What types of social housing are there?

 Tipos de Viviendas Protegidas | VPO, VPP, VPPB

Any past time was better when it comes to social housing. In 2008, 68,587 houses with some form of protection were built in Spain, while last year only 9,221 were completed across the country, according to the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda. The communities that put the most social housing (VPO) on the market were Madrid (3,466), Catalonia (1,723) and the Basque Country (1,565).

A social house is any house that has some limitation or regulation in its price and disposition and receives public aid of some kind. In Spain, the star policy of social housing is the official protection housing (VPO), which each autonomous community breaks down into all kinds of acronyms according to different characteristics, which we explain later.

Social housing can be publicly or privately owned, but in Spain, it is mostly privately owned. In fact, the public social housing stock occupies only 2.5% of the total constructions in the country, far behind the European Union average (9.3%).

Constructions of these characteristics depend on the Housing plans of each autonomous community and there are different types: those destined for rental or those built for own use purchase or sale. Administrations, mainly regional and local, have a series of mechanisms to implement this type of promotions in which the price of the housing and the income of those who will inhabit them are controlled.

In this article, we will explain everything concerning protected or official protection housing. The reason is its important weight in the real estate market and, likewise, it is a preferred option for a large part of buyers. What is a protected house? A protected house, also known as official protection housing (VPO) in Spain, is a special type of property. Its access and price are regulated by state and regional regulations. The main objective is to facilitate access to housing for population groups with lower incomes or specific needs, such as the elderly or people with disabilities. These homes are built following specific design, quality and habitability regulations, which vary according to each Autonomous Community.

In Spain, the policy of protected housing ensures access to decent housing. This is a constitutionally recognized right. Traditionally, these homes have benefited from state and regional economic aid. The price of protected housing remains more affordable than that of free housing. This is due to price limitations and previous aids.

In current urban developments, a percentage of the land is reserved for the construction of protected housing. The price of these houses varies according to the protection regime applied and other factors. These include location and the time when the provisional qualification of the project is obtained. To be considered protected, houses must meet certain requirements. These include maximum dimensions, design, quality and maximum price. All this is verified through the ‘provisional qualification’ and, later, with the ‘definitive qualification’ of the finished house.

As a counterpart to the limited prices and the aid received, protected houses have additional restrictions. These restrictions affect their sale or rental, ensuring that they fulfill their social function. They may include limits on the income of buyers or tenants and specific conditions in the marketing of homes.

Who can access a protected house?

The requirements of each region are conditioned by the minimum standards of the State Housing Plan. These rules require that protected housing be intended for habitual and permanent housing, have a maximum sale or rental price and have a maximum area of 90m2.

In practice, the groups to which these homes are targeted are the following:

Low income. This is one of the most common requirements, since it promotes the opportunity to have access to housing. Income is determined according to the area where you live and taking into account the members of the family. To know this data, they resort to the Public Indicator of Multiple Effects Income (IPREM), an indicator that is published each year in the Budget Law.

First-time buyers. In usual practice, they are also offered to those who are going to buy a house for the first time. Vulnerable groups. Among these, we can highlight victims of gender violence, people with some type of disability or elderly people.

In general, there are some requirements to access a protected house. They are the following:

Be of legal age or emancipated. Not having enjoyed a protected house before in Spain. Not having a house in property. There are exceptions such as, for example, that a judge has ruled that it be the place of residence of your ex-partner and your children.

The house must have a maximum sale price or a maximum reference rent.

Have a minimum family income. Not having obtained financial aid from autonomous or state housing plans in the previous 10 years Be registered in a public registry of applicants for protected housing, created and managed by each Autonomous Community.

What types of protected housing are there?

In the Spanish market, there are 3 types of protected housing. It is important that you know them in detail before deciding on this purchase option and thus avoid confusion.

Official Protected Housing- VPO

Officially protected housing, also called VPO, originated in the 60s, however, they are still used today. The private market continues to account for practically all housing, but VPOs are still very important to facilitate access to certain people.

Currently, the State Plan for Access to Housing (2022-2025) is in force. In this plan of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, the following measures have been considered:

Loan subsidy program to facilitate purchase. Increase in public housing stock. Provision of SAREB properties for social housing. Creation of a youth rental voucher.

