Premises located on rooftops (old chicken coops), in basements (old storage rooms) and ground floors (commercial premises) are sold which, with the addition of a simple kitchen, pretend to be a home, with the price increase that this may entail (the € / m2 of housing can be double that of commercial premises). This may be a scam since the official classification of “housing” is given by a regulatory framework that guarantees its habitability and health and its structural soundness, this at least. The habitability certificate cannot be granted to a place that does not meet the conditions to be habitable.
It has been announced that the Housing Agency will launch the sanctioning mechanisms.
We anticipate that the changes of use in The cases in which the regulations allow it will be a viable way out to regularize this situation.
NEWS PUBLISHED IN THE CATALUNYA NEWSPAPER DATE: August 28, 2009
It has been warned with the new Housing Law that disciplinary proceedings will begin to be opened for those who fail to comply with the minimum requirements. The new housing law, whose decree was approved last April, contemplates for the first time the sanction (from 3,000 to 90,000 euros) for this type of illegal practice prohibited in Catalonia since 1984. The imminence of the controls has triggered the requests for processing , which in 2008 grew by 30% in the province of Barcelona.
Although the Generalitat has clarified that the fines will only reach 90,000 euros in extreme cases, the fear of the owners that they have marketed them as local flats, storage rooms or warehouse basements has led to the massive attempt to obtain habitability certificates in Barcelona and its area metropolitan, where this commercial practice is more established.
Last year, the Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge received a total of 51,000 requests for this documentation in the province of Barcelona, which is 30% more than in 2007 when the last law on the right to housing was approved. Of these requests, some 15,000 were not granted, most of them because the administration required documentation from the owners to corroborate that the house met the habitability requirements. The owners (mostly basements and basements) never responded to that request or delivered the requested documents.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND IMMIGRANTS / The victims of this practice, as usual, are usually the weakest: young people and foreigners. «There are frequent cases of immigrants who do not know the laws and the language, buy a place as a flat and cannot obtain the habitability certificate. They are dramatic cases because they are mortgaged and they cannot regroup their family because for that they need a flat with a certificate “, explains José Luis Gallego, head of the Habitat Department of the Habitat General Directorate.
Sandra Ruiz, a neighbor at number 6 Calle de Salou, in Sants, is one of these victims. She two years ago she bought a flat in an old factory. A few months later, it began to have humidity problems and Ruiz discovered deficiencies in the electrical network and that, in addition, the apartment had no water connection to the street nor did it have a habitability certificate. After a lot of money invested in repairs, Ruiz was able to obtain the document. “Although I was lucky to get the ID, I still don’t have water because I don’t have the money to make the connection. Every day I go to the source to fetch water to bathe and clean, ”she explains.
Tenants who hire a place as a flat cannot put services in their name and pay for electricity and gas at the price of a commercial premises, which is more expensive.
The Generalitat clarifies that it will not act ex officio and will only fine in case the tenant or a neighbor denounces the poor conditions of the house.
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