The centre-left PSOE party has won the Spanish general election with 123 seats. If they combine with the far-left Unidas Podemos (42), they will have 165 seats in parliament but won’t reach an absolute majority (176), so they will need the support of other parties to govern. If pacts are made, the new measures that the PSOE wish to implement for housing are to promote the rental of social housing and the return of monthly benefits to help people pay their rent (Renta Básica de Emancipación), among others.
- Within the 110 measures presented by president Pedro Sánchez's party, the new General State Budgets will include items designed to help young people to rent.
- They will encourage the renting of council houses, "mobilising public land that is available through the transfer of land rights and favouring the use of public-private mechanisms”.
- The PSOE wants to strengthen the role of public bodies such as the State Land Entity (Entidad Estatal del Suelo or Sepes) and the Official Credit Institute (Instituto de Crédito Oficial or ICO) to promote the permanent supply of social housing.
- Another of its measures will be to re-establish the basic income for rent, which was scrapped in 2011, to allow young people with low incomes to afford to pay their rent.
Unidas Podemos pressure government to act on housing
If the PSOE reaches an agreement with the Unidas Podemos, led by Pablo Iglesias, it will need the support of another minority party because they would not obtain an absolute majority (123+42=165). During the last legislature, the extreme left was very critical of the socialist’s housing policies, and in fact, its vote against the Royal Decree-Law on rental measures of December 2018 was key, as was its vote in favour of the new rental law in April.
During the negotiations, they demanded price caps for the rental hot spots in big cities and supported an indicative Rental Price Index. To carry out this decree, the PSOE also had the support of the PNV, ERC, PDeCat, Compromís and EH-Bildu parties.
The measures proposed by Unidas Podemos are as follows:
- Podemos's program is broad in terms of housing. Each Spanish municipality will be allowed to establish regulatory mechanisms using the Price Indices as a reference. "No family should pay more than 30% of their income as rent," their manifesto states.
- Extending the compulsory cession of homes by banks and corporate landlords to "create a large supply of public housing for rent at an affordable price, increasing by 50,000 homes a year for the whole term and also preventing property speculation on empty homes. We will stop and reverse the privatisation of public housing and the sale of public land," they say.
- As for tourist lets in Spain, they say they will establish a maximum limit of tourist apartments, based on the characteristics of each neighbourhood, which will help decentralise tourism and improve cohabitation in Spanish cities.
- They will also prohibit evictions if no alternative housing is available and will change the procedure for foreclosures, especially for people without sufficient means. This includes repealing the IRPH as an indicator of interest rates on variable mortgages.
- They aim to give a second chance to people with debts, such as mortgages, by allowing them to repay it in a different way than originally established, among other measures.
A pact with the Ciudadanos party could offer more stability
The PSOE could also govern with the support of the right-wing Ciudadanos and would obtain an absolute majority (123+57= 180). The measures proposed by Albert Rivera's orange party with regards to housing are as follows:
- They will pass a National Housing Law and increase the stock of social rental housing to offer an alternative to those who cannot afford housing.
- Remove obstacles and simplify administrative procedures in planning permission and in housing rehabilitation and construction projects.
- Develop the public housing endowment to provide a temporary rental service to all people with special difficulties in accessing rental housing.
- Promote affordable rents by encouraging renovation and public-private partnerships in the provision of social housing.
- Draw up an action plan to eradicate shanty towns and substandard housing within the framework of the State Housing Plan.
- Review the rental laws in order to reinforce legal certainty and boost the rental market.
Ciudadanos want to favour access to safe and affordable rented housing with sensible measures away from models such as the price controls proposed by PSOE and Podemos. For this reason, among others:
- They will create a Register of Urban Leases in order to have official information on the rental market in Spain.
- They want to sweeten tax incentives for individuals and corporations dedicated to the rental of protected housing.
- Facilitate the rehabilitation and rental of empty homes.
- Help resolve conflicts between owners and tenants with a simple, fast and free Arbitration System for Urban Leases.