As pandemic evictions increase, Spaniards declare ‘war’ on Wall Street owners
The Rental Owners Association, a Spanish group that includes some of the outside investment companies, has taken on the housing bill, saying rent controls will only discourage landlords from building new ones. rental housing during a low supply period.
The conflict in Barcelona has its roots in the financial crisis that began in 2008. This slowdown hit homeowners hard, pushing many of them, as well as the banks that held their mortgages, into bankruptcy. The crisis has also fueled evictions and the rise of a protest movement to defend homeowners against predatory lending.
But thousands of people still lost their homes and many of them became tenants. And in the current crisis, tenants have suffered the brunt of the damage, campaigners say.
As defaults have become common and credit has become more difficult to obtain, the number of tenants in the country has increased by more than 40% over the past decade. At the same time, private companies have accumulated at least 40,000 properties in Spain, according to estimates by economists and Spanish media.
Despite this, the homeownership rate has remained relatively high in Spain, at around 75%.
In one case in 2013, Blackstone, now considered Spain’s largest landlord, bought more than 1,800 apartments from the cash-strapped Madrid city government.
But these types of acquisitions did not make a splash until the pandemic left businesses, like many other landlords, issuing eviction notices to those who couldn’t pay rent.
In the first quarter of 2021, tenant evictions in Spain increased by 14% compared to the same period the year before, according to the government. In the second quarter of this year, they reached eight times more than during the same period in 2020.