Mediation and counselling to prevent the loss of housing
Prevention is the most effective tool to prevent the loss of housing. With the aim of minimising risk situations that could result in the expulsion of residents from their homes, the Barcelona City Council offers a rent mediation service and mortgage counselling.
The rent mediation service can be requested by people with financial difficulties who are at risk of being evicted for non-payment. This service, which can be requested from the Housing Offices, facilitates negotiation between landlords and tenants.
The aim of this programme is to find an optimal solution for both parties that allows, if possible, the tenant to remain in the home. Therefore, a series of agreements between the parties helps manage outstanding debts and prevent future indebtedness.
The mediation services use means to facilitate agreements that make it possible for residents to remain in their homes, such as the rental assistance linked to the mediation processes, or the possibility of incorporating a home into the programme of the Barcelona Rented Housing Pool, which assumes the debt owed to the landlord, within the limitations established by each call (6,000 euros in 2018).
On the other hand, people with mortgage difficulties can request help at the Housing Offices through the Ofideute service, which provides advice to resolve conflicts between mortgage holders and financial entities.
This programme offers information and legal guidance and initiates mediation processes with creditor entities to propose alternative solutions that, if possible, allow the mortgage holder to keep their home. It also identifies abusive clauses in mortgage contracts and facilitates management that can, when necessary, suppress or denounce them.
Measures to manage the loss of housing
Apart from advisory and mediation services to prevent risk situations, the City Council has promoted a range of measures to assist people who have lost their home or are at imminent risk of losing it.
For example, the Intervention Service in situations of Loss of Housing and / Employment (SIPHO) provides information, accompaniment and legal advice to residents of a home at risk of eviction. If it is not possible to reach an agreement to stop the eviction, SIPHO carries out actions to accompany the affected families.
People who have been evicted have public assistance available in order to rent a new home. The amount of the aid is equivalent to 60% of the annual rent of the home, with a maximum of 2,400 euros per home. This benefit can only be received once and for a maximum period of 12 months.
Finally, the City Council provides people who have lost their homes with options for dignified relocation through tools such as the Emergency Desk, which assesses each case and derives the homes affected to housing for social emergencies.
All these services can be accessed through the Housing Offices of Barcelona.