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Spain's new housing minister vows to protect second homeowners

The Local Spain
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Spain's new housing minister vows to protect second homeowners
Spain's Minister of Housing also has a side income from renting out a second home. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Spain’s new housing and urban agenda minister has sought to calm tensions among second homeowners in the country who are concerned the new housing crisis measures will have detrimental consequences for them. 

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In her first press conference since being appointed Spain’s Housing Minister, Isabel Rodriguez looked to convey a “message of tranquillity, hope and understanding” to people in Spain who own two or several properties. 

Spain’s new Housing Law came into force last May and among its standout clauses are the regulation of rental prices, the obligation that owners pay agency fees rather than tenants and a tax on empty properties.

“We are aware that in Spain many people, especially the elderly, have dedicated all their efforts, their work and their savings to the purchase of a second home that today complements their income,” Rodríguez told journalists on Tuesday. 

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“We are also going to protect them," she added, stressing that the new law does help second homeowners and others with a small portfolio of properties, “but we will carry on working with them”. 

According to the latest data from Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), 15.5 percent of households in Spain have a second property.

This means that out of Spain's 18.5 million families, 2.9 million have a second home. 

Since her appointment earlier this week by Pedro Sánchez, it has emerged that the former government spokesperson is a second homeowner herself, making more than €5,000 from it in rent in 2022.

This, together with her words of comfort for Spain’s second homeowners, have upset the section of Spanish society which blames sky-high rents on the lack of social housing and the impunity of landlords in Spain. 

"Protect them (second homeowners) from what?" tweeted now former hard-left equality minister Irene Montero in response to Rodríguez's words, with Sumar MP Íñigo Errejón arguing that she is "feeding into the hands of landlords".

There is no evidence that any of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities, which have the authority to regulate rents in the regions, have actually started implementing controls, and regional governments with right-wing parties in power have openly stated they have no intention of controlling prices.

"Every Spaniard has the right to a roof over their heads from which to raise their children or to project themselves personally and professionally,” Rodríguez added in a bid to appease both sides, claiming that “now is not the time to point the finger”.

“I want to take hold of that feeling that thousands of Spanish families have, that young people who have serious difficulties in accessing housing have".

Rodríguez also committed herself to spearhead the immediate construction of 70,000 of the 184,000 social housing units promised by Pedro Sánchez in early 2023, as well as to continue pumping EU funds into rehabilitation programmes and tax cuts for Spain’s ageing buildings. 

READ ALSO: How Spain plans to address its huge lack of social housing

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