The Reus rental exchange has more than a hundred flats in its portfolio
Sandra, 28 years old and with three children, is renting an apartment in the Casa dels Mestres. The house is one of about 110 that are part of the Borsa de Lloguer de Reus, a municipal management program in which owners and tenants come into contact. The objective: to promote the availability of a rental housing stock that meets the needs of citizens and with all the guarantees.
The amount Sandra pays depends on what she charges. When she agreed, she was in a precarious situation, on the verge of being left on the street with her minor children due to an eviction order. Serveis Socials referred her to the Borsa de Lloguer and last year she agreed to a home. She recalls that she had to "wait a long time." And the list is long. As an example, for a flat with official protection in Reus there are around 300 people waiting because housing is scarce.
In fact, the City Council is working to expand the rental market, which has been stable at around 110 flats for eight years. «We allocate efforts to increase the housing stock and this involves a policy of incentives, subsidies and tax credits; and for giving guarantees to the owners”, emphasizes the Councilor for Habitatge, Teresa Pallarès. Along these lines, this year a campaign was already carried out to publicize the Borsa de Lloguer de Reus, with the distribution of brochures throughout the city, and the council plans to carry out another before the end of the year.
We allocate efforts to increase the park and this goes through an incentive policy
In addition, incentive measures are implemented, such as IBI discounts for private homes that are part of the stock market, subsidies for rehabilitation, free processing of legal assistance and multi-risk insurance for the home or mediation and advice service.
“All this helps, but the social aspect is very important. We all do our part”, says Faustino Escoda. He owns three floors of the Borsa de Lloguer in Reus. He has been linked to this program for at least ten years and is very satisfied. "I think there always has to be a point of trust with the administration and, in this case, the City Council," he underlines. A fourth floor was rented through an agency that, “once the house in question is rented, it disassociates itself. On the other hand, there is a relationship with the stock market, a follow-up of the contracts... In a sentence: they are for the job, "values Escoda.
In addition, it gives you confidence and guarantees collection if there are payment problems, through insurance. In fact, she found herself with the situation: defaults of a tenant. Together with the Habitatge Office of Reus, they processed a special emergency aid and, through the Generalitat, managed to collect the debt. On her part, the tenant was able to continue in the apartment, avoiding an eviction.
The advantages help, but the social aspect is something important. We all do our part
Any owner can make a home available to the municipal stock exchange, provided that it is in a position to be rented in Reus. In exchange, he receives support and monthly monitoring of incidents, multi-risk insurance, processing of rehabilitation aid, IBI bonus... On this last issue, the reduction has been applied this 2022 and will continue to be applied next year, according to municipal sources. consulted. As for the municipal subsidy for the rehabilitation of homes owned by individuals to make available to the stock market, the call was open between 2020 and 2021, with the processing of ten files, and it is planned to reopen soon. These grants account for 50% of the reform budget, with a maximum contribution of 10,000 euros.
As for tenants, in order to access a home on the Borsa de Lloguer they must be registered in the Register of Sol·licitants d'Habitatge amb Official Protection. None of the members of the unit can own a home, except for those over 65 years of age, they must have full capacity to contract and be able to demonstrate regular income. Among the advantages: free service, processing of the rental contract, support and monthly monitoring of incidents and affordable prices. In general, 35% of the sum of the income will determine the maximum rental price.
This is one of the aspects that Sandra values the most, since she arrived at the Casa dels Mestres a year ago. When she had the eviction order, she was unemployed, "with three children and she could not pay rent of 500 euros plus supplies," she recalls. As for the housing alternative, she was not convinced: «I did not consider it fair that, with three children, I had to stay in a room in a boarding house».
I was completely unaware of the existence of the Reus rental market. "I thought it would be through the Emergency Committee of Catalonia and I was surprised when they told me that it was managed by the City Council," he details. Thus, it was from Serveis Socials that they referred her to the Borsa de Lloguer, and after a long wait in which "I asked for meetings with the mayor and councilors because I saw myself on a tightrope", she definitively agreed to her current home. "I've been here for a year with my children, and the contract is renewable annually up to a maximum of three," she says. At first, as she was unemployed, what she paid was an amount and, now, that she works, combining it with her studies, the price of the rent has been adapted to the new income, something that Sandra sees as totally fair.
One of the advantages is that you pay according to what you charge. At first I was unemployed and now I have a job
The Reus Rental Exchange is part of the Social Rental Mediation Network. The program is developed in agreement with the Catalan Housing Agency and the General Directorate for Youth of the Government of Catalonia.
The need to be able to expand the flats in the rental market is due to the scarce housing stock available, not only affordable or protected, but in general. In the market, demand far outstrips supply, so the few that are available command high prices. Thus, finding affordable housing is practically impossible.
Through the Register of Applicants for Housing with Official Protection, all this demand from families with needs is managed and alternatives are sought. However, the wait is usually long, as the existing park is busy.