Sunday, May 28

The acting Judiciary criticizes the lack of “sufficient compensation” to landlords for price control

The new draft report of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in office on the Draft Law for the Right to Housing objects to one of its star measures: the brake on the rise in rental prices in the so-called stressed areas located mainly in large cities. The members José Antonio Ballestero, chosen at the proposal of the PP; and Enrique Lucas, appointed at the proposal of the PNV; They have drafted a new proposal after the plenary’s rejection of a previous text by the progressive Álvaro Cuesta who proposed, although with objections, to support this rule.

The new Housing Law is born conditioned by the blockade of communities and municipalities of the PP

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The new draft, to which has had access and which will be debated in an ordinary plenary session scheduled for this Thursday, says that the article that allows capping certain rents is “cumbersome” and questions that the “patrimonial burden” of that measure does not falls on the Public Administrations, but on “private landlords” who, in the opinion of the speakers, are not “sufficiently compensated with the tax incentives” provided for in the regulation.

In addition, he warns that it is a “constitutionally sensitive issue” and that the application of this new regulation will be “decisively” conditioned by the regional powers when establishing the rental rate and the areas of the stressed residential market. He also affirms that the “regulatory complexity” of this measure can lead to “not a few judicial procedures” and criticizes that “perhaps it is not adequate” to “generalize and maintain” it when the pandemic ends.

Similar objections are made by the report proposal to the provision that introduces improvements in the regulation of the eviction procedure in situations of vulnerability. Thus, the speakers affirm that both this measure and the one that allows limiting prices in stressed areas lack “sufficient justification” and an evaluation of the “social benefits and inconveniences that can be derived from them” based on an empirical analysis . “Neither does the draft incorporate safeguard clauses, such as establishing a temporary period for the application of restrictive measures,” criticizes the document.

regional competition

The new text emphasizes the regional powers in matters of housing, alluding, on several occasions, to the article of the Constitution that underlines that the autonomies “may assume powers” in matters of “territory planning, urban planning and housing” and by virtue of which the communities have approved “valuable legislation” which, according to the speakers, would be “affected” by the new law.

In this sense, the document affirms that the preliminary draft contemplates a “clear control” of the action of the regional and local institutions in housing matters that may have a “problematic fit” in the constitutional order of competences. And he cites, on this point, the ruling of the Constitutional Court that, more than three decades ago, said that the communities can “develop their own policy” on housing.

The proposal for an opinion is especially harsh with the definitions of certain concepts linked to the right to housing included in the draft. He affirms that the article that collects these descriptions “deserves a partially unfavorable criticism” by collecting a series of legal concepts that he even describes as “vulgar” and that “exceed the object of a law.” In this regard, the speakers show their disagreement, for example, with the concept of “decent housing” being “fossilized” in a law, which they describe as “relative” and which they believe should be developed in a regulation to accommodate more easily “to the changing and varied social reality”.

“Between “decent” housing and “substandard housing” there will undoubtedly necessarily be intermediate situations that would remain in a legal limbo. With regard to “homelessness” it leaves out of the protection, for whose protective vocation it is born, homeless people, without means to procure it, who nevertheless do not manage to integrate any of the circumstances that the norm describes “, they question.

Message to the Government

This text will be discussed in the ordinary plenary session scheduled for this Thursday, where it will need at least eleven votes to move forward. Despite having its mandate expired for more than three years, the CGPJ maintains among its functions the preparation of reports on bills and other provisions. Although the conclusions of the report are not binding for the Government, the approval of the opinion is a mandatory procedure.

In their report, the speakers underline their legitimacy to make these opinions after criticism from the Government, where they have recalled in recent days that the CGPJ “can only be limited to assessing issues that affect procedural processing.” In this regard, the document states that the “scope” of the CGPJ’s advisory function “does not depend on the interest or the will of the body requesting the report” and points out that the Executive in this regard “lacks any capacity to dispose “because it has to adhere to the provisions of the Organic Law of the Judiciary, whose interpretation (…) “has been peacefully accepted by the different governments and up to the present moment.”

After transcending the draft, the Minister of Social Rights and leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra, has criticized the “reaction obsessed with preventing social progress” of the CGPJ. “The housing law will allow for the first time to regulate rental prices in our country. The attempts to curb the rights of tenants come from a reaction obsessed with preventing social progress and making it difficult to comply with our Constitution,” he has written in his twitter account. Podemos recently questioned the impartiality of the judicial body, understanding that it had exceeded its functions, and indicated that it will not accept any change to the text agreed upon in the coalition government, given that the CGPJ’s opinion is “mandatory but not binding” .

For its part, the Union of Tenants of Catalonia maintains that the governing body of the judges is exceeding its functions and acting again “in favor of rentism”. “We are surprised that a highly politicized body that acts as a political lobby gives its opinion on issues such as rent regulation and asks for more tax benefits from owners when the draft already contemplates them,” its spokesperson, Carme Arcarazo, told .