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The Catalan government has approved a draft bill on taxing financial institutions in the region for leaving housing they own empty for more than two years.

Homes in Catalonia 300x225 - Catalonia to Tax Banks for Keeping Properties EmptyThe bill will be sent to the regional assembly for approval before the summer and will take effect from the start of next year. The levy will range from 850 to 1,650 euros a year per house and will affect 15,000 housing units in 70 municipalities in the region.

One of the first measures that the ruling center-right nationalist CiU group - led by regional premier Artur Mas - took on attaining power was to strike down a law introduced by the previous Socialist-led coalition that forced banks to rent empty homes. In the wake of a spate of home evictions, pressure groups demanded that Mas restore that law.
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The hundreds of thousands of empty homes across Madrid has spawned a black market for cheap housing in which groups illegally break into, and then let, repossessed properties.

49708 1267907 foto 343281 300x225 - Empty Homes Spawn Black Housing MarketAlmost all the cases involving the properties, most of which now belong to Spanish banks, are identical, said Vicente Pérez, from a residents group, the Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Vecinos de Madrid.

While prices vary greatly, it generally costs from €1,000 (£830) to €2,000 to "buy" a repossessed property, El País reports. Those who cannot afford the fee can instead choose to rent for a few hundred euros a month. The price often includes electricity, gas and water, and sometimes even heating.

The homes are guaranteed until a judicial process issues an eviction order, said Pérez. That process that could take up to two years.
...continue reading "Empty Homes Spawn Black Housing Market"