The culture of property rental in Spain is not as robust as in the rest of the European Union as confirmed in data published by Eurostat agency in 2010. In this country, only 17 percent of the population live in rented accommodation, compared to the 83 % who actually live their own property. To encourage and boost rental housing market, the Government approved on 24 August 2012, Rental Bill measures affecting the flexibility of contracts, so as to reduce the time of duration. The tenant can request payment for agreed improvements or reforms, also the owner will have the possibility to recover property (once a number of requirements are met) and from now on the processing and execution of eviction will be faster.
These changes have not been welcomed by all sectors of society. Thus, the organization FACUA-Consumers in Action has reported that the new regulation is “a direct cut on the rights of tenants in favour of landlords” because it provides greater legal support to property owners, while in turn will create more homelessness. For its part, the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) believes that “flexibility is needed, without compromising stability.”
Spain is still European holidaymakers’ favorite destination according the latest figures released by Eurostat. Statistics show 13% of tourists booking holidays abroad chose Spain, which is well ahead of Italy and France (both 9%). Breaking the figure down per country, 39% of Portuguese travelling abroad come to Spain, followed by 25% of Irish, 21% of Britons and 18% of French tourists.
The Spanish government is hoping to negotiate a more lenient target for mopping up the State deficit during talks with Brussels in mid-April. The European Union had ordered the country to reduce its debt to 4.5 per cent of the GNP by the end of 2013, a target which now appears far from feasible – especially as Eurostat ordered Spain to recalculate the figures it had given for 2012. This led to the 6.7 per cent of the GNP, excluding aid given to the banks, quoted by the Spanish government being increased to 6.98 per cent. To this end, Spain hopes the European Commission will allow it to aim for a reduction to six per cent of the GNP by the end of 2013 instead of the ambitious 4.5 per cent it was initially instructed to meet. This will mean that the three per cent target can be moved to the end of 2015 and the various autonomous regions will not be obliged to present a maximum debt of 0.7 per cent of the GDP by the end of this year – instead, a higher figure will apply. Spain’s minister for tax, Cristóbal Montoro, is confident the EC will accept the country’s request, given that it said early in March that it was ‘pleased’ with the ‘efforts’ made by Spanish authorities which had led to a 2.5-per-cent reduction in State deficit in 2012. The GNP is not expected to go above 0.5 per cent this year and at best, will rise to one per cent in 2014, according to both Brussels and the Bank of Spain. They also agree that unemployment is likely to rise to 27.1 per cent this year and not fall below 26.8 per cent in 2014, as opposed to initial predictions of 24.3 per cent and 23.3 per cent respectively.