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Landlords are not NGOs
Opinion

Landlords are not NGOs

After the new housing law there appears not be a single flat available for rent in Spain; and if there is one, the price is so shameful that it makes even the person who rents it out blush

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Friday, 27 October 2023, 14:29

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As expected, after the new law there is not a single flat available for rent in the whole of Spain. You couldn't have known, of course. The whole real estate sector, the specialised press and the opposition had warned about it; but this government is stubborn. Even if it means running into a wall. It could not have been known that after the new housing law there would not be a single flat available for rent in Spain; and if there is one, the price is so shameful that it makes even the person who rents it out blush.

The idea here was that the owners of the empty flats would pay for the party, but not be invited, with the price and the duration of the contract being fixed... And what is infinitely worse: without any possibility of removing a defaulting tenant from their property for years. In other words, it turned landlords into a kind of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) at the disposal of anyone to stay in their property for as long as they wanted, paying or free, because judicial enforcement is an ordeal that is better not to talk about.

Of course, the government did not take into account a small detail, trivial and irrelevant as they saw it, and that is that in this country, private property is still an inalienable right. And the stubborn owners, who are surely all ultraliberal capitalists, would rather have their flats empty, lend them to a relative or put them up for sale, than risk being taken in by an 'inquiokupa', who pays the first month and then spends three years living on the cheap. Or even worse, with the expenses (electricity, water, gas, etc.) paid by their landlord.

These days the news is that there is no housing available in any Spanish city, not even for poor students, who pay a crazy amount for a room in a shared flat. And some of us are not surprised, because we could see it coming and it has happened just as we feared. Because what is illogical is to legislate against one of the two parties in a bilateral relationship such as that of tenant-landlord, in order to demagogically serve the supposedly weaker faction.

If they really want flats to come onto the market, the first thing to do is to provide full legal guarantees so that, if necessary, the social work of humanitarian rehousing can be carried out by the State, with the support of the autonomous regions and local councils, with their own resources.

But the burden of a problem as serious as homelessness cannot be placed on the shoulders of landlords who are mostly middle-class families, just like the tenants, and who have not chosen to be an NGO.

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