Defending tenants’ rightsNew measures to but the brakes on gentrification in the city’s neighbourhoods and prevent tenants being forced out of their homes. Once the new regulations are approved, owners will have to guarantee alternative housing and the return of tenants. The regulations also make the installation of solar panels easier and the auscultation of subsoil obligatory to prevent damage.
“With housing, not everything goes. We have to put tenants’ rights before everything else. Our obligation is to guarantee the law is complied with. The weakest part needs protecting from operations being carried out in our city and we’re aware of them because residents denounce them”, noted the Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility, Janet Sanz.
Spanish legislation (Land and Urban Renewal Act) and Catalan legislation (Right to Housing Act and Territory Act), currently going through the legislative process, recognise the right to provisional accommodation and the return of tenants whenever possible. Those conditions will now be guaranteed and work will be done to enforce them at a municipal level.
To obtain planning permission, owners will have to include a declaration of responsibility expressly making a commitment to rehouse and return tenants where they have the right. This commitment is in keeping with the current legal framework and a rehousing protocol detailing which homes are affected and who the legal occupants are.
The declaration will be imperative for processing permits and notifications for renovation work, conservation work or the demolition of housing. It will also mean possible infringements can be detected, permits denied and disciplinary action taken where necessary.
Boosting solar energy
The modification to the by-law also makes it easier for people to install small solar panels, now only requiring the signature of the installer, instead of the complete executive project as was the case until now. The modification will apply to solar heating installations, the heating of safe water and solar panelling for the generation of electricity.
The modification is consistent with the municipal strategy of backing self-production and incentivising the voluntary installation of panels on terraces and rooftops, as set out in the programme to boost the generation of solar power in Barcelona.
Lastly, the modification to the regulations obliges major projects to define a plan for the auscultation of subsoil to prevent movement which could damage the structures of buildings in the vicinity.
Some construction projects in Barcelona can have an impact on the subsoil and affect the state of land which supports infrastructures and buildings. In order to control the effects and prevent any variations, depending on the extent of the work involved, the auscultation of subsoil is a necessary tool.
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