Country Report: Housing Last updated: 22/05/23


The three-phase reception and integration process is available for all persons who ask for asylum, even in the case they are granted with international or subsidiary protection during the 18-month period. In case a person receives a negative response during the process, usually the person is allowed to complete at least the first period within the reception phase. In any case, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration must give permission for the rejected applicant to continue the on-going phase and the following ones, also accessing financial support foreseen within the second and third phases. It should however be noted that usually applicants receive their asylum decision after 1 year or more from the moment of the asylum claim.

Therefore, beneficiaries follow the same process as described in Reception Conditions: Criteria and Restrictions. They are hosted within the asylum reception centres during the first 6 months. The typologies of reception places vary depending on the institution or entity that manages it: the system relies on places within big reception centres and apartments, some reception places are in urban neighbourhoods while other are located in rural areas. The different types of available accommodation also differ from the point of view of provided services and spaces.

After this first phase of accommodation inside the reception system, beneficiaries are granted financial support to help them pay rent in private accommodation. Due to the rigidity which characterises the Spanish three-phase reception process, they must complete their stay inside the reception places in order to have access to the following foreseen financial support for private housing, also because the participation to initial integration activities developed during the first reception phase is considered is well evaluated and relevant at the time of asking for other financial support available in the last 2 phases.

This factor obviously causes obstacles for those beneficiaries that can either pay their own housing since the beginning or for those who have relatives or personal contacts that can host them. In case they decide to go and live by themselves, they would be renouncing to the entire assistance and support foreseen under the reception system.

The lack of social housing alternatives, the insufficient financial support allocated for rent expenses, high requirements (i.e. payslips, high quantities for deposit, etc.) and criteria in rental contracts and discrimination exposes many beneficiaries of protection to economic vulnerability and in some cases leads to destitution.[1] Although many NGOs who work with refugees and asylum seekers during the first phase try to mediate between refugees and house holders at the time they start looking for private housing, there is not a specialised agency or intermediate service for helping beneficiaries finding a home. Even in cases in which NGOs act as intermediaries, asylum seekers face serious discrimination in renting apartments. Some of them face homelessness and are accommodated in homeless shelters.[2] The NGO CEAR Euskadi denounced the discrimination that asylum seekers face in renting flats, and that 7 out of 10 real estate-agencies admit to implement explicit forms of discrimination, while the other 3 apply more subtle forms of it.[3]

Such challenges continue also in 2022. The lack of houses for rent and high prices in certain cities (i.e. Zaragoza) are also an impediment to the integration of refugees.[4] Similarly, the lack of sufficient public housing for persons at risk of exclusion has been described as another barrier that asylum seekers and refugees face in Spain.[5] The lack of private and public housing options makes refugees dependent to the asylum reception system while limiting their opportunities to have an independent life.[6]

A report launched by the NGOs Provivienda and Andalucía Acoge underlines the obstacles and the discrimination that racialised persons face in accessing housing. It also indicates that access to housing in Spain is the field in which persons face more racial discrimination.[7]

Following the Government’s announcement of an upcoming law on the right to a state-sponsored house, around 50 stakeholders among NGOs, trade unions, and other groups joined to promote the “Initiative for a Law guaranteeing the Right to Housing”.[8] In February 2022, the law was approved by the Government and it has to undergo the parliamentary procedure to be approved.[9]  The parliamentary procedure is still ongoing at the time of writing.

In March 2021, the Autonomous Community of Valencia created the Commission of Migration and Housing, with the aim of studying the problems faced by persons in situation of vulnerability, especially migrant and racialized population, to access housing in the Comunitat Valenciana.[10] A report published in November 2022 by the same Commission, together with the organisation València Acull and the Observatorio del Hábitat y la Segregación Urbana (OHSU) underlines that the 86% of migrants in the Autonomous Community of Valencia faces problems in accessing a decent house, mainly due to rent prices and the bureaucratic problems in the registration of the residency.[11

A report published by the Municipality of Barcelona in November 2021 brought to light the problem of “property racism”; among the report’s findings, resulted that as 9 out of 10 agencies admit to deny renting houses to persons due to ethnic discrimination.[12]

Following a visit carried out in Spain, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Government to improve the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers, especially in relation to accessing social rights, including housing and health.[13]

In occasion of the 2023 International day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the organisation Accem warned about the obstacles that migrants and asylum seekers face in renting an apartment.[14]




[1] Provivienda, ‘Una casa como refugio: itinerarios residenciales de las personas solicitantes de protección internacional en Madrid y Vigo’, 28 October 2019, available in Spanish at: https://cutt.ly/BtR8WUN.

[2] El País, ‘La red de albergues de Madrid deja en la calle a familias con niños’, 18 November 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2PAw8Nb; Público, ‘Varios solicitantes de asilo denuncian que España les deja fuera del sistema de acogida’, 16 May 2018, available in Spanish at: https://bit.ly/2AUvKQr.

[3] Cadena Ser, ‘Siete de cada diez inmobiliarias admiten implementar formas explicitas de discriminación’, 31 October 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3PF63H3

[4] Heraldo, ‘La falta de vivienda de alquiler en Aragón frena la integración de los refugiados de Ucrania y de otros países’, 31 July 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3wiImh6.

[5] Diario de Navarra, ‘Refugiados que no encuentran casa en Navarra’, 28 September 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3HNoOYK.

[6] La Gaceta de Salamanca, ‘Las reticencias a alquilarles un piso atan a los refugiados a los centros de acogida’, 25 September 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3j4Jlxo.

[7] Provivienda, Andalucía Acoge, ‘Discriminación racial en el ámbito de la vivienda y los asentamientos informales’, March 2022, edited by the Ministerio de Igualdad, available at: https://bit.ly/3ceNuMh

[8] UGT, UGT promueve la Iniciativa por una ley que garantice el derecho a la vivienda, 17 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3sCBTKG; Afectados por la Hipoteca, Manifiesto de la Iniciativa por una Ley que garantice el Derecho a la Vivienda, 18 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/2XPGxK7.

[9] Presidencia del Gobierno, ‘El Gobierno aprueba la Ley por el Derecho a la Vivienda’, 1 February 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3J2bayz.

[10] El Periòdic, La Comunitat estudia los problemas de acceso a la vivienda de la población migrante y racializada, 16 March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3j9OZw0.

[11] Levante, ‘El 86 % de los migrantes tiene problemas para acceder a una vivienda digna’, 2 November 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3XCgUqv.

[12] Ajuntament de Barcelona, Direcció de Serveis de Drets de Ciutadania, ‘Discriminació a la carta Exclusió per motius ètnics del mercat de lloguer d’habitatge de Barcelona’, November 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3sHVds7.

[13] Council of Europe, ‘Spain should advance social rights, better guarantee freedoms of expression and assembly and improve human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants’, 29 November 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3GgzJbF.

[14] Europa Press, ‘Accem advierte de las “trabas” que encuentran los migrantes y refugiados para alquilar una casa’, 21 March 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3UacKVG.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation