Within the UIA project ‘Yes, we rent!‘ the city of Mataró, a city of 127,000 inhabitants 34 km north-east of Barcelona at the Costa del Maresme, tackles the challenge of “people without flats and flats without people”. There are about 2.800 private owned vacant flats in Mataró. Owners leave these properties empty due to different reasons: among others because they do not have the resources to renovate them or are afraid of tenants not paying the rent (and it is difficult and time consuming to evict “rental nomads”). Speculation may also be a reason for leaving the flats empty.
At the same time there is a low number of affordable rental flats for households that both, are not eligible for social housing and cannot afford to buy a flat (as is typical in Spain). An increasing number of the inhabitants are overburdened by the rental housing cost, in particular younger people. Since 2015, rental prices in Mataró have been growing by 27 %. The expenses for rent can be significantly over a 1/3 of the monthly income.
The city's solution is to mobilise and renovate the vacant flats for the affordable rental housing market for households with problems renting a flat at an affordable price. For this they have set up a support and incentive scheme for owners to let their vacant flats to a tenants’ housing cooperative at a rent below the average market rent (read ).
For further information about ‘Yes, we rent!’ take a look at the two videos: / .
The cornerstone of the project is the establishment of the tenants’ cooperative as an important tool in the city’s strategy to provide an alternative supply of affordable rental flats to households with problems in the rental market. With the cooperative the city’s intention is to utilise the cooperative's potential for empowerment and self-management.
Objective and Tasks
The purpose of the tenants’ cooperative is to provide its members access to decent housing at an affordable price, to advise and train in tenure issues and access to housing and to facilitate its members with services in the flats managed by the cooperative that can improve their living conditions in the different stages of their lives.
In particular, the cooperative will be in charge of managing the flats acquired through the ‘Yes, we rent!’ project and to continue attracting and managing further empty flats to make the ‘Yes, we rent!’ model sustainable, with a strong focus on affordability and continue with the support and incentive scheme installed by the city.
The hope is to create a new dynamic between tenants and owners governed by the values of the social and solidarity economy and by this to transform the rental housing market in Mataró to provide rental flats for a fair price.
Further web information on 'Yes, we rent!':