June 15, 2021

backs down by more than half



The Balearic Government of the socialist Francina Armengol announced last February the temporary expropriation of 56 houses from large holders for a period of seven years to allocate them to social housing and remove them from the “speculative free market to put them in the hands of those who need it most.” Three months later, their initial intentions have been significantly undermined and only 29 of these properties continue this transfer procedure. The Executive has been forced to remove from the file a total of 19 homes -33.92% – after detecting that
some of them did not have a certificate of occupancy or were in the process of being sold or rented by their owners
, taking into account the allegations presented. The remaining part, another ten bank properties that were going to be expropriated, will finally be bought, and others – still included – are in negotiation for their definitive acquisition.

The Executive governed by PSOE, Podemos and the nationalists of Més announced the temporary expropriation as a star and pioneering measure in Spain. The decision adopted was a transfer of use for a period of seven years, for which it would pay a monthly payment to the owners, largely large holders. The controversy jumped when Gasolina y Gasoils Low Cost Barcelona SL, one of the 15 affected by this measure, claimed that it was not a large holder but rather a local developer in Ciutadella de Menorca and that, in addition, they had expropriated nine homes that they had just renovated and that they still did not have a certificate of occupancy.

setback forced the Government to review this expropriation and assess it legally
, as it has also done with the rest of the claims that have now been resolved with the exclusion of three out of every ten dwellings initially included in the compulsory transfer procedure. “The legal services have considered that the subsequent rental procedures and other issues should be taken into account during the analysis phase of the allegations,” acknowledges the Executive.

In its defense, the Government alleges that all those that were included in the file,
they were empty houses of large forks at the time they were visited
by the Inspection Service of the General Directorate of Housing and Architecture for inclusion in the file.

It should be remembered that the Superior Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands has endorsed these expropriations on two occasions and rejected the requests for precautionary suspension of the procedure, indicating that the process can continue.

The magistrates argued that the public interest is “clearly preponderant over that of the appellants” and denied that the expropriation of homes could cause “a reputational damage to their clientele.”

Apart from these 19 floors that have been left by the way, the Executive
has agreed to acquire another ten included in the expropriation of use file
: four from Bankia, and two from Banco de Sabadell in exercise of the right of first refusal by the Government, and another four, in this case from Sareb, by offer of the holders, as ABC has already advanced.

What’s more,
the package of 27 expropriations
-Of the initial 56- could decline soon, as five other large holders have made a sale offer. As recognized by the Balearic Executive, they are operations not yet closed and, therefore, they continue in the file of temporary expropriation of use.

Regarding the 10 properties that are bought and that were included in the procedure, the average price is 85,039 euros per floor. The total amount is 850,394 euros: 363,758 euros for the Bankia apartments (an average of 90,939 euros per apartment), 169,636 for the Banc de Sabadell (an average of 84,818 euros per apartment) and 317,000 euros for the Sareb apartments (an average of 79,200 euros per floor).

In the latter case, the operation was carried out at the offer of Sareb, which initially raised a price of 400,000 euros and which has been lowered to 317,000. Four of the flats are located in Inca (those of Bankia), another four, in Ciutadella (those of Sareb) and the remaining two (Banco de Sabadell) in Inca i Calvià.

Apart from the flats included in the file that will be acquired, the Balearic Government will also buy another two lots of houses from large holders, in exercise of the right of first refusal by the Administration.

The intention to transfer these homes has been known and the right of first refusal has been exercised with respect to four Bankia flats, for an amount of 447,645.78 euros and an average price of 111,911 euros per flat. They are located in Sa Pobla, Campos, Alcúdia and Capdepera.

Likewise, through this same route, the acquisition of nineteen Sareb apartments has been agreed, for an amount of 2,274,498 euros in total and that represents an average of 119,710 euros per floor.

These flats are located in the municipalities of Palma (three), Inca (three), Sa Pobla (five), Manacor (one), Consell (one), Vilafranca de Bonany (one), Alcúdia (one), Muro (one) , Campos (one), Llucmajor (one) and Felanitx (one). It should be remembered that in January eight floors of large holders were already acquired, so that there are 41 purchased so far.

From the Conselleria they explained that
they had spent months studying the homes registered in the registry
, but that the pandemic has slowed down these tasks. The staff of the General Directorate of Housing and Architecture has visited the selected homes and considered them suitable to join the social housing stock, due to their size, characteristics and condition.

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