Session 12 - Legal Instruments for Housing
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 6:30 p.m. CST
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Presentation 1: New Legal Instruments for Housing in Spain
It is estimated that 28 170 families lost their homes in 2013 in Spain, followed by another 19 565 in 2014. It is understood that this is largely because they could not afford to repay their mortgages to the banks. These numbers contrast with an astonishing 13.7% of the housing stock in the country laying vacant in 2010, at the time that families began losing their homes. The situation was even more alarming considering an unemployment rate that picked to 25.77% in 2012. Urgent solutions were needed and civil society took the lead. In March 2012 the law Dación en Pago was approved after the pressure of civil society groups. The new law forced banks to fully discharge all mortgage debt once those who could not afford to pay. Therefore the homeowners would hand back the keys of the house to the lender/banks without being expected to continue to pay off the loan. This first achievement was a ray of hope and a starting point for the push of innovative solutions to unlock the vacant housing stock. This article explores some initiatives regarding the transformation of vacant houses into flats that are intended for social rent, where tenants pay only 30% of their income. In some cases the initiatives were driven by organized civil society groups, in other cases a social use of the empty houses has been a priority of the local government. Based on the analysis of these initiatives the article examines the changes in public policies regarding social housing and social rental accommodation in the city. It also aims to question the impact of these policies on the lives of the most vulnerable population in Spain.
Presentation 2: Impediments to Provision of Affordable Housing in Oregon
Goal 10 of Oregon’s Statewide Planning Program concerns providing housing and states “plans shall encourage the availability of adequate numbers of needed housing units at price ranges and rent levels which are commensurate with the financial capabilities of Oregon households and allow for flexibility of housing location, type and density.” The tools that have been developed for provision of Goal 10 have focused on regulatory measures to increase housing supply, as well as types of housing. However, the housing market responds to many more inputs and externalities other than a local government’s development code such as governmental incentives and disincentives, non-governmental actions to promote affordable housing, national and local economic trends, and development costs. The Statewide Planning Program’s response to the chronic shortage of affordable housing in Oregon that meets the needs and income levels of the state’s residents and households requires ongoing assessment, new information, and innovative ideas to be effective. The presentation will catalogue both regulatory and non-regulatory impediments to provision of affordable housing and identify existing tools and innovative ideas to address shortages of affordable housing. While the research is most concerned with Oregon, the information is applicable to affordable housing concerns within the U.S. and internationally.