Palma, Mallorca. | A.S.

Banks and investment funds have started selling their empty apartments in the Balearic Islands so that they don’t have to give them to the Government for 7 years, as required under the Housing Law.

The number of empty homes on the register has been reduced from 1,400 to 779 and the Government says that's good news.

"The law has met part of its goal,” said Director General of Housing, Eduardo Robsy, “to put empty flats up for sale or rent.”

Complicated procedure

The Housing Law allows the Government to expropriate the use of housing for seven years, pay the banks a rent and manage the apartments directly and gives the Government the right of first refusal to buy properties sold by large holders.

The Government has set aside five million euros of the 2021 Budget to buy up properties, but critics say none have been made available for rent.

The decision to rent some of the flats on the register has not been abandoned, according to Robsy, who explains that they have to be appraised first, which is difficult to do during the pandemic.

Politicians are demanding an explanation from Habitat Minister Marc Pons and are insisting that the Government put pressure on large holders to give up their properties.

"The situation is very serious in Ibiza," said Podemos Deputy, Gloria Santiago when the first stone of a VPO promotion was laid in Ibiza. "All the empty houses of banks and investment funds must be made available to the people."

Més per Menorca also questioned why none of the homes owned by large holders had made available to citizens.