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COVID-19: News on Rent and Mortgages

mortgage contract
Written by Shumin Zhou

Have you bought or rented a home in Barcelona? It is important that you know the new measures approved by the Government to protect tenants and property owners. Today this article by ShBarcelona focuses on exactly that.

The pandemic has revolutionized the housing sector in Spain. Real estate websites have noted a considerable increase in searches outside urban centers, or near the coast. Given the possibility of undergoing a new lockdown, together with the implementation of working from home, the option of living in a larger house with a terrace or near the sea, thereby improving quality of life, starts to be seen as a real possibility. 

Barcelona seems to be a highly coveted destination for many European teleworkers, as it contains an interesting mix of attributes: excellent geographical location, climate, security, a good atmosphere and gastronomy. These ingredients, which have always established it as an attractive location for tourists, now also position it as an excellent city in which to live.

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Although teleworking may be the natural way to acquire or rent a home, it should be borne in mind that those foreigners who have sufficient income and who do not need to work to support themselves, can settle in our country by obtaining a non-work residence permit that must be requested from the Spanish Consulate in the country of origin or residence of the applicant. In this case, it is advisable to prove the availability of accommodation in Spain. This can be a rented property or house.  

However, there is a third case. That is a foreign worker or self-employed person who has been living in Barcelona for years, but who is now in a vulnerable economic situation, having been affected by an ERTE or having had their income reduced considerably as a result of COVID-19 if they are self-employed. 

In this case, what measures have been approved in the housing sector to protect those groups hardest hit by the pandemic? 

Related article: What are the extraordinary labour measures for Covid-19?

Moratorium on the payment of mortgages

To avoid the loss of a home, a deferment of the mortgage owing may be requested until September 29, 2020. During this time, the creditor may not demand payment of the mortgage installment or for any of the services. Neither can the debt be increased with new surcharges or interest.

This measure applies to both employed persons and self-employed persons, businessmen and professionals with respect to real estate affected by their economic activity, as well as to natural persons who have leased real estate for which they do not receive rental income.

Furthermore, energy, natural gas and water supplies are guaranteed for those who are vulnerable consumers or consumers at risk of exclusion. The guarantee of supply can be requested from April 2, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

Aid for paying rent

A request for a moratorium on rent owing can be made until September 30, 2020, as long as the landlord is an owner of numerous rented homes, a company or an investment fund.

Furthermore, evictions are suspended for a maximum period of six months from April 2 (until October 1, 2020).

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Microloans can be granted to tenants in vulnerable situations (unemployed or affected by an ERTE with family income below 1,613.50 euros or a rent that exceeds 35% of income). Specifically, the granting of loans for a total amount of up to €1,200 million that are guaranteed 100% by the State, with no expense or interest charged to the beneficiary, has been approved for families that, as a result of the pandemic, are facing difficulties in paying the rent for their usual place of residence.

Related article: Coronavirus Crisis: How will it affect rents in Spain?

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Shumin Zhou

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