Fines to combat property mobbingIn an effort to protect tenants’ rights to housing, the City Council is to make use of the municipal powers detailed in Act 18/2007 on the right to housing and start proceedings against investors and multiple property owners using property mobbing techniques on tenants. Fines of up to 900,000 euros may apply.
The City Council has started preliminary administrative proceedings relating to four cases of property mobbing in the district of Ciutat Vella. In one case, relating to the building at C/ Carme 106, proceedings are already under way to fine the owner of the building for preventing tenants from being able to live peacefully in their homes.
Fines range from 90,001 to 900,000 euros. The process is an administrative one, compatible with criminal proceedings under Act 18/2007 on the right to housing, which allows Catalan local councils to impose fines for conduct that violates tenants’ rights to housing.
Property mobbing is currently a problem in the city which is not easy to denounce and which usually affects vulnerable households. Elderly people with protected rent contracts drawn up long ago are particularly affected.
According to Act 18/2007 on the right to housing, property mobbing is “any action or omission which breaches law and aims to upset or harass a person’s peaceful use of their home, creating a hostile environment, in material, personal or social terms, with the overall objective of forcing a person into an unwanted decision relating to their right to occupy their home”. The practice is also described by criminal law.
There are various forms of pressure. The following situations are all considered forms of property mobbing:
- Sudden unjustified increases in rent prices.
- Owners unjustifiably refusing to take rent payments.
- Not respecting the duration of rent contracts or contract extensions.
- Not carrying out maintenance, renovation or accessibility work.
- Utility supplies being tampered with or cut off to prompt high consumption.
- Other homes in the same building being rented out to disturb tenants and prompt conflict.
- Rescinding of contracts with underpayment of compensation and no right of first refusal for tenants.
- Verbal abuse and threats towards tenants.
- Tenants prevented from making peaceful use of their homes.
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