EXPLAINED: What Spain is doing to help tenants and the self-employed during coronavirus crisis

EXPLAINED: What Spain is doing to help tenants and the self-employed during coronavirus crisis
Photo: AFP
The Spanish government has introduced a host of new measures to help those suffering economic hardships as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

With the economy in “hibernation” as the whole of Spain is placed in lockdown and many left unable to make ends meet at the end of the month, the cabinet approved emergency measures that include suspending rental payments and banning evictions during the state of emergency.

The cabinet approved a measure that will effectively ban the eviction of anyone who doesn’t have a home to go to, while the state of emergency is in place and for the next six months after it is declared over.

It will also see an automatic extension of those rental contracts due to expire while state of emergency measures are in place.

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 “Housing is the trench from where people will resist the virus,” said Social Affairs Minister Pablo Iglesias, whose hard-left Podemos governs in coalition with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialists.

“For tenants, evictions will be suspended starting today and up to six months after the end of the state of emergency. Nobody can be evicted from their home.”

The government has also introduced a “micro-loan” scheme that will enable those who suffer financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus crisis to borrow money to pay their rent, at 0 percent interest to be repaid over six years – a period that can be extended to ten.

These measures will be in place for those who rent from private landlords with two properties at most.

“A small proprietor, such as retired couple [whose rental income] complements their pension is not the same as a vulture fund, or a large property owner,” explained Pablo Iglesias, announcing the measures following the cabinet meeting.

Larger landlords would be required to slash their rents by 50 percent or restructure them “in order to do their bit,” he said.

There was good news too for the self-employed – known as ‘autonomos’ in Spain – who can apply to suspend their mortgage repayments if their income is hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.  

This falls along the same lines as the mortgage moratoriums already introduced for those salaried workers who had lost their jobs or suffered a cut in income.

They were also told that social security payments could be suspended for a period of up to six months without interest being accrued.

And that any outstanding payments to social security could also be delayed six months.  

The measures also include the guarantee that basic utilities – water, electricity and gas – would be provided to all and no households would be cut off while state of emergency measures were in place.

Those who have had temporary contracts terminated would also be entitled to emergency funds of €440 as well as aid to home cleaners who lose their jobs and have reduced work hours due to the pandemic.

Spain’s freelancers, known as ‘autonomos’ where given positive news with the announcement that social security payments could be suspended for a period of up to six months without interest being accrued.

The government had already issued a moratorium on mortgage payments to ensure people who cannot pay are not thrown out of their homes.   

More info: 

Full details of measures approved by the cabinet on Tuesday visit the Moncloa page HERE

Spain's Social Security department section covering COVID-19 HERE
 

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