Friday, September 22

This is the limbo of the housing bonus for young people who share a flat in Spain

Blanca, a 27-year-old from Madrid who became independent two years ago, received the news that the Government had approved a young bonus for him rental.

“250 euros a month”, he thought. “With what I can pay right now I access very small houses. If I could allocate that little bit more, I could look at apartments in better conditions.” Living with their partner and both needing space to telework, with the help they could consider a two-bedroom apartment.

The first jug of cold water came when he found out that the established monthly limit would be in flats of 600 euros. Then he found out that the autonomous communities could raise it up to 900 euros. As he assumed that Madrid will do it, because there are hardly any flats below 600 euros, he kept hope.

But the publication in the BOE of the royal decree that regulates the bonus has discouraged it again. Despite the fact that the news from previous days spoke that the aid would be used for people who share a flat —which is, basically, what she and her boyfriend do—, the text makes it clear that the aid is for the coexistence units. The income limit of 24,000 euros per year is applied jointly to all members of a household. And although the autonomies have room to increase it, the doubt hovers over many couples and young people who share.

“If my girlfriend and I live in a flat with salaries of a thousand euros, about 30,000 euros gross per year between the two, do we meet the criteria of being below 24,000 euros per year or not?” asks Eric, a young man who lives with his partner in Valencia.

Asked by El Periódico de España, the response from the Ministry of Transport (MITMA) is that still to be seen. “It has not been established. They want to take it to the sectoral conference,” they say.

The measure, one of the Government’s star announcements on housing, comes a few days after the CGPJ’s rejection of the future housing law, which aims to regulate rental prices for large owners. From the Tenants Union they consider the young bond “a smoke screen to hide the pressures that the Government receives, not only by the CGPJ but by the real estate employers”.

The young rent bonus comes a few days after the CGPJ’s rejection of the future housing law

The explanatory statement of the decree establishes that “The cohabitation unit may not have income greater than three times the IPREM” (that is, 24,318 euros). Subsequently, in the section on beneficiaries, it is reaffirmed and says that the sum of the annual income of the people who live in the dwelling, whether or not they are included in the contract, cannot exceed that amount.

“This criterion is intended to prevent fraud“, MITMA sources point out. The department led by Raquel Sánchez recalls that, in previous similar plans, cases of “picaresque” were detected, such as families that made the member who received the least to qualify for aid the contract holder.

But this bonus goes aimed at helping young people emancipate themselves. And it would not be unreasonable for two or more young people to add salaries of more than 24,318 euros between all of them. yes in a couple both members earn the minimum wage —13,510 euros per year, 27,020 between the two— already exceed the amount established in the decree.

In these cases, as in the case of the monthly cap on flats, the ball is in the hands of the autonomous communities. “Some will have to set an upper limit,” they say. The decree points to a “Monitoring Commission”, which can raise the amount to four or more IPREM “depending on the number of young people who live in the house” and provided that two or more are beneficiaries and are within the contract.

In the case of renting rooms, the conditions are different, because refer to people who have individual room rental contracts, not entire flats shared (by couples or groups of young people) under the same contract. Here the monthly limits are 300 euros, extendable to 450 by the communities, and the maximum income of the beneficiary of three IPREM.

My partner earns more than me

Blanca earns 15,600 euros per year, about 1,100 euros per month in twelve payments. Her partner, under 35 but older than her, is close to 28,000 per year (1,800 euros per month).

“In the rent and in the expenses of the house let’s go halfway“, he points out. “In the end, a very high percentage of my salary goes to housing. Collecting the aid would come in handy. Likewise, the Government has the old conception that in couples there is a common account from which everything is paid, when in reality many couples are like roommates. If so, it will be hard to get.”

Due to his situation, and in accordance with the provisions of the decree, he would not be eligible for rental assistance. Not only together do they exceed the established amount, but one of them surpasses it individually.

This situation could also occur in shared flats with several contract holders, if some charge more than 24,000 euros per year and others less.

The “Monitoring Commission”, they point out from MITMA, will be in charge of resolving these specific cases. And others, such as those for rentals of more than 900 euros – a three-bedroom apartment and three tenants for 1,100 euros, for example – that escape the general regulations. This commission will be made up of a person in charge of the Ministry and another person from each community. The conference with the communities, on the other hand, will be convened in the coming weeks, but there is no clear schedule yet When can you start asking for the bonus?

“You have to put some strict generic conditions. But the complexity is understood, that is why this commission is created,” say ministry sources.

The Government has budgeted 200 million euros for the measure. Taking into account that it is 6,000 euros per beneficiary (250 euros per month for two years), there is money to give to 33,300 young people, although the Executive calculates that it will impact between 60,000 and 80,000.

“We believe that it is a completely anecdotal measure,” says Carme Arcarazo, spokesperson for the Barcelona Tenants’ Union. “What is necessary is to lower the rental price. These measures are worrying because transfer public money into the pockets of landlords. Instead of driving prices down, they push prices up.”

The young bond has also angered ERC, Bildu and Más País, Sánchez’s allies, for the same reason: they believe that he will end up raising prices.

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“For us, the 250 euros would come in handy,” says Eric, whose partner and he both earn less than 20,000 euros a year but together exceed 24,300. “I don’t know what profile the aid is aimed at, Not even if the PSOE believes that by earning a thousand euros a month and living with someone who also earns them, you can get by“.

If the Valencian Community increases the income ceiling of the coexistence unit, they could opt for the bonus. “How nice,” he concludes. “Although later they will distribute very few, but it’s good to know that at least we can buy the lottery ticket“.