MADRID – The number of cases of squatted houses in Spain has increased by 18% to 13,389 cases by September 2021. Catalonia continues to suffer from no fewer than 5,689 cases of squatting. That accounts for 42% of the total.
This is evident from data provided by the Ministry of the Interior. The figure of squatting in Catalonia quadruples that of the Community of Madrid (1,282 cases) and almost three times that of Andalucia (1,994 cases).
The upward trend of squatting in homes
Official statistics, reported by Europa Press, confirm the upward trend of this phenomenon over the past year. The trend coincided with the September 2020 instructions from the Attorney General and the Department of the Interior to deal with burglary and squatting.
The figures on this have been kept since 2015. In that year there were 10,376 illegal occupancies in Spain, of which 3,950 in Catalonia. That was 38% of the total, four points less than now.
In 2020, the last year with definitive figures, this region had 6,647 cases of squatting, a 68% increase in five years. In 2015, Madrid had a total of 1,630 illegal occupations of homes. That was a decrease of 18% compared to 2020. In Andalucia, squatters occupied 2,060 houses (+15.5%). In Spain as a whole, the number of cases increased in five years from 10,376 to 14,792 (+42%).
However, the squatting in Spain does not stop. New sad stories are constantly appearing in the media. Homeowners tell having to spend thousands of pounds in their efforts to evict the squatters. Then, if they succeed in doing so after a long road full of legal obstacles, the damage the squatters – known as ‘okupas’ in Spanish – have inflicted on their home is often significant.
What to do if your home is occupied?
As soon as you notice that people are illegally staying in your house, call the police right away and seek legal help. Do not immediately cut off utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water. Although that might sound contradictory, it would mean you are in violation. Via the ‘Alert Cops’ app of the Spanish National Police and the Guardia Civil, you can immediately report a home robbery.
Measures against evictions are counterproductive
The ONAO (National Organisation for Squatting Victims) points out “the state has taken measures to paralyse evictions. These measures then lead to the creation of an area of impunity. In this margin, criminals and mafias have an ideal environment to conduct business and seize other people’s property for their purposes.”