The Valencian Community has approved a decree law that criminalises «real estate harassment» of tenants and will allow it to be sanctioned with fines of between 10,000 and 950,000 euros. Specifically, this new measure regulates for the first time a practice that is defined as «any action or omission to the detriment of the occupant of a dwelling with the aim of disturbing the peaceful use and enjoyment of the same, even generating a hostile or humiliating material, social, personal or family environment».
This is a measure that the Valencian government’s partner, Podemos, has been fighting for. The second vice-president and councillor for housing, Héctor Illueca, wants to combat the abuse of funds.
The harassment behaviours that are typified, among others, are the refusal to accept the payment of rent «on the part of investment funds that often want to get rid of families»; the refusal to carry out the necessary reforms so that the property is in good condition and «behaviours that tend to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the properties by the people who live in them».
In addition, a register of large landlords is created to regulate and know the activity of large landlords and to be able to contact them. With this register, it will be known how many empty flats there are in the Valencian Community. And in the case of empty flats, it will force them to be temporarily transferred free of charge for five years in the case of natural persons and for seven years in the case of legal entities.
It includes the definition of real estate harassment
The decree law is structured in forty-five articles divided into eight titles, including a preliminary title, seven additional provisions, a transitory provision, a derogatory provision, four final provisions and an annex.
The preliminary title, which includes articles 1 and 2, defines the object and scope of application of the decree law and establishes the definition of the notions used in the body of the decree law, as well as other general provisions necessary for the legal certainty of the regulation.
As a novelty, it typifies and regulates the definition of real estate harassment, which the decree-law defines as any action or omission to the detriment of the occupant of a dwelling with the aim of disturbing the peaceful use and enjoyment of the dwelling, including by creating a hostile or humiliating material, social, personal or family environment.
Especially if such conduct is carried out with the intention of forcing the occupant to vacate the dwelling or to adopt any other undesired decision on the right to the use and enjoyment of the dwelling. In this respect, it establishes a system of penalties.