City takes over flat left empty by bank to help ease housing crisis
Barcelona's mayor has ordered the expropriation of an "empty" flat owned by a bank, as the city faces a housing shortage.
Ada Colau, a former housing campaigner, used a law passed in 2016 allowing local authorities to claim homes owned by companies with many properties in their portfolios, if they are vacant for two years or more.
The law was suspended by Spain's constitutional court after a challenge by the government of Mariano Rajoy, the former prime minister, but last year the court ruled it in order.
"This empty flat will now form part of the municipal housing stock for 10 years," said Lucia Martin, Barcelona's councillor in charge of housing.
The council says it discovered the apartment had been empty through the residency register and lack of utility payments.
Ms Martin added that expropriation orders were being prepared for seven other properties belonging to banks.