The policy behind this year’s renovation grants targets the renovation of home interiors, and not just communal elements in buildings. Energy efficiency, tenant stability and other social indicators are specific aspects which will be taken into account. Applications can be made for grants as from 15 March.
The grants are intended for inhabited homes, which are the usual daily residence for those who live there. For empty homes, grants will only be given if the home is included in the social rented housing pool once renovated. Owners of rented housing will also have to maintain the same rental conditions for tenants if they wish to access the grants. The objective, as explained by the Councillor for Housing, Josep Maria Montaner, is to boost the pool of affordable rented homes available.
The Barcelona Housing Consortium has approved a first round of grants, with an initial budget allocation of 12 million euros and which will gradually be stepped up until it reaches the 46.6 million envisaged. “We’re firmly backing renovation policies which allow us to adapt the city to new uses and new ways of living, with the aim of improving quality of life for our residents”, explained the Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility, Janet Sanz, during the presentation.
The most notable aspects of the new grant call are:
Last year, this specific grant was included, which subsidises work to make homes habitable or to improve access, sound insulation and other aspects. Owners including their properties in Barcelona’s social rented housing pool will have direct access to grants of up to 20,000 euros to renovate homes (5,000 euros than last year). The programme forms part of City Council’s policy to boost the pool of affordable housing.
Measures will be promoted to cut energy consumption in buildings. This year the percentage of the grant will be increased for work to reduce energy consumption in building, covering up to 60% of the work and up to a maximum of 60,000 euros.
Work carried out to improve the energy behaviour of the exterior of buildings will be subsidised by up to 50%, also up to a maximum of 60,000 euros. For partial work, grants will cover up to 35%, up to a maximum of 30,000 euros.
Grants will be available to solve structural problems in buildings, covering 50% of the cost of work. They will also be available to improve facades, with a subsidy of 25% and up to a maximum of 30,000 euros.
The installation of lifts will be subsidised with 50% of the cost of work, up to a maximum of 60,000 euros, while the removal of architectural constraints will be subsidised by 25% of the cost, up to a maximum of 30,000 euros.
Grants will also be available for up to 25% of the cost of other work, up to a maximum of 30,000 euros and covering non-structural work such as installations, unification of aerials, reorganisation of air-conditioning units and fire prevention installations.
The new grant call maintains the social parameters included last year so that families with the lowest incomes can take advantage of subsidies. Owners with incomes lower than 2.33 times the Catalan Income Sufficiency Indicator (IRSC) will be able to get grants covering 100% of the cost of renovation work. A programme of specific grants is also available for zones considered to be of special interest (Turó de la Peira, Canyelles, the South-West of the Besòs river, Baró de Viver, Can Clos, Ciutat Meridiana, etc). “These are renovation grants with a greater social and sustainable vision than has ever been made available to citizens before”, asserted Janet Sanz.
Last year, 12,337 families in 790 buildings benefitted from the subsidies, representing a private investment of 72 million euros, with a public contribution of 25.4 million. This year, according to Sanz, the aim is to increase these figures.
The grants form part of the renovation policies being driven by the municipal government to guarantee minimum living conditions. “They’re a key tool in stopping residents being driven out by gentrification”, noted Josep Maria Montaner. Of the 46.6 million euros set out for the grants, Barcelona City Council will contribute 25.8 million and the Government of Catalonia, 5 million, the rest coming from funds remaining from 2016.