A SPANISH company has been met with uproar after it revealed plans to rent out tiny pods to low-income workers for as little as €200 per month.
The company, based in Barcelona, says its Haibu (beehive in Japanese) project is a solution to the soaring rent prices in the Catalan capital.
But it will not see the light of day after Barcelona town hall refused to issue a building licence, saying the miniature accommodation is ‘unfit for humans’.
“Fortunately piling up people is prohibited. The law does not allow this type of dwelling,” Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, a former housing and anti-eviction activist, said.
But Haibu 4.0 has already started building the first eight pods despite not having permission, and it expects they will be finished by the end of September at an empty business premises.
Each 2.4 square metres pod comes complete with a bed, TV, storage space and power plugs.
The tight accommodation is a popular option for tourists in Japan.
The project will include a communal area with a kitchen, lounge and bathrooms, and the monthly rent would include utility bills and wifi.
Haibu housing is restricted to those aged 25-45 who have a minimum salary of €450 a month.
The company claims five hundred people have already shown interest in renting a pod.
“We are based on the idea that a group of people who can’t have access to housing can band together and move ahead,” Victoria Cerdan, one of the entrepreneurs behind Haibu 4.0, told AFP.
“Obviously it is not adequate housing. No one would want it for themselves. But no one wants a monthly salary of €500 and unfortunately they exist. Instead of living on the street, we offer this.”
Inigo Errejon, a prominent lawmaker with Podemos blasted the idea, tweeting: “There are similar houses in cemeteries. They are called coffins.”
Barcelona has seen the average rent for a flat soar 28.7% between 2014 and 2017 to €903.4.