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Spanish government planning measures against owners of empty homes

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The Spanish government is planning “coercive measures” against the owners of empty homes, according to an internal report to which EL PAÍS has had access. In a bid to regulate housing “as a public service in the general interest,” the Socialist Party (PSOE) government has drafted a set of initiatives that would affect property owned by banks and developers, but also private citizens. The measures are part of a report by the Housing Secretary General’s Office, which says they must now be elevated to national law.  There are an estimated 3.4 million homes lying empty in Spain, according to a 2011 census by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the latest available. Regional governments currently have the biggest say in housing policies, leading to diverging approaches to the problem of affordable housing.

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