at the beginning of the year, according to official statistics, about 87 million homes in Spain have been illegally occupied. And this despite the fact that not all cases are known, some owners are afraid to report the offence. How do these numbers have increased over the time of a pandemic, it is impossible to say. Because the illegals were taking over, even those who because of coronavirus in the hospital or moved to their relatives.
One such egregious case occurred, for example, in Lugo in Galicia in North West Spain. An old couple moved to live with my son, and when three days later, their granddaughter came to collect them for some things, the apartment was already inhabited by “invaders”. They barricaded themselves inside, and even called the police to protect them from the rightful owners. Squatters were arrested only when they left the apartment, because the police in Spain does not have the right to enter a home, even if required by the owner. Because the law is the one who is inside the room (even if it is a thief), has more rights to it than the owner, standing on the other side of the door. However, exactly as long as the offender does not step over the threshold. Here’s a legal case.
it is Worth noting that the problem with illegal “invasive” has been around for many years. Its roots stretch to the beginning of 2000-ies, when Spain was marked by a construction boom. Houses grew by leaps and bounds, and the banks willingly gave out credits for purchase of apartments. All this ended in 2008 when the economic crisis struck. Many Spaniards lost their jobs and unable to pay the interest on the mortgage. Tens of thousands of people were evicted from their apartments, which became the property of banks and various funds. However, many refused to leave the shelter, which yesterday was their property, which led to a mass of litigation. Then the law was on the side of the former owners.
the fact that, according to article 47 of the Constitution, “all Spaniards have the right to decent and adequate housing”. Besides Spain in 1976 signed the international Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, according to which you cannot evict a person without providing him with alternative accommodation.
Government can’t do this for the simple reason that there are virtually no public housing stock. The human right to housing in Spain, as acknowledged by the UN a few years ago, completely depends on its financial capacity. Young Spaniards or live with their parents, or earn enough to get a mortgage or rent an apartment.
And illegally occupied housing, or those who formerly lived on a legal basis, but have been unable to pay the loan or rent (after a sharp increase in the number of unemployed because of the pandemic, the number of such people is clearly going to increase), or migrants who have illegally entered the country.
Although in Spain seven years ago was the reform of the law on lease of urban housing, limiting the term of the contract to three years and allowing the landlord not to renew it, the problem is not solved. Because the Constitution requires every Spaniard decent housing. When children have problem tenants, evict them is almost impossible. However, if such tenant problems to the owner are not created, the parties usually find a way to resolve the issue (banks can restructure the debt, and private owners to negotiate an acceptable payment or deferral). Another thing – illegal immigrants.
to Correct the situation have recently adopted law on eviction. In order to get back his property, the owner must submit a claim for consideration which is given for about a month (though usually much more). It is worth noting that we are talking about private persons and state institutions, governing social housing, not about organizations or banks owning lots of vacant apartments and houses (they know about the issue can only a few months).
But at the same time in Spain, the squatters were given the opportunity to register in the town where they settled, in order to obtain unemployment benefits, medical aid.
the Homeowners were dissatisfied with the current situation. They criticize the authorities of the Iberian Kingdom for their passive attitude to the problem. According to them, the occupiers should be evicted in 24 hours after the complaint, not to consider this issue in court. Recently in the town of Portugalete, near Bilbao, the locals were forced on their own to expel illegal immigrants from the occupied empty houses. And this despite the fact that Spain’s Penal code includes several articles providing for prison term for breaking and entering, and seizure of property against the will of the owner.