18 May 2004
MADRID – The Spanish government is to encourage people to rent empty properties, the Housing Minister said Tuesday.
María Antonia Trujillo said it will set up a new public rental agency to change the Spanish culture of house-buying for that of renting.
It will also encourage property owners to rent out empty homes.
In return, the government will be looking to set up deals with financial and insurance companies to give home owners more security if they are renting.
Tax perks could also be offered.
Lack of affordable housing is a major public concern in Spain, particularly for younger people who often live with their parents until they are into their late 20s or 30s because they cannot afford to buy.
Trujillo also said it wanted to give Spaniards ‘access’ to 180,000 homes each year and keep their electoral promise.
The Socialists wanted to provide affordable homes for the population.
She said: “You will see that we will provide access to 180,000 houses, new or used, to buy or rent, at a reasonable price each year.”
The minister did not speak about building this number of houses, but of “actions”.
Critics said Trujillo did not make it clear whether this meant that the government would make these homes available.
In an interview with the Antena 3 television channel, the minister said these “actions” could mean building houses with affordable prices.
This might also include renovating houses or buying unfurnished homes to put them on the market or rent them out.
She claimed the number of homes which the Socialists will provide would be 70,000 more than the previous government.
In four years, the present government would provide 720,000 homes, Trujillo claimed.
In her opinion, this election promise was not be excessive and would address the third biggest concern which Spaniards voiced in polls before the 14 March election.
The government will put in operation, a ‘plan of attack’ in the next month, said Trujillo.
This will include new “actions” on land owned by government ministries, like that of Defence, Development and the Interior. Some regional government will also take part, said the minister.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news