - 13:51

Energy rights. These centres of attention for citizens have served about 10,000 people in the first six months of 2018, more than the entire year of 2017.

The Energy Advisory Points (PAE, in the Catalan acronym) have been strengthened as an essential service in the defence of citizens’ energy rights. These offices, created in early 2017, served close to 10,000 people in the first six months of 2018, more than all of last year, when they served 8,600 people. Thus, between the months of January and June of this year, the number of people served in the same period of 2017 has doubled.

These facts demonstrate the importance that the service has gained during the second year of its life. The PAEs, located in the ten districts of Barcelona, offer information, advice and attention to combat problems related to energy poverty, to guarantee access to basic energy supplies, and to improve the efficiency of homes in the city.

What are the reasons for this growth? Patrici Hernández, head of the department for the Coverage of Basic Needs of the Municipal Social Services Institute, believes that “several communication campaigns have been carried out and have had an important impact.”

The people served have also contributed to popularising the PAE: “Word of mouth works very well, because the level of user satisfaction is very high.” Finally, Hernández also appreciates the work that is being carried out to publicise the service by social organisations and health and social care services.


PAE services

The PAEs provide special attention to people suffering from energy poverty. They inform them about their rights and how to take the necessary steps to exercise them. They also help prevent companies from cutting supply services to economically vulnerable people, process economic aid, and offer assistance with company procedures.

In addition to this, they offer services aimed at the general population. PAE technicians provide information on measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes, and advise citizens on bills, power, rates and the best energy company for each case. They also explain what steps to follow to generate energy at home with self-supply facilities.


Challenges for 2018

“Apart from providing our services, we are working to better understand the reality of the city,” explains Patrici Hernández. With this aim, the Barcelona City Council has prepared a report that analyses the impact of energy poverty in the city.

One of its main conclusions is that around 10% of the population of Barcelona is in a situation of energy poverty; that is, about 150,000 people. “We are very aware of the need to find the people affected and offer them the necessary attention,” adds the municipal official.

Therefore, Hernández points out that one of the most important challenges of the service is “to identify the groups that meet the requirements to receive public support, but are not receiving it”. These are groups such as the elderly or single parent families with few resources. “We are making an effort to find them,” he concludes.


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