Proceedings to fine the Azora investment fund for keeping flats empty

The Azora investment fund, which owns a block of flats in Plaça d’Alfonso Comín, faces fine proceedings after failing to comply with the obligation to rent out twenty empty flats for periods of up to three years. Residents in the building have also denounced abusive practices by Azora in connection to prices and some rental conditions.

18/06/2020 16:55 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The Housing Discipline Unit, which works to tackle abusive practices and property speculation to avoid rights violations, mobbing and discrimination in housing, found that Azora had kept twenty flats empty for periods of up to three years.

The law on housing rights establishes that conventional flats can only remain empty without justification for two years. For protected flats the maximum period is three months. Infringements are classified as very serious and may lead to fines of between 90,000 and 900,000 euros.

Nonetheless, the City Council has suggested that the investment fund makes the empty flats available to the Barcelona Rental Housing Pool.

Azora and tenants

The investment fund Azora Gestión Inmobiliaria SL acquired the block of flats at Plaça d’Alfonso Comín, 11-12, in 2010. The block was built to create homes with official protection and as from 2018 the flats moved to a fixed-price housing regime.

The announcement of the fine proceedings comes in addition to the discontent among residents in the block, who denounce disproportional price hikes and abusive practices by Azora. When the building changed to a fixed-price housing regime the owner applied the highest prices allowed under the regulations, above the rates in the index by the Catalan Housing Agency. This makes the rent on these flats higher than similar flats in the area which do not have official protection.

On top of this, Azora has been unwilling to renew some rental contracts, despite the families in question meeting the requisites.

For all these reasons, the City Council is asking the Government of Catalonia to intervene in the conflict and oblige the investment fund to change the maximum prices for this type of housing. It is also urging Azora to renew the current rental contracts.


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