With the aim of protecting and expanding the public housing available in the city, the Barcelona City Council has promoted the purchase of buildings and homes in recent years. It is an alternative to new constructions and, at the same time, it helps to guarantee the protection of the right to housing in neighbourhoods through the expansion of public and affordable housing.
The purchase of buildings is intended to prevent properties going into the hands of opportunists who speculate and create large real estate companies. When this happens, those most affected are the residents who are expelled from their homes and neighbourhoods. For this reason, the purchase of buildings serves to guarantee that protected housing in the city is safeguarded.
On the other hand, this action also promotes the renovation of the buildings and, therefore, the dignification of citizens’ living conditions and the improvement of public housing.
In addition, the flats that are obtained through the purchase of buildings are made available to the Social Emergency Committee, and are awarded to applicants that are enlisted in the Register of Housing Applicants. In this way, emergency situations due to the loss of habitual residence are also addressed.
Protect neighbours and dignify housing
With this policy of buying buildings from the Barcelona City Council, it has been possible to guarantee that residents can stay in their homes while paying an affordable or social rent, depending on each case, and that they will not have to leave the neighbourhood.
This is the case, for example, of the residents of the building at l’Encuny 7, in Marina del Prat Vermell, a 114-storey protected building that was acquired by the Barcelona City Council at the end of 2018 to combat speculation and expulsion from the neighbourhood.
In addition, renovation permits the improvement and dignification of some homes that, in many cases, are in a state of abandonment since their previous owners neglected the obligation to keep them in decent and safe conditions. More than 70% of the homes bought by the Barcelona City Council are inhabited by families, while the rest are in the process of renovation.
661 homes in public housing
So far, Barcelona City Council has already invested more than 45 million euros to acquire 22 buildings, representing a total of 401 homes. 10 million euros have also been invested to renovate them.
On the other hand, thanks to agreements and other procedures, such as buyout and pre-emption, the City Council has incorporated an additional 200 homes to public housing.
Therefore, in the period 2016-2019, the number of homes acquired in total was 661. This is more than double those purchased in the period 2012-2015 (274 homes), and very far from those acquired between 2008 and 2011, when only 17 were purchased.
The consistory cannot buy homes continuously, so this solution is finite and timely within the territorial scope.