NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?


The Catalan Government is considering the implementation of a tax on empty flats to be paid by the owning companies

The new tax would not affect individual citizens neither would it be implemented in areas without housing demand. The tax aims to put apartments and houses, owned by banks and real estate companies that remain empty despite being in areas with a demand for housing, back on the market. The expected effect is an increase in the amount of housing on offer in those areas and to make renting cheaper. The Catalan Minister for Public Works, Santi Vila, announced the new tax on Monday morning. A few hours later, the Catalan President confirmed they are considering it, although no final decision has been made. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) stated that the measure was part of the agreement reached with the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU).

SHARE

23 April 2013 12:02 AM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Monday morning, the Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, in charge of housing policies, Santi Vila, announced a new tax on empty flats and houses that are owned by private companies and in areas with housing demand. According to Vila, the new tax would not affect individual citizens neither would it be implemented in areas without housing demand. At noon, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas \u2013 who was in Brussels on an official visit, confirmed that they are considering the measure, although he emphasised that no final decision has been made yet. The tax would aim to put apartments and houses, owned by banks and real estate companies that remain empty despite being in areas with a demand for housing, back on the market. The expected effect is to increase the amount of housing on offer in those areas and therefore make housing more accessible, especially in the rental market. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) stated that they support the measure as it was already included into the stability pact reached with the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) welcomed the measure but said it was not enough. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) asked the Government to \u201Cexpropriate\u201D the empty flats they own from the banks. However, the People\u2019s Party (PP) opposed the measure as \u201Cthe way towards [economic] recovery\u201D is \u201Cnot via increasing fiscal pressure\u201D.


On Monday morning, the Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability announced that the department he chairs is considering the implementation of a tax on empty flats in order to reduce their number. The objective would be to implement it in 2013. However, no final decision has been taken yet on whether the measure will finally be adopted or not, as the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, emphasised later from Brussels. In fact, Vila had also explained that the measure was being discussed at the Catalan Parliament between the CiU and the ERC, as well as with the Government departments involved.

450,000 empty housing units in Catalonia

In a radio interview, Santi Vila explained that there are some 80,000 new housing units that remain empty in Catalonia. If the number of second hand homes is added to this number, the total number of empty houses and flats reaches 450,000 units. \u201CWe cannot afford tens of evicted families and more than 80,000 new flats that remain empty\u201D, said Vila. He added that they are following the model implemented in France, where a similar tax was implemented and the number of empty flats was reduced by 40% between 1999 and 2010.

A tax to be paid in some 70 municipalities

The minister emphasised that the tax would not target individual people, but banks, real estate developers and other companies that own houses and flats but do not put them on the market in areas with a high housing demand. Vila\u2019s department calculated that the tax might be implemented in some 70 municipalities throughout Catalonia. Most of them are in Greater Barcelona or they are county capital towns. The Government\u2019s project is to have a \u201Cfluctuating\u201D tax, depending on the demand for housing in a given municipality and the number of empty flats.

Putting the flat up for rent, a \u201Cfree decision\u201D

The final aim is \u201Cto foster the house rental market\u201D stated Vila. He also denied that they are looking to \u201Cearn\u201D money from the new tax. Their objective is \u201Cto penalise\u201D the unjustified inoccupation of the flat or house, particularly when the company owns large amounts of flats that are not being used and there is a high demand for housing in the area. According to the Minister, it is \u201Ca stimulation measure\u201D that aims to reduce the price paid by citizens when renting an apartment or a house. However, Vila also stressed that, in the end, \u201Cputting the flat or house up for rent will always be a free decision\u201D, as \u201Ceverybody will decide whether they prefer to do it or if they would rather pay the tax and have the flat empty\u201D.

SHARE

  • A second-hand flat on rent in Barcelona (by O. Campuzano)

  • A second-hand flat on rent in Barcelona (by O. Campuzano)