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How to apply for Spain’s new €250 rent bonus for under-35s

The Spanish government has approved a new housing benefit for young mid-to-low income earners to get €250 a month towards the cost of rent. Here’s how to see if you’re eligible and how you can apply.

House share in Spain
Would you like to apply for Spain's new rental bonus for young mid to low earners? Photo: Wonderlane/Flickr

The Spanish government first announced the plan back in October 2021, but finally approved the scheme on Tuesday January 18th – the date which it also came into effect. 

The aid is set at €250 per month for a period of two years for each young person, as long as they have a regular source of income and their income doesn’t exceed €24,318 per year.

Its aim is to help young people in Spain move out of their parent’s houses and live on their own.

According to a study by the Spanish Youth Council (CJE) only 15.8 percent of young people under the age of 30 have moved out of home and the rest still live with their parents. 

This age group also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU at 31.1 percent (in the third quarter of 2021), according to the Active Population Survey (EPA). 

Not only this, but these young people also have the lowest salaries. According to the latest data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) in 2020, this was €1,207 gross on average per month.

In total, the Spanish government calculates that more than 70,000 people will benefit from this initiative. 

Who is eligible to apply for the aid?  

In order to apply for the scheme and be granted the €250 monthly aid you must:

  • Must be between ages 18 and 35
  • Have regular a source of income. However, this cannot exceed €24,318 per year. This is equal to 14 payments a year of €1,737 gross per month or 12 payments of €2,026 gross per month.
  • The amount of rent paid cannot exceed €600 per month, although regions with particularly high rents that wish to extend it to €900 euros per month can do so.
  • The grant must be used to rent a place in which you as the beneficiary live in. In other words, you can’t sublet it.  

    Failure to comply with just one of these points means that you will not be entitled to the benefit.

How much will I receive? 

The maximum amount you can receive is €250 per month. The payments can only be used for the purpose of renting accommodation and nothing else. 

Can I benefit from the rental aid if I’m already receiving other benefits? 

Yes, the bonus is compatible with other benefits of the State Plan for Access to Housing 2022-2025.

If you do receive different two types of benefits, the amount received will be up to 40 percent of the difference between the rent of the home and the aid, with the joint limit (the sum of the two subsidies) equalling 75 percent of rental income.

You will also be able to continue to receive other types of social bonds such as the Minimum Vital Income (IMV) and other non-contributory Social Security benefits.

What if I rent a room in a shared apartment? 

You can benefit from this aid whether you live alone or share a flat. In fact, if you are sharing an apartment with others, all housemates can also request this help individually, as long as they meet the requirements.

In the case of renting a room, the maximum rent will be set at €300, although each region may raise this limit to €450 if they want to. 

How can I apply for the aid?

The rental benefit can already be applied for and came into effect on January 18th. It is retroactive, meaning that if you are eligible and your application is successful, then the aid will be backdated to January 1st 2022. 

You can apply either in person at the housing offices in each region or online by using your Digital Certificate.  

READ ALSO – Access all areas: how to get a digital certificate in Spain to aid online processes

To apply online, you must follow this link to the corresponding page on the government website.

After reading through to check that you meet all the requirements, you can click on the box in the bottom left-hand corner which says ‘Enlaces a Comunidades Autónomas’ or ‘Links to Autonomous Communities’. 

From here, you simply need to click on your region, where you will be taken to a regional website and given further instructions.

Be aware, that not all of the regions have set up the function to apply for this aid on their websites yet, so you may need to wait until they do or simply apply in person instead. 

How long will it take to receive the benefit?

According to the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, it will be managed within a period of “a month and a half or two months at the most”.

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PROPERTY

How to turn a bar, office or shop into a residential property in Spain

Commercial properties in Spain can be a lot cheaper than residential ones, but it’s not as straightforward as buying a former restaurant, office or shop and moving in. Here are the steps to follow and what you need to be aware of.

How to turn a bar, office or shop into a residential property in Spain

One of the tricks budget property hunters in Spain have been using in recent years is buying a local (commercial property), oficina (office) or nave (industrial unit) and transforming it into a vivienda (residential property) to live in or let out. 

It’s a trend that’s roughly doubled in big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona in the last five years. 

Buying a commercial property can work out to be 50 percent cheaper than a flat or house in Spain and there can be other advantages such as it being more open plan than Spain’s typical corridor-themed apartments as well having more money to invest in the renovation. 

Is it possible to turn a commercial property into a residential property in Spain?

Yes, in theory it is, but it’s not always possible. The rules relating to a change of property’s usage from commercial to residential or vice versa are determined by each municipality in Spain, so before you rush to buy un local, you have to do your homework first and be aware of some of the most common pitfalls.

It could be that the limit of residential properties per hectare has been surpassed already, or that without some major changes the property doesn’t meet the standards of size, rooms, space, height, layout, ventilation, air extraction or light of the town or city hall. 

It isn’t the most straightforward process and depending on the property and the individual municipal rules in place, it might just not be possible to live in the property or rent it out to others.

Living in a commercial property is illegal and may cause you problems such as not being able to activate water and electricity or register your padrón at the town hall.

Despite all the paperwork needed, flipping a bar or office and turning it into a home usually works out cheaper than buying a residential property in Spain. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)

Don’t be discouraged however, as in many cases it is possible to change the use of a property from commercial to residential and in regions such as Galicia authorities are currently facilitating the process to address the matter of empty abandoned stores and the lack of well-priced accommodation for young homeowners.

What are the steps to follow in Spain to change a property from commercial to residential?

Check the statutes of the community of owners: In order to make any changes within the community of neighbours, permission must be requested in advance. Beforehand, you can ask the comunidad president for a copy of the community statutes to see if the change of use from commercial to residential is mentioned.

READ ALSO: ‘La comunidad’ -What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

Request permission from the town hall: After getting the green light from la comunidad, you have to go to the ayuntamiento (town hall) of the town where the property is to find out if it’s possible to add another residential property to the finca (building). 

Even if this is confirmed, it doesn’t certify that the change of usage from commercial to residential is allowed, for which the town hall will ask you to provide an architect’s proyecto técnico or feasibility report based on municipal urban laws. You will only be allowed to swap from commercial to residential if the project meets the safety and habitability requirements of the Technical Building Code (Código Técnico de la Edificación).

Get the Building Licence: Known as licencia urbanística or permiso de construcción in Spanish, this is an official document required by the town hall for you to carry out a construction or renovation project. In other words, you’ll need this municipal authorisation to begin work on your future residential property, whether it’s major work or minor . 

Get the Certificate of Habitability: Once the renovation work is complete, you’ll need the cédula de habitabilidad to be able to move in or let the property out . The conditions for this are regulated by each regional government and again it’s an architect who must prepare a technical report in order for a town council technician to issue the certificate of habitability.

The certificate we need for the change of use is that of primera ocupación (first residential occupation), which has to include the usable surface area of ​​the home, rooms, address, location, maximum inhabitants etc.

How much does it cost to transform a commercial property into a residential one in Spain?

If for example it’s a 80m2 property with two rooms, the total would be about €50,000, according to property websites Idealista and Habitissimo, with the bulk covering renovation costs (€500/m2= €40,000) and the rest going to cover permits, architecture costs and taxes.

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