October 26, 2020

Housing occupancy grew in the first semester despite confinement


Eviction of squatters in Valencia

Eviction of squatters in Valencia
German Knight

Housing occupations grew 5 percent in the first half of the year despite the three months of confinement due to the coronavirus, especially due to the increases registered in five autonomous regions: the Canary Islands, Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Galicia and Murcia.

This is clear from the Government’s response to the PP deputies Ana Belén Vázquez, Carlos Rojas and Isabel María Borrego, who were interested in the known facts of illegal occupation, that is, only those denounced, which were estimated at 7,450 between January and June this year compared to 7,093 in the same period of 2019.

The response, to which Efe has had access, also offers data for all of 2018 and 2019, in which a 19.7 percent increase, from 12,214 in the first year mentioned to 14,621 last year.

Already in this year, and with data from the first semester, a slowdown in occupations, but they continued to rise despite restrictions on mobility that were imposed during the state of alarm throughout Spain from mid-March to almost the end of June, when the de-escalated.

Five autonomous communities registered increases in this first semester, with Galicia in the lead in percentage increases, with an increase of 33.9 percent, ahead of Murcia (19.7%), Canarias (14.7%), Comunidad Valenciana (14.1%) and Catalonia (13.2%).

Too the autonomous city of Ceuta is placed on the upload list, which tripled the number of occupations of houses, going from 4 between January and June 2019 to 12 in the first half of this year. In the rest of the autonomies and in Melilla, this illegal action was reduced, including the Community of Madrid, with a decrease of 9.5 percent.

In absolute terms it was Catalonia the one that concentrated the largest number with 3,611, which represents more than half of the total national figure. Of these, 2,644 were produced in the province of Barcelona (about 200 more than a year earlier). Andalusia, with 1,183; Madrid, with 657; and Comunidad Valenciana, with 566, are the next at the top of the list of most occupations.

Due to this problem, the Attorney General’s Office issued in the middle of last month a instruction to expedite the evictions of squatters in cases of trespassing and usurpation. An instruction that clarified that the raid occurs with respect to the house and the second residence because they are places where their owner develops his private life and privacy, while the usurpation refers to real estate and homes that do not constitute the dwelling of anyone, is say uninhabited and empty.

The Ministry of the Interior has also taken action on the matter and published a instruction to improve the protocols of action of the security forces in cases of immediate evictions in the event of flagrant occupations and precautionary evictions in the rest of the encroachments of homes.

The Government’s response also provides data from the Ministry of Justice, provided by the General Council of the Judiciary, on the number of verbal possession trials for illegal occupation of homes during 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Thus, last year 4,017 cases of this type, 2,962 were resolved and there were 2,157 in process. Meanwhile, in the first quarter of this year, the cases entered reached 792, those resolved 717 and those still pending, 2,216.

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