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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.​

“We must create a credible, agreed index to control the cost of rented accommodation”

31/10/2016 - 12:10

Interview. Max Gigling, a social housing policy researcher, speaks about rental price control and the measures employed by various European cities that could be applied in Barcelona.

Max Gigling is a Valencia Housing Observatory (VHO) researcher into social housing policies. He took part in Barcelona City Council’s Housing Conference that was held at the end of October. In the last seminar of the first day of the Housing Conference, Gigling presented a comparison between the rental market and its regulation in Barcelona, Berlin and Paris.

In 2015, Paris and Berlin approved regulations for their own rental markets that included a set of measures designed to ensure that housing continued to be accessible for their residents. These new regulations allow the municipal administrations to directly or indirectly control the price of rented housing.

In an interview, Gigling affirms that in order to implement such necessary measures as the control of the cost of rented accommodation, it is first necessary to create a “credible and agreed” price index. For this reason, the Councillor’s Office for Housing is now preparing an index for rental prices in Barcelona that will serve as a basis for producing future housing policies with a social vocation.

The VHO researcher recognises that advances have been made in the city in recent years, because nowadays the administration takes into account the personal and economic situation of people who want to rent accommodation. Furthermore, it aims to instil this awareness into the general public through campaigns that highlight the relevance and importance of housing as a fundamental right.

“After many years where the only thing people talked about was the insecurity suffered by landlords, awareness is now being raised about the fact that tenants also suffer situations of considerable insecurity, and that this also directly affects the area they live in”, he stated.


A regulatory model for Barcelona

Gigling has been studying the housing models of various European cities for many years, and he has worked as an advisor to several institutions. The VHO advisor also states that Barcelona tops the ranking of Spanish cities in terms of increasing rental prices.

“Undoubtedly, because it combines high tourist demand, a relatively high proportion of tenant occupancy and a relatively low number of unoccupied flats compared to other Spanish cities”, he explained.

In this sense, Gigling admits the importance of tourism as a conditioning factor in the city’s housing policies and recognises the usefulness of initiatives such as sending letters to Barcelona residents informing them of their rights in cases where they are affected by an illegal tourist flat in their building. He then added: “People must be informed that this is a regulated economic activity and as such, it must conform with the law”.

During his participation in the Housing Congress, Gigling showed his concern about the persisting effects of the housing boom in Barcelona and warned of the price hikes that cause “invisible evictions”: those that do not figure in any statistics and which cannot be put right with aid or subsidies, because that would harm the personal interests of the owners.


Control of rental prices by the administration

In addition to defending local administrations’ power of decision in such a sensitive area as housing, Gigling emphasised their capacity to influence others. Rental control has rapidly spread to other cities in both France and Germany after being applied in the capitals. However, he warns that each case must be analysed and placed in a specific context.

For example the Mietpreisbremse (a German law that prevents any improper increase in rental prices) has often been cited in Spain in reference to old rental contracts, but Gigling believes that “while the idea in both cases is to limit rental-price increases, the two mechanisms are very different, and it makes no sense to compare them”.

Other cities such as Amsterdam, London and Bogotá also have their own regulations, applicable at a municipal level, which allow the administration to oversee the rental market and defend the rights of tenants. The new issue of the publication Qüestions d’Habitatge [Housing Questions] presents a Comparative Study on Housing Policies.

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