Expert article

Yes We Rent! - Leveraging vacant private property to build up a cooperative affordable housing scheme Mataró, Spain Housing

Edit 11 March 2020 by Nils Scheffler, UIA Expert

Owners, make your empty apartments available!

Picture of the "Yes We Rent!" Website
Short description
In order to acquire apartments for the 'Yes, we Rent!' housing scheme, the first information campaign measures were started and first apartments visited and inspected.

Information evening with the mayor to the 'Yes, we rent!' Project

event with the Mayor

On 29.01.20 the mayor of Mataró, David Bote, hosted a public evening event in the municipal library Pompeu Fabra. Together with Sarai Martínez, councilor for housing, and Laia Carbonell, project coordinator, he presented the objectives of the 'Yes, we rent!' project and the incentives offered to homeowners who choose to renovate and rent their homes through the 'Yes, we rent!' project.

Over 100 people followed the presentation. In particular the explanations of the incentives, offered to homeowners who choose to renovate and rent their homes through the 'Yes, we rent!' project, sparked the interest of the audience. The owners had several questions, e.g. who will be the future tenants and how the cooperative, which is to be founded, will be involved. Concerning the cooperative, some concerns were raised as it is still in the process of being set up and there is no experience in working with it. Here, the project coordinator, Laia Carbonell, was able to take fears away. At the beginning, as long as the cooperative is "under construction, the city will act as a contractor for the owners and guarantee the incentives".

 

Individual consultations and on-site visits

vacant flat

After the event, interested owners were able to sign up for a list to make an individual appointment and learn more about the project and the possibility of renting their own apartment through the 'Yes, we rent!' project. For this purpose, the city has also set up a website where owners can find information and arrange appointments. There, interested owners can also find answers to frequently asked questions.

After only 10 days, 15 owners have registered and 8 inspections of apartments have taken place. The flats are in very different conditions and sizes. In some cases it is foreseeable that the flats will require more renovation than can be granted as a subsidy by the municipality (up to 16,000 € for renovation and up to 2,000 € for energy-related renovation measures). Here it will be interesting to see whether the owners can be motivated to provide the additional money themselves.

In order to inform other owners - as well as citizens - about the project and the incentives, a concentrated information campaign will be conducted by the city in March: Press releases for the local press (newspapers, radio, TV); smaller neighbourhood information events, information via social media and information posters about the project will be placed on two city bus lines.

 

The incentive system

For the owners, a convincing point to have their apartments rented via the 'Yes, we rent!' project was in particular the incentives offered to them. The municipality will provide financial and organisational support for the (energy-oriented) renovation of the flats. In addition, they guarantee the rent during the rental period in case the tenant is not paying the rent. For this, they will set up a rental guarantee fund. Other incentives might include tax relief and free management of the flats. In return the owner rents a minimum of 5 years his/her flat to the ‘Yes, we rent!’ affordable housing scheme below market price (below medium reference index of rental prices for Mataró).

 

Further information

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Sarai Martínez, councilor for Housing

“Lloguem! (Yes, We Rent!) is an example of the commitment of the City Council towards housing policies from an active perspective. As we like to put it: “Actions, not words”.

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