Squatters remain a major problem in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
problem squatters

Squatters are a big problem in Spain. Some Spanish regions have managed to reduce the number of squats in a year, but others are not getting this phenomenon under control. The mafia also sees profit in this illegal activity. 

House squatting has become a major concern for homeowners in Spain who do not live in their homes all year round. The Ministry of the Interior also endorses the problem of people moving into uninhabited premises without permission. Nevertheless, the number of squatters seems to have decreased considerably in a year’s time. 

To make this comparison, the Ministry compared the figures for January and June 2021 with the same months in 2022. Last year, 10,220 squatters were officially registered, which was 5.43% less than in the same months in 2021. 

Which Spanish regions have problems with squatters? 

Madrid and Andalucia have managed to significantly reduce this illegal phenomenon with 15.4% and 6.26% fewer squatters in 2022 compared to 2021, respectively. However, there are other regions, such as Valencia, Extremadura and Murcia, where in one year only more squatters have settled illegally in buildings. In Valencia, for example, the percentage of squatted homes increased by no less than 23% between the measured years. 

The places in Spain that have managed to reduce the number of squatters the most in a year are Ceuta and Melilla. The number here has decreased by 41.67% and 33.3% respectively. The Spanish Ministry qualifies these figures as these areas are a lot smaller with a lower population than, for example, in Madrid. 

Mafia earns thousands of euros in Catalonia through deals with landlords 

The problem of squatters is greatest in Catalonia. Given that there were just over 10,000 squatters across Spain last year, Catalonia records almost half the number in all of Spain with 4,341 squatted homes. In this region, mafia groups in particular are involved in squatting buildings and then collect thousands of euros by making deals with large landlords to ‘give back’ these homes. 

Also read: What can you do if there are squatters in your house in Spain?


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