FACUA laments that the Government did not fulfill their promise on rent: there will not be any limits to price increases

The association positively values the new legislation but laments that it does not include any regulation on rent values nor does it allow town halls to place certain limits to property speculation.

FACUA laments that the Government did not fulfill their promise on rent: there will not be any limits to price increases

FACUA-Consumers in Action laments that the Government have decided against fulfilling the pledge taken on by Pedro Sánchez last October to allow autonomous communities and town halls to limit the increase in rent prices and prevent abrupt, steep increases.

The Council of Ministers last Friday, the 1st of March, approved in urgent measures a second Royal Decree in relation to housing and rent, after the approved decree from last December could not go forward due to lack of support for its validation in Congress. So Unidos Podemos (left) decided to not back the measure for not including the limit on increases. Even though this now includes elements the first Royal Decree did not, the Government have again decided to reject the possibility of town halls and autonomous communities being able to place limits on property speculation through a limit on increases in rent prices.

Regardless, the association has always considered it unsatisfactory that the limit only exists for increases, given that it should limit the prices themselves, thus offering greater protection to consumer rights and avoiding the high rent costs that currently exist in many Spanish cities and that result in the exclusion of a significant portion of the citizens. In this sense, FACUA has already voiced the need for town halls to have the power to limit these prices and establish caps.

The new Royal Decree does include a price index system which autonomous communities can take part in and it shall be their responsibility, given that they have relevant power to encourage the lessors to respect this index. Likewise, it determines a time frame of eight months for the General State Administration to elaborate on this index through transparent proceedings.

In any case, FACUA positively values that the new legislation increases the mandatory renewal in rent contracts to seven years when the lessor is a juridical person, something that will offer more stability to renters and help prevent a basic need, shelter, from becoming an element of speculation and economy at the cost of the renters.

As for implied contract renewal and holdover tenancy, the text reads that when the contract deadline or mandatory renewal has passed, if no communication from either party exists that explicitly states they do not wish to renew the contract, the contract will be extended and renew yearly for three more years.

This new Royal Decree deviates from the pledge made by the government by Pedro Sánchez and was included in the set of measures agreed between the Government and Podemos last October. According to what is currently circling around in the media, the new legislation will include the extension of the renewal period from three to five years, as has occurred already with the 1994 Urban Lease Law and was modified by Mariano Rajoy in the previous Government, which will limit the deposit required to a maximum of two months advance payment and, in the cases that the lessor is a juridical person, they must assume the property management and contract formalisation costs.

Even though FACUA considers these measures to be a step in the right direction, which will result in greater protection for those seeking to rent, they claim that the law should go even further and offer stronger guarantees to the citizenry in a right as fundamental as access to housing.

The new law also includes a new protocol for all cases of eviction, that requires the courts to contact social services and, if they detect a vulnerable situation, they must postpone the case by one month for properties of natural persons, and three months for juridical persons. Any evictions a judge rules ought to specify an exact date and time, no open dates, even though this aspect is still pending confirmation from the Ministry of Justice.