A BILL to control rents has been dubbed ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ by a property owners’ pressure group.

ASVAL, the Association of Owners of Homes for Rent, is strongly opposed to the bill which is to be voted on in the Catalan parliament.

The association says that it ‘infringes the right to private property and will encourage the underground economy in the rental market’.

It warns that more property owners will operate outside the law, leading to a lower tax take and hitting people on low incomes, particularly youngsters, who will find themselves without legal protection.

Instead of price controls it wants to see public/private initiatives to build a pool of social housing to be let out at below market prices.

In a statement the organisation said: “A public social housing policy is needed to solve the situation of the population at risk of exclusion.

“During the last 10 years, Spain has allocated only 0.05% of its GDP to housing policies, causing a shortage of social housing: the stock of social housing in Spain is only 1.5% compared to the 15% average in the European Union.”

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