We held the 1st Social Rental Conference!

Having more homes available for rent, analyzing the socioeconomic reality of families excluded from the formal real estate market and generating sustainable public or private administration tools so that they can access a decent place to live were some of the proposals that emerged in the 1st Social Rental Days that- Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina organized.The objective was to co-produce proposals on each topic, so that effective action could be carried out with the participation of the social, public, private and academic sectors, and housing specialists from different electoral forces.

In Argentina, social rent is contemplated in article 17 of the Rental Law and recent discussions on the regulations did not modify it. However, until now a policy has not been implemented that allows people, excluded from the formal real estate market, to rent a home. “One of the conclusions of all the working groups was that a single large-scale social rental plan is not practical, but rather programs addressing the specific needs of the diverse population.. A range of tools and a prior diagnosis must be developed to develop optimal policies,” said Paula Celestino Ayala, deputy director of Institutional Development of the organization.

In the country there are 600 thousand tenant households that do not have formal income, which puts them at risk of exclusion. That was one of the issues which emerged in the panels -t during the three days of work. “There are different models in the region and the world to guarantee that families in this situation have access to decent housing, and in these experiences the State assumes different roles,” explained Celestino Ayala.

During the conference, carried out at the Buenos Aires headquarters of the Universidad Blas Pascal, information and solutions were sought to create a workable social rental project. The conclusions will be worked on with a “promoting group”, made up of organizations and volunteers, together with Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina, in order to monitor the proposals to create a public policy, in cooperation with those who are part of the governments, starting next December.

Social rent, a political measure

During the conference, representatives of the political forces Unión por la Patria (UP), Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) and La Libertad Avanza (LLA) exchanged ideas about what to do so that more people can access a rental. “We believe it is essential that leaders have information about the reality of many excluded families, as well as hearing what plans they propose to implement,” said Celestino Ayala. “There were many common points, that is the most important thing,” he highlighted.

Manuel Socías, Buenos Aires legislator for UP, proposed that “in the short term, the emergency must be overcome with a concrete response, such as the creation of a rental market stabilization fund.” As he explained, this tool would alleviate the housing crisis for all tenant sectors, not just those who need social rent. As subrogation, “the fund would pay the owner on behalf of the tenant and then charge the tenant 36 consecutive installments with an annual update that is below what is established by the current rate in law.”

To apply once the macroeconomic problem for the country has been resolved, in the medium or long term, its force develops “a national regime of protected rentals, which has a public submarket, articulated through public housing banks and with a stock of housing that allows vulnerable populations to be served with social rent, and then a private submarket.”

“30% of Buenos Aires residents rent and the popular neighborhoods are where there is the greatest need for a public social rental policy,” assessed, meanwhile, Iván Kerr, former Secretary of Housing of the Nation and a reference on the issue of JxC. In his view, one way of solution is to provide housing loans for seniors, above the current limit of that banking tool located on average at 55 years of age.

“Public land must be used for housing policy. The State has to make it available,” he stated. He also disagreed with incorporating a tax on idle housing because the public sector “must provide an incentive so that those who have a home are encouraged to rent it out.”

For Ricardo Inti Alpert, housing specialist at LLA, “social rent, or a social view of rentals, is something so important that it deserves a permanent forum that gives us a roadmap to address the situation.” For this reason, he promised to review the document of management proposals for his force and give more preponderance to social rent.

In agreement with his peers, he considered that “it is necessary to increase the stock of housing” to make it possible to rent them, since “you cannot rent what does not exist.”

Rights on hold

Although Law 27,551 created the National Social Rental Program three years ago, it has not been implemented to date. While calls are made for the application of effective policies, many families live in tenements and boarding hotels in unhealthy conditions. “I went to look for a rental and they offered me one that they didn’t offer anyone else. They showed it to me at night and I signed a ten-year lease. The next day, when we moved in, we saw that the bathroom was actually a pit and that there was no hot water in the showers. As the tenement was inclined, the kitchen floor sank,” said one of the panelists of the day, Lourdes Techera, who is a member of the territorial tables on social rent and resides in the buildings that make up the “Estela de Esperanzas” project, which The organization was launched in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.

Precisely to seek strategies that stop the violation of housing rights, during the activities cases of social rentals were learned in other countries, such as Romania and Spain. Also, testimonies were heard from people who represent populations historically violated in their access to housing, such as LGBTIQ+.

For Gustavo Caliciotti, academic director of the Real Estate Business School at Universidad Blas Pascal, “political will is needed in social investment to protect people who are in vulnerable situations.” He called for “the public and private sectors to work together, taking as examples the cases of social rentals in Romania and Hungary. Provide financial education so that families can progressively access better properties.”

In fact, one of the conclusions of the conference was that the private sector has an important role in generating supply, just as the participation of the State is essential to generate legal security for all parties involved and support for the most vulnerable population.Only an articulated, participatory and involved approach will allow us to consolidate a housing policy that benefits all people, especially those who are historically excluded by the real estate market.

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