A few months after Congress debates the final approval of the future State Law for the Right to Housing, a procedure that should take place in the first half of 2022, part of the group of owners is seeking advice in order to use different formulas that allow them to circumvent measures such as limiting rental prices in stressed areas or extending the duration of contracts. Specifically, according to sources from the real estate sector and specialized consultancies and law firms, these landlords are studying using seasonal rentals, a modality that will foreseeably remain outside the range that will be covered by future regulations.
According to these sources, both large and small owners are beginning to be interested in this figure to avoid the “most pernicious” effects of a law that will only affect the rental of habitual residence. However, remember, landlords who want to use this modality will have to find the right tenant, since this type of contract carries with it some requirements that both parties have to meet and that are not always easy to find.
As a general rule, explains the director of the Rental Negotiating Agency (ANA), José Ramón Zurdo, seasonal rental is a modality that is included in the Urban Leasing Law (LAU) within the category of use other than housing. It is usually used “not to satisfy the permanent needs of the tenant, but to cover others related to mobility for work or training reasons, among other cases”.
For these types of contracts to occur, adds a lawyer specialized in leases, there must be a series of minimums. The most important thing “is that there is a real cause that justifies the regime and that this is expressly stated in the document.” In other words, Zurdo adds, “it is necessary to leave reflected in the contract what the temporality obeys and where the tenant’s habitual residence is located, which must logically be in a different dwelling”.
From here, a range of possibilities opens up that allows the temporality to extend from a few months to over several years.
Thus, made the law, made the trap. As the lawyer consulted reasons, in a context of housing demand, in which the landlord “tends to move in a plane of comfort and power greater than that of the tenant, it is easy for tenants to assume these conditions and agree to leave it reflected in the contract that the rental is due to any of these reasons ”. It is also the case that stressed areas are usually found in large cities with a strong demand for housing by students and workers from other areas of the country, “so it does not seem difficult for owners to find tenants who meet the necessary requirements ”.
Sources in the real estate sector, in turn, denounce that it will not always be necessary to find these types of profiles, “since many landlords tend to take advantage of the general ignorance that exists around the regulations and the urgency of many tenants” and manage to “sneak in ”Clauses that tenants accept.
The future housing law must reach Congress before the end of the first half of the year, as detailed on several occasions by the head of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez. Once it is approved, the ministry will have 18 months to develop an official price index that will allow the autonomous communities – those competent in housing matters – to establish stressed areas in their hottest areas for a period of three years. , extendable annually.
For this to happen, first of all, two requirements must be met simultaneously. On the one hand, the average rental prices of a city, neighborhood or street must have grown in the last five years more than five points above what the CPI has done. On the other hand, the average cost of housing, including basic supplies, should represent more than 30% of the average income per household.
Once the stressed area begins to operate, a price limitation will come into effect in the case of large owners (more than 10 homes) with legal personality. Large physical landlords and small owners, for their part, would be subject to a rent freeze and automatic extension under the same terms of the contracts that ended. These consequences could be avoided with these types of formulas.
Another change that sources in the real estate sector foresee is the transfer to vacation rentals, a different regime than the seasonal one. The president of the Spanish Federation of Tourist Housing and Apartment Associations (Fevitur), Tolo Gomila, rejects on the contrary that this movement is going to take place due, among other points, to the lack of demand and the excess supply that it would produce.
Among the battery of formulas that landlords study to minimize the effects of the future housing law is also that of the temporary usufruct of the property. This alternative would be based on the creation by the large holders of a parallel company that would become the lessor after having acquired the right of temporary usufruct of the houses, for example for a period of four years. After this period, the rights granted by the new landlord would expire, so the contract with the tenant would end. In this way, the rental terms would be much lower than those provided for in future regulations.
Another of the alternatives that the large funds in the real estate sector are considering is the construction of houses under the regime of aparthotels or colivings on tertiary land. This type of land is intended to provide services to the public, companies and other organizations, but not to homes. With this alternative, properties, by submitting to the legislation of hotel establishments, would not be affected by the future law.