Parliamentary blow to Catalan government’s proposed rent cap

Opposition parties vote en bloc against law

Justice Minister Esther Capella in Catalan Parliament on June 26, 2019 (Gerard Artigas/ACN)
Justice Minister Esther Capella in Catalan Parliament on June 26, 2019 (Gerard Artigas/ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 26, 2019 05:35 PM

The Catalan Parliament has voted against the Catalan government’s May 2019 law that was supposed to permit rent caps in neighborhoods or cities where a lack of affordable housing can be proven.

The Socialists, People’s Party, Ciutadans, CUP and Catalunya en Comú Podem have voted against this draft bill and have effectively blocked its implementation, thereby uniting parties across the political spectrum.

This has occurred despite Justice Minister Ester Capella’s appeals to left-leaning parties CUP and CatECP to abstain – which would have allowed the law’s approval – and then work to modify specific points: “If it is blocked, we cannot improve anything. We’ll end up with nothing and back to square one.”

CUP and CatECP voted against the measure, with both parties describing it as insufficient and ill-equipped to tackle the lack of affordable housing. CatECP also reminded the goverment of the need to speak with grassroots organizations working on the matter.

According to CUP’s Maria Sirvent, “the bill doesn’t tackle the housing emergency and it legitimizes the market’s prices, which are completely unsustainable.”

On the other hand, both C’s and the Socialist’s criticized the bill for encroaching upon the Spanish government’s jurisdiction, with C’s Manuel Rodríguez also complaining about it “going against the market’s unity and the autonomy of will.”

Rent in Catalonia is on the verge of €1,000/month, with an average 80m2 apartment costing €972 accounting for 49.2% of an average salary in Catalonia. Affected residents have long complained about the unregulated housing market and the effects of mass tourism on elevated housing prices.