Tanca Tanca

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.​

What rights do I have as tenant and what obligations does the landlord have?

30/12/2020 - 11:27

Housing. The female lawyers of the Housing Office and representatives of the Union of Female Tenants explain the key points of the Act passed in September

On 9 September 2020 the Parliament of Catalonia passed the Rent Price Regulation Act, which permits freezing and lowering rents in 61 Catalan municipalities where it has been considered that the market is under tension. This bill entered Parliament at the proposal of the Sindicat de Llogateres (Union of Female Tenants) with the support of 4,000 social and cultural organisations and was passed with the votes in favour of JxCat, ERC, Catalunya en Comú and the CUP.

In order better to publicise how this Act works, the Barcelona Network of Youth Information Points has organised an online meeting with the advisor on shared housing of the Network of Youth Information Points, Mari Carmen Jiménez; the lawyers of the Housing Office of Nou Barris, Maria Romero and Anna Vàzquez, and the representative of the Union of Female TenantsJordi González. This talk forms part of the cycle “Connected Youth”, a series of online talks aimed at publicising the Barcelona City Council’s youth services and facilities and answering young people’s doubts and queries. On this occasion, the session focussed on the Rent Price Regulation Act. Below we summarise the most important points discussed.


Rent Price Reference Index

The first key concept for understanding the Rent Price Regulation Act is the Rent Price Reference Index, which serves as the basis for calculating the maximum price to be paid by the tenant and is the average of the rents in a specific area calculated on the basis of the guarantee bonds deposited in the Incasòl institution. It can be calculated on the website of the Catalonia Housing Agency by introducing certain data such as the year of construction, the habitable square metres recorded in the certificate of habitability and the state of the building, and by answering certain questions such as whether the home has a lift, storeroom or furniture.


Freezing and lowering of prices

The goal of this Act is, as was explained by the representative of the Union of Female Tenants, Jordi González, to halt the exorbitant rise of rents which has occurred in the last few years and to prevent, at the end of the contract, the tenant receiving a bureaufax announcing a rent rise of €200 or €300 which they cannot meet.

The price of the rent, therefore, will have to be frozen or lowered, depending on the previous situation of the home:

– If there was no previous contract or it was more than five years old, the price of the new contract has to be that marked by the Reference Index.

– If there was a previous contract signed less than five years ago, it is necessary to take into account the price of the previous contract and that of the Reference Index and establish the lower of the two. This price will be reviewed in accordance with the Competitiveness Guarantee Index, an index similar to the Consumer Price Index (IPC).


Exceptions to the Act

However, the Act contemplates a series of exceptions. It excludes apartments leased to relatives, those which were under official protection and enter the free market, or cases in which the lessor is in a situation of vulnerability.

The amount of the rent can also be increased by up to 5% if at least three requirements among a series of improvements included in the Act are fulfilled, for instance that the home is furnished, has a heating or cooling system, a parking space or community zones, among others.

The rent can also be increased by up to 20% above the Reference Index if improvement works have been carried out during the last year. These works must constitute improvement, not maintenance, and must be related to safety, habitability, energy efficiency and comfort. The increase will be linked to the amount the owner has spent on the works, subtracting any grants the owner has been able to obtain and adding the interest of money, all justified by means of invoices, projects and planning permissions.


Obligations and penalties

A key point of this Act is information. The advertisements of apartments and the contracts have of necessity to include the Reference Index and, if there is a previous contract, the price that was being paid and the date of the contract. If this information is not included, the owner may authorise the new tenant to a consult it by way of Incasòl. Not including this information in the advertisement or the contract is irregular and may be penalised.

The Act incorporates a penalty system with fines which can range from 3,000 to 90,000 euros. If the tenant signs a new contract and pays more than what is established by the Act, they can submit a claim by way of the Catalonia Housing Agency and recover the excess amount paid plus interest. It will have to be seen how all these penalties will be applied, since the Act is very recent, as was pointed out by the lawyers of the Housing Offices and the representative of the Union of Female Tenants. This Union also pointed out that the Act recognises entities such as itself as mediators and consequently that organising with neighbours and entities for the defence of housing can also be an option for negotiating in the event of irregular practices by landlords.