Government open to expropriating 200 empty housing units

Executive weighing up measure in 14 towns if owners reject putting them up for social housing

24 social housing units under construction in Rubí, on March 3, 2023
24 social housing units under construction in Rubí, on March 3, 2023 / Marta Vidal
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 9, 2023 12:47 PM

May 9, 2023 06:13 PM

The Catalan government is open to expropriating almost 200 empty housing units in 14 towns if the owners reject putting them up for social housing, as announced on Tuesday midday during the weekly press conference after the ministers' council.

The towns where the measure will take place have been determined as they have a high request for social housing that accepted the executive's assistance. 

The cabinet will ask the owners of these 189 housing units to prove that the house is occupied, and if owners cannot prove it, the government will start a negotiation process to put the apartments up for social housing, and if the owner does not agree, the cabinet will expropriate them.

These flats are registered in the empty housing units register, and once they have seen that these have been empty for over two years, the government will start the process, which could take months.

"Large-scale property owners [with ten or more properties] who own these empty units will have a month to show that there are people living in them," Juli Fernàndez, territory minister, said during the press conference.


Owners that justify the flat is occupied or is on the rental market, the case will be closed. If not, there will be three months to reach an agreement between the parties offering a rental contract of five years. If no deal is achieved, the government will start the expropriation process.

Currently, the government has around €5 million planned for expropriation processes, which represent around 50 to 70 units of social housing.

Overall, there are 31,198 empty housing units, including the ones in Barcelona, with its own registry.

To detect empty houses, authorities combine the 'padró' census, electrical and water consumption, and visit the units.