Wednesday, July 6

The Valencian Government backs down the sale of a Sareb building to an investment fund because it is inhabited

The Valencian Government intervenes for the first time in a house purchase and sale operation to reverse it and incorporate the flats into the public park. The Ministry of Housing and Bioclimatic Architecture will exercise the right of withdrawal to keep a block of houses that Sareb, the so-called ‘bad bank’, sold to an investment fund without communicating that they were inhabited by families at risk of exclusion.

The department headed by the second vice-president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Rubén Martínez Dalmau, blames the Asset Management Society from the Bank Restructuring (Sareb) for not communicating that the homes were inhabited, a requirement that the “bank bad “is bound by the regional law on the social function of housing, and that, by circumventing it, prevented the Generalitat from choosing to exercise preferential acquisition. If the Sareb had indicated, as is its duty, that the houses were inhabited, the regional Executive would have taken charge of the families at risk with alternatives such as social rent, they point out from this department. The second vice presidency is exploring sanctions against Sareb for omitting relevant information in the communication of the operation.

The homes are located on a street in the Valencian neighborhood of El Cabanyal and were acquired through the foreclosure procedure (non-payment) by Sareb at the beginning of 2018. In the foreclosure procedure, the bad bank was awarded the 10 homes and 5 parking spaces for 50% of the appraised value for auction purposes and did so for 1.5 million euros, as this newspaper has learned. Shortly after, Sareb sold these homes to Tempore Properties Socimi, a fund that manages 2,964 rental homes valued at around 383 million euros, according to its website, all from Sareb. Neither the company nor the notary public reported the purchase to the Housing Department, sources from this department report. “In the notice of trial presented it is expressly indicated that the houses are transferred free of tenants and occupants, a circumstance that has finally turned out not to be true,” they indicate.

The news reached Unides Podem when the fund wanted to get rid of one of the acquired homes and put it back on the market. After carrying out several documentary examinations, the technicians of the department verified that the houses were already inhabited at the time of their first sale, without Sareb communicating it. A series of irregularities in the eyes of the department, which doubts whether they were committed deliberately and for what purpose.

According to the regional housing regulations, the Valencian Government can exercise the right of first refusal and withdrawal – a way of intervening in relevant operations – up to 60 days after the communication of the operation. As there was no formal communication, Vivienda saw the deadline expired. But a wildcard was reserved in the decree: an article that adds that, if there is no communication, the term starts again when the Ministry has evidence of it, a letter that the Ministry has just activated to reverse the purchase and incorporate the buildings into the public park. From Housing they are forceful with the action: “We are not going to tolerate any attempt at deception. The objective of the decree is to expand the public housing stock and it was drawn up thinking that no one can benefit from an infraction,” say sources from this department .

Vice President Martínez Dalmau explains that the detection of irregularities in the process indicates that “some financial entities are trying to hide information that harms, above all, the families rented in the homes that are going to be transmitted. This shows that the control mechanisms established in the scoring procedures work ”. Likewise, he assured: “We are studying other similar cases, we will exercise the right of withdrawal in each of the transmissions that have been made with our backs to what the law establishes. We are not going to allow the interests of the vulture funds to prevail over the common interest defended by the Generalitat Valenciana ”.