A NEW housing law that will see rents controlled and new limits on evictions today passed Spain’s lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies. It will now be sent to the Senate for final approval. 

The text of the bill contains a number of measures aimed at protecting tenants from abusive rent rises, introducing a limit on such hikes of 3% during 2024, up from the current 2% limit. 

The legislation also introduces new definitions for zonas tensionadas, or ‘high rent zones’, and in these areas rents will be regulated and capped. 

The legislation will make a change to the number of properties owned for someone to be considered a large landlord, down from 10 to five. When these landlords have tenants in high-rent zones, they will be subject to a new index of rents they can charge.

The new law establishes that new tenants will no longer have to pay an estate agent or property agency a fee when they sign a new rental contract. 

Currently, such businesses can charge both the new tenant and the landlord a fee on completion of the deal. If the new law passes, just the landlord will have to pay. 

The law will also see eviction dates communicated to tenants in advance, rather than them being unexpectedly carried out.

The passing of this legislation is a big win for the government, given that regional and local elections are due to be held across Spain on May 28, with a general election likely to be called toward the end of 2023. 

The legislation was approved thanks to the votes of the governing Socialist Party (PSOE), their junior coalition partner Unidas Podemos, and smaller groups such as the leftist Mas Pais and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC).

It was voted against by the main opposition Popular Party and far-right Vox, but also parties that usually support the government, which lacks a working majority in Congress.

These groups included the Basque Nationalist Party and the Canarian Coalition, which argued that the law would see the central government encroach on powers that are devolved to the country’s regions. 

In fact, given that the country’s regions hold powers in areas of housing their governments may choose to ignore the new laws if run by opposition parties. For the regions who do adopt the measures, however, they will now have a legal framework to do so.

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