POPP Housing

POPP Housing Official Public Promotion Housing (POPP). It is a type of housing very similar to VPO, but the difference lies in the fact that the promoter is some type of public body. The time it takes to build these protected houses is usually very high. However, they generally have a space limit, although the standards are usually of high quality.

VPP Housing

VPP Housing Public Protection Housing is characterized mainly by establishing a series of conditions to facilitate the construction and marketing of housing. Read the following types to know what they are:

VPPB Homes

Homes with Basic Public Protection (VPPB) are homes that have a maximum construction limit of 110 square meters unless they are intended for large families and can reach up to 150m2. They have a protection regime of 20 years. VPPL Homes They are Limited Price Public Protection Homes. The maximum surface limit is 150 square meters. The sale and rental price is limited by the administration.

VPPA Homes

Housing with Public Protection for Rent. They are intended for rent, but with the particularity that the rent has certain limits.

VPPA OC Housing

It is Housing with Public Protection for Rent with Option to Buy. The rent has certain limits in terms of price. In addition, the tenant is facilitated to have the possibility of buying the house preferentially.

VPPA OCJ Housing

Housing with Public Protection for Rent with Option to Buy for Young People (VPPA OC J). It is the same as the previous one, but with the difference that only those under 35 years of age can sign this contract.

VIS Housing

Refers to Social Integration Housing (VIS), are intended for vulnerable groups. Of course, the property cannot be acquired but if you live in rent. Its surface is 130 m2 maximum.

How to know if a VPO is public or private?

Knowing if a VPO is public or private is relatively easy. The simplest thing is to consult with the developer so that they provide us with the information. The only difference lies in the entity that promotes it. If it is a public VPO, the promoter is an organism or public company. Instead, if the promoter is a commercial company, the VPO will be private.

On the other hand, you can also review the documentation to be able to obtain this data (rental contract, simple note, etc.).

Officially promoted private protection housing This type of protected housing is promoted and built by private companies, that is, no public body or company is present. However, they are not subject to the rules of the free market, since they are conditioned by a series of specific norms and regulations.

Among the most outstanding characteristics, are the following: regulated prices, access conditions, social purpose, etc.

Thus in the Priced Homes (VPT) certain criteria and specific conditions must be met. One of the main differences between VPT and Official Protection Housing (VPO) is that VPT has a minimum income threshold for families a little higher than that required for VPO. In addition, it is possible to acquire a VPT even if you already own a home on the free market, as long as certain conditions are met.

Obligations and rights of the VPO Officially protected housing is subject to a series of rights and obligations for owners. Regarding rights, the following stand out:

  • Right to property. Owners have full possession of their home, with the usual responsibilities and benefits of being owners, although subject to VPO regulations.
  • Right to sell and rent. They can sell or rent their home, but these transactions are regulated to maintain housing affordability. This may include limitations on price and certain conditions before sale or rental.
  • Right to improvements and renovations. Owners can customize and maintain their home, although some major renovations may require administrative approval. These rights are designed to balance the accessibility of VPOs with the benefits of private property, ensuring that these homes remain affordable and accessible to those who need them.

What obligations are there for the owners?

  • Live. You must reside in the home habitually. If an Official Protection Housing is used as a holiday residence, it is a very serious offense. A VPO must be used as a family residence only and never for other uses, such as headquarters for a business.
  • Access. The owner of the Social Housing has a specific time frame to move in. Failure to comply may result in loss of ownership. Sell. There are restrictions on reselling the property until a certain number of years have passed. Income. You are obligated to report any changes in your income.
  • Rent. Renting without the necessary permissions can also be a cause for expropriation. If renting is done, the price set must be that of public housing, not the market rate.

What does ‘full ownership’ in Social Housing mean?

Full ownership’ in Social Housing means that the person acquiring it has all the rights that come with it. For example, selling it, renting it out, or making improvements. However, depending on the type of Social Housing, there may be restrictions and limitations to these rights.

In summary, protected housing is a type of property that is very important in the real estate sector. We hope that with this article, you have all the information you need before deciding to opt for this type of housing

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