Annual fee on empty homes in the Basque Housing Law (2019-present)

  • In June 2019, the Basque government in Spain opened to public consultation a law project that would introduce an annual fee on empty homes as a way to encourage landlords to put such homes in the market.

    • 79% of the people who participated in the consultation supported the annual fee.

  • Definition of "empty home" in this law project:

  • Summary from their site through Google Translate:

    • The Basque Government is developing a Preliminary Draft Decree that will regulate uninhabited housing in the Basque Country.

    • In its draft, uninhabited dwellings are defined as those dwellings located in the Basque Country “that remain continuously unoccupied for a period of more than 2 years”.

    • They would NOT be considered uninhabited houses:

      • Second residence homes

      • Justified temporary uninhabitation (labour, health, dependency or social emergency reasons or equivalent)

      • Non-profit entity housing intended for certain groups

      • Homes transferred for rental management to public entities competent in housing

      • Homes that are being rehabilitated or conditioned to enable their future use

    • Currently, there are several existing public programs linked to the promotion of housing mobilization and occupation (ASAP, Bizigune, ...) that facilitate access to decent housing at affordable prices with all kinds of guarantees for landlords and tenants.

    • For those homes that despite these incentives are not effectively made available for rent, the establishment of an annual fee is foreseen as a measure to reverse the situation.

    • To do this, it is proposed that the City Councils be in charge of managing this fee, from its imposition to its collection. The collection generated by this canon will be used exclusively to promote municipal actions for social purposes in housing.

    • The proposal contemplates that the payment of the canon be borne by the holders of the right to use the home and that it have an amount of €10 / m2 useful for the home. This amount will be increased by 10% for each year that the house remains uninhabited, never exceeding the initial amount by 3 times.

  • Keywords: Basque Country, Euskadi, Spain, unused, vacant, dwelling