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Action for Housing release election wish list to tackle Gibraltar's housing crisis

Photo by Eyleen Gomez

The Action for Housing pressure group has released its wish list ahead of the 2023 General Election.

With Gibraltar going to the polls in an election before the end of 2023 Action For Housing has compiled a detailed wish list setting out a blueprint for the next government.

“Gibraltar is currently amid a housing crisis and the group is kept busy assisting those people who are in need or facing very adverse situations,” said a statement from the group.

“Using our knowledge and years of experience with Gibraltar’s housing system the AFH wish list provides a clear plan for much needed reform.”

The list has 15 points and include construction of rental homes, funding of NGOs for temporary accommodation, tax disincentives against multiple homeownership, rehousing of existing tenants in buildings that are to be demolished, more privacy at the housing department facilities when discussing personal matters.

The list is as follows:

1. Immediate commencement of a government building programme to construct flats for rental.
The next government should earmark site(s) that to create government rental homes as soon as

2. Legal assistance to be granted to tenants who are facing eviction and who are not people of

3. Developers who demolish existing homes in order to construct new buildings must be compelled
by law to either rehouse those tenants who are evicted or to compensate them financially in a
manner which is adequate to the loss of their homes.

4. Introduce new measures to regulate rents, ensure security of tenure and protect investment
made in the acquisition and renting of property in the private sector. An advisory independent
committee to be set up by government to study and put forward recommendations to this end.

5. Tax disincentives need to be introduced to reduce multiple homeownership. We need to
discourage the concentration of residential property in a few hands.

6. Government funded NGO’s and agencies that provide temporary accommodation need to be
better regulated and maintained and available for applicants on government housing waiting
lists. We are referring specifically to the workers’ hostels and the women’s refuge.

7. Allow an Action for Housing member to attend the Housing Allocation Committee meetings. Even
if it is just in an observer’s capacity.

8. Construct or convert premises for a ‘halfway house’ for single homeless individuals. These
accommodations should be on a temporary basis and until proper government accommodations
are made available. Single parents to be given bigger premises according to the number of
children involved, as per Social Services requirements.

9. Change the Housing waiting list criteria to be used when considering applications from previous
property owners. A more flexible approach to those who had to sell because of serious and
genuine reasons such as divorce and separation is needed. Unless they made a substantial
amount of money that could enable the affected party to purchase a dwelling at market price,
he/she must be allowed to be on the government housing list so that they may be eligible to
partake of the so called low-cost housing scheme.

10. Individuals who have separated/divorced and have given away their property to their ex-partners
and who are placed on the housing waiting list should be given the necessary number of rooms for
them to enjoy the company of their child or children, as per Social Services requirements.

11. Housing should introduce a higher rental payment for higher earners living in government rental
accommodation. This would be an alternative to means-testing.

12. The Housing department facilities and overall customer care needs to improve. Members of the
public who attend the counters at the Housing department need more privacy than is afforded
at the moment. More Housing officers should be available to individuals who seek help or advice.

Online chats should be an option, especially for those with accessibility issues.

13. The government needs to convene a Housing Advisory Council to discuss and submit proposals
on how to address Gibraltar’s housing problems.

14. A realistic, holistic and cost effective urbanisation plan for the upper town and other parts of the
old city which would allow residents (not property magnates) to buy properties for personal
home ownership. These vacant properties to be sold at affordable prices and with certain
attached conditions with regards to timelines for refurbishment and final occupation.

15. Property owners should not be allowed to maintain their properties vacant for an indefinite
period of time. The government must stipulate a reasonable period of time for landlords to make
good use of their properties. Should this not happen the government should re-possess the said

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