the catalan government will expropriate between 50 and 70 empty homes in 14 municipalities that it has declared as areas of strong demand for housing to dedicate them to social rental, as explained by the Minister of Territory of the Generalitat, Juli Fernàndez, at the press conference after the meeting of the Catalan government. In any case, the Catalan executive has detected 189 homes that meet the requirements and although they are mostly owned by large holders, there are also individuals if the homes are included in the corresponding registry or meet the requirements to be so.
In a first phase, the action will focus on 14 municipalities spread across half of Catalonia: Cornellà de Llobregat, Mataró, Mollet del Vallès, Rubí, Vic, Viladecans, Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona), Figueres, Lloret de Mar, Salt (Girona), Reus, Roda de Berà, Tarragona and Valls (Tarragona). Fernández explained that this measure will be promoted based on Law 1/2022 of the Generalitat: “The Government uses all the tools at its disposal to respond to families in a situation of vulnerability and who have no answers. The objective is that live people in the empty flats”, has argued.
The will of the Government is mobilize houses that are empty and with this decree it foresees that, on the one hand, the owners put the apartments on the social rental market and, on the other, that more municipalities sign agreements with the Generalitat to increase the number of apartments on this market. The Generalitat will allocate five million euros to expropriation –whether or not an agreement is reached with the property–, which can be expanded in the future if agreements are reached with new municipalities. The cost will be borne by the Institut Català del Sòl (Incasòl), while the rent will be managed by the Agència de l’Habitatge de Catalunya.
The decree allows the Generalitat initiate the process of expropriation of houses empty due to non-compliance with the social function of housing. The possible expropriation is based on recent inspections that have made it possible to prove that there are empty homes that are more than two years old without just cause — which does not take illegal squats into account. Once the request is submitted, the property will have a period of one month to prove that the house is occupied or in the process of occupation and if it cannot do so, a period of three months will open to reach a purchase agreement with the Generalitat. If after this time there is no agreement, the rule provides that can be expropriated by urgent procedurewhich allows you to obtain home ownership without having to first reach an agreement on the price.