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Surcharge on unoccupied housing advances

Do you have a vacant home? Your IBI could begin to have a 50% surcharge.

In 2023, the Law on the Right to Housing was passed, which introduced the concept of unoccupied property, part of the regulations that were missing to allow municipalities to apply a surcharge of 50% on the IBI quota of properties considered unoccupied.

Unoccupied property?

In order for a property to qualify for this consideration, the property must meet two requirements:

  • Be unoccupied continuously and without justified cause for a period of more than 2 years, in accordance with the requirements established by each municipality.
  • That the dwelling belongs to persons who own four or more residential properties.

Moreover, this regulation introduces more surcharges, the municipalities will be able to increase the surcharge in two cases:

  • Up to 100% surcharge, when the period of unoccupancy is more than 3 years;
  • Up to an additional surcharge of 50%, which could therefore reach 150%, in the case of properties belonging to owners of two or more unoccupied residential properties located in the same municipality.

How do you know if my property is unoccupied?

The municipalities could take data on water and electricity consumption from the corresponding companies, or alternatively carry out inspections or requirements.

In any case, it will of course be a rebuttable presumption, i.e., it will admit proof to the contrary. The taxpayer will have the opportunity to prove that what was indicated by the City Council is not correct and defend the non-application of the surcharge.

Of course, there are cases in which the municipalities cannot demand these surcharges, for example in homes that are empty because they are for sale (maximum term of one year) or being taught to be rented (maximum term of 6 months), or even for work, health reasons, etc.

What is the purpose of this standard?

Of course, this regulation has a tax collection purpose, but it is also designed to encourage the occupation of housing, since there are already many cities in which there are problems of low availability of housing and exponential increase in rents. However, it is worth questioning the real effectiveness of these surcharges, as to date there is reluctance on the part of many municipalities to implement these surcharges, as well as their actual application with the means available to the municipalities.

We will continue to see more developments in this area, there is no doubt, with which we will be able to resolve doubts.

Real estate department.

Álvaro Porcar Abogados.