Madrid will regulate habitability to face the ‘zulo-flats’ market


The Madrid City Council begins the preliminary procedures to prepare a habitability ordinance that regulates building conditions and prevent tiny apartments with serious doubts about being habitable from continuing to surface and be sold. The existence of this type of ‘housing’ has multiplied in the capital due to the real estate pressure that its inhabitants suffer to try to access a flat. also to what since 2018 the ‘habitability certificate’ has not been in forcethe administrative document that certified the minimum conditions in which a property could be inhabited.

The government of José Luis Martínez-Almeida hurries the legislature to implement one of the measures agreed in the ‘Agreements of the Villa’ between all the formations with political representation in the municipality. The agreement reached proposed regulate “the building conditions in light of the needs and circumstances detected during the pandemic and previous years”, something that is intended to be achieved with the new standard. It will be complementary to current laws, and is intended to serve as a point of reference for future political decisions and criteria for channeling aid for the rehabilitation or improvement of residences.

For this, the new ordinance will try to define ‘habitability’ as a concept, define their characteristics or design indicators to assess the satisfaction of the residents of these homes. It will deal with aspects such as hygienic conditions, the treatment of terraces, balconies and roof terraces, the design of common spaces to adapt them to teleworking, parking areas for bicycles or naturalization of buildings.

Housing linked to poverty

In the regulatory memory, the consistory mentions the link of housing with factors of poverty and vulnerability, recalls the social differences that were revealed in the confinements, and mentions the need to guarantee that homes are affordable, accessible or conceived under certain comfort standards. Before this consultation, the Madrid city council already studied vulnerability in homes, revealing that 28% of them had difficulty making ends meet.

The question of the habitability of housing is complex. Its construction or rehabilitation is governed by dozens of regulations, but there is no unitary definition that sets the minimum conditions for a property to be inhabited. The basic rule for all new housing, the Technical Building Code, does not set them either. The city council itself assumes that it does not have an instrument that allows it to describe whether a flat is habitable, since the Land Law of the Community of Madrid, the immediate highest-ranking norm, is limited to maintaining undefined “basic conditions”. .

The Community of Madrid eliminated the identity card in 2018

In June 2018, the Community itself announced the suppression of the procedure for granting the certificate of habitability, the document that recognized whether a property was suitable or not to be used as a home. The then popular government of Ángel Garrido —successor of Cristina Cifuentes— claimed that this document was a pre-construction control that duplicated skills that were already verified with the municipal planning license.

Nor does the great urban regulation of Madrid, its General Urban Planning Plan, end this ambiguity: “The ‘habitability’ is today in the existing regulations a legal concept not delimitedpending the establishment of the appropriate scope and content to achieve the planned objectives”, says the report of the future norm that the Madrid government intends to implement. In order for it to materialize, it must pass the public consultation process in which it is He asks the people of Madrid what grade they would give their home, what aspects provide greater comfort and satisfaction to their home, a building or a neighborhood, or if they believe that works should be subsidized to improve their quality.

Madrid’s m2, at all-time highs

Regarding the Madrid housing market, the latest data offered by the Idealista real estate portal establishes 3,995 euros the price per square meter for homes for sale in February 2023, the all-time high of its records, a value that is 6.1% higher than the previous year. For its part, the rental price remains two tenths of the record set in May 2020, with a value of €16.6/m2 in February, growing 10.9% in one year.

The ‘Madrid Insight 2022’ report prepared by Knight Frank ranked Madrid as one of the hundred cities in the world where the price of residential property grew the most, motivated by the rise of great fortunes and market dynamism. The second wave of the ‘X-ray of the housing market 2022’ prepared by Fotocasa with data from the second half of the year pointed out that the sale of flats was stagnating in Madrid and assured that the participation of individuals in the market had fallen 4 pointsfrom 36% to 32%.

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