The constitutional court annuls part of the catalan law that regulates rentals

The Spanish housing law currently in parliamentary process promises to respect the autonomous powers. In parallel, the Constitutional Court has warned in a judgment that the Catalan regulations cannot enter into the “bases of contractual obligations, rules to resolve conflicts of law and determination of the sources of law.” In practice, this means that the Catalan law cannot set prices or establish vetoes to increases based on what it baptized as tense zones. The negotiation of the Government of the PSOE and Podemos with ERC has borne fruit and promises to respect autonomous competences in housing matters, but it will be necessary to redefine the Catalan legal framework.

The Constitutional has annulled the precepts of the Catalan housing law that allow to limit the price of rentals. The State reserves the setting of the bases of contractual obligations, which in practice means that it does not allow forcing contracts to freeze or lower the price of rentals with the excuse that in certain geographical areas the rents required by the owners be very high. The Constitutional Court does not enter into its sentence in the constitutionality of limiting rental prices. The one who denies is that an autonomous community is the Administration that regulates the contracts, because this is the responsibility of the State. For this reason, it is the state regulation that will have to define the new framework that limits the evolution of rental prices.

Does it affect the signed contracts? It does not affect contracts already signed. Montserrat Junyent, legal adviser to the Colegio de APIO de Barcelona and the Association of Real Estate Agents of Catalonia (AIC), stresses that the ruling of the high court is for the future and does not affect what owners and landlords have agreed. In her opinion, a noteworthy element is that it is invalidated a priori that future contracts have to take into account the rents set in the past.

For its part, the Llogaters Association considers that rent regulation is an “effective tool to lower rental prices and has also benefited 160,000 tenants in the last year.” He maintains that it has meant “lowering rents by an average of 5% in regulated cities, where 70% of the Catalan population lives.” On the other hand, the so-called Catalan anti-eviction law that was voted in February of this year in the Social Rights Commission of the Parliament of Catalonia with the support of ERC, JxCat, the CUP, In common We Can and the PSC, is in force. With the open opposition of real estate lobbies and homeowners associations, the regulations were published in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat of Catalonia on March 7. The PP has come to ensure that the new regulations can encourage the illegal occupation of homes and that it is an attack on private property.