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Barcelona sanctions housing agency for discrimination based on origin

First ever penalty of this kind in Barcelona amounts to 90 thousand euros

  • December 29, 2019 17:00
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium barcelona 2088158 1920

Earlier this month, the City Council of Barcelona revealed that a sanctioning file has been opened against a real estate agency in the city for discrimination in the access to housing. The penalty, which amounts to as much as 90,001 euros, has been imposed because of the announcement by the agency of a requirement for future tenants to be Spanish.

Housing – basic right

The Spanish Constitution recognizes the right of people not to be discriminated on the basis of origin. What is more, the deprivation of an entire group of access to a basic good such as housing is not covered by the principle of freedom of contract, explained the city authorities.

The announcement, published in June, has been reported by a citizen to the Office for Non-Discrimination (OND) in the Catalan capital, which is the municipal service that provides free psychosocial support and counselling to people who have experienced a situation of discrimination in the city. As of August, the service has handled a total of 145 cases, including the sanctioned restriction.

A local strategy against harassment and discrimination

The opening of this sanctioning file is part of the municipal strategy against harassment and discrimination in housing, we read on Barcelona.cat, the municipal portal. To this end, 134 sanctioning files of the following types have been opened:

  • For permanent idleness of a house.
  • For real estate harassment or discrimination in the use of housing.
  • For allocating an officially protected dwelling to a use different from that of habitual residence.
  • For renting a home without a license.
  • For not registering an empty dwelling in the Register of empty dwellings and occupied dwellings without qualifying title.

In addition, 155 detected cases are currently being evaluated by the public body. It is not unlikely that more financial penalties of similar type will be handed out.



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