The Govern of the President Quim Torra works on a bill to regulate the rents. The standard aims toughen the decree of the president of the Government Pedro Sánchez, because it provides six-year contracts in the case of private owners (the executive provides five) and up to ten if the landlord is a company (seven, according to the decree). In addition, the regulation wants to limit price increases. To avoid conflicts of competence, the law will be supported by the Catalan Civil Code.
The announcement of the Catalan Government, made this Monday by the Minister of Justice, Ester Capella, arrived by surprise, only three days after the announcement of the decree of the Government of Pedro Sánchez. Sources of the department, with everything, assure that in no case it is a response to the regulation announced last Friday, and that for months in the Generalitat is working on a regulation of rents "Squeezing" the Catalan legislation.
In fact, the Constitutional Court left open the way of the Civil Code (that in the sixth book talks about contracts) in a sentence of January of this year on the law 4/2016. This is one of the laws that was appealed by the Spanish Government and that contemplated in a final provision the possibility of Catalonia regulating urban leases: a Catalan LAU (Law on Urban Leases). In the last legislature technicians of the Govern came to write a draft of regulation that was delivered to the executive just before the referendum of October 1, 2017. This draft already referred to the Catalan Civil Code.
The Minister of Justice said that the Government acts "in the exercise of its own powers as a country" and asked the central government to "respect the competences of the Catalan government." Capella said that his idea is for the law to enter the Parlament at the end of the year.
On the regulation of prices, Capella recalled that in cities such as Barcelona rents have risen almost 40% in five years and said that the idea is that the law empowers to apply to the department that has jurisdiction over housing or to the City councils
The announcement of a Catalan LAU was received with surprise by the entities that work to defend the right to housing. The organizations welcomed the initiative, but recalled that two years ago they were part of a working group to draft a Catalan law and assured that they had not had any news about it until the advisor's announcement yesterday.
From the DESC Observatory, its director, Irene Escorihuela, pointed out that at that time it was not clear if the Generalitat had powers. "The jurists do not agree," he said. Without hiding skepticism, Escorihuela celebrated that the Generalitat relange the idea two years later, but regretted not having participated "in the debate" as then.
In the same line they were expressed from the Tenants' Union and the Platform of Affected by the Mortgage (PAH). "It is interesting to put on the table again the possibility of a Catalan LAU from the civil code, but we have not been consulted, we do not understand what they have been doing these two years," said union spokesman, Jaime Palomera.
Both he and Lucia Delgado, PAH, were also surprised that in meetings held in recent weeks with deputies of ERC and PDeCAT, partners in the Catalan government, nobody has commented on the proposal to promote the regulation of the rents. Delgado, pointed another surprise front: and is that to date, the deputies of the PDeCAT have been reluctant to regulate the rent increases. The Ministry of Justice, however, is in the hands of ERC.