The Council of Ministers has given the green light this Tuesday to a decree by which it extends some measures of a social nature beyond the state of alarm, which ends next Sunday. Among them are the rent moratorium and the suspension of evictions for vulnerable groups, which will remain in force for another quarter, until next August, as announced by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, on April 14 in Congress. .
In its usual meeting on Tuesdays, which this time coincides with electoral day in the Community of Madrid and is also the last before the decay of the state of alarm, the Executive has approved the decree that will be extended, when it is published in the BOE , moratoriums and rent cuts and the suspension of evictions, if so agreed by a judge, for vulnerable groups. Both measures were to expire on May 9 and, with its decision, the Government now extends their validity until August 9.
The new decree encompasses all the relief measures for tenants that were approved at the beginning of the pandemic, during the first state of alarm, and that have been systematically extended since then. These include the possibility of requesting a rent payment moratorium for a maximum of four months or a 50% reduction during the same period. The tenants can request this measure and, unless there is a different agreement that has already modified the conditions of the contract, the lessor is obliged to accept it if it is a large owner (the one with more than 10 urban properties, excluding garages and storage rooms or if these properties add more than 1,500 square meters of surface). Smallholders, who are the vast majority in the Spanish rental market, do not have the obligation to accept it.
In the same way, and in general for all owners, they must accept an extraordinary extension of the lease for six months, without modifying its conditions, in the event that the contract expires and the tenant requests it. Both this measure and the previous one can only be requested once, therefore it would now apply to those tenants whose rentals end between May 10 and August 9. In the case of moratoriums and rent deductions, the only alternative if this right has already been enjoyed previously is to reach an agreement with the owner or resort to ICO credits. These, by the way, are in force until May 31 and are not extended this Tuesday, but a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport points out that a ministerial order is already being worked on that will also extend them for a few months, predictably until August.
Stoppage of evictions
In the same way, the decree approved by the Council of Ministers also extends the suspension of evictions of vulnerable tenants by three months. These include all tenants with a current rental agreement who prove their economic vulnerability through documents and social services. In the case of people without an enabling title (that is, who are occupying a home), the judge must stop the eviction for a period of time, until the Administrations find an alternative home for the family or person to be evicted, if it also proves economic vulnerability.
This last assumption, which raised a certain political uproar and even motivated an appeal by the PP in the Constitutional Court, is limited to victims of gender violence and households with dependents or minors in charge. Also excluded are cases in which the occupied property is the first or second residence of an individual and it is always the judge who assesses the situation before agreeing to temporarily suspend the eviction. The owner, for example, can also claim that if the launch is not carried out, it would be economically vulnerable.
Supply cuts and neighborhood meetings
In addition, the decree will also extend until August the prohibition to cut basic supplies (electricity, gas and water) to vulnerable households, sources from the Executive have indicated. This measure, which was the subject of a tug of war between the Government partners at the end of 2020, was already included in the anti-eviction decree last December, and prevents vulnerable consumers, severely vulnerable and at risk of social exclusion from being left without supply. These are those who are recognized in the perception of the electricity social bonus or who prove that they are in a similar situation, even if they do not receive this aid because they do not have a supply contract.
Finally, the Government has also approved that until December 31 the communities of owners do not have to hold meetings. The law requires holding a neighborhood meeting a year to approve the community’s budgets and renew the positions. The decree establishes that these are understood as automatically extended until the end of 2021. In any case, if there is a decision that cannot wait, the Government authorizes the neighborhood meetings at the call of the president or a quarter of the owners. And these meetings can be held telematically (by videoconference, for example) as long as all neighbors have access to said media and other conditions are met.