On 9 September, the Parliament of Catalonia passed the rental price regulation law, a law that reached the Parliament from a proposal of the Sindicat de Llogateres (Union of Tenants), supported by 4,000 social and cultural entities and which was passed with the favourable votes of JxCat, ERC, Catalunya en Comú and the CUP. The legislation will apply to 60 Catalan municipalities where it is considered that the rental market is “under pressure”, which includes Barcelona and its metropolitan area, Lleida, Girona and Tarragona. This list of municipalities is not closed, municipalities that see a sustained increase in rental prices above the country’s average can be added.
With this new law, rent will be linked to a reference rate calculated by the Generalitat (Catalan Government) taking into account variables such as the location of the flat, the square metres, state of conservation and others, and which will set the maximum that can be demanded of a tenant. If a tenant is paying a higher price, they may request a reduction but, furthermore, if they are paying less than the rate, the owner cannot increase it, as the new law only envisages prices being frozen or reduced.
This law will affect all new contracts in the cities that are inside the area under pressure, but exceptions are foreseen. Regarding new build flats or where renovation work has been done, not obligatory maintenance, and of owners who collect up to 2,000 euros per month and who are, therefore, small owners for whom the rent helps reach the end of the month, they may charge a rent up to the higher level of the reference rate.
The law also provides for sanctioning owners in the event of non-compliance. If a property is rented for a price that is more than 20% of the reference rate, they may be fined between 9,000 and 90,000 euros and if the reference rate or rent of the previous contract is not stated, the fine may be between 3,000 and 9,000 euros.