Up until July, Spain had 9,000 reports of squatting

by Lorraine Williamson
reports of squatting


There were nearly 9,000 reports of squatting incidents in Spain between January and July this year. Almost half of them in Catalonia, according to data from Spain’s Interior Ministry.  

The exact number of reports of squatting recorded by state security forces and corps during this period was 8,857.  A decrease of 5.4% compared to the same period last year.  

Of these, 3,770, or 42%, took place in Catalonia. Within the region, the province of Barcelona leads with 2,838 cases. Catalonia is followed by Andalucia, with 1,276 (14% of the total). 402 reports took place in the province of Seville, followed by Málaga with 225 cases and Cadiz with 208. 

In the Valencian Community, 1,093 complaints were filed (12%): 567 in Valencia, 367 in Alicante and 159 in Castellón. In fourth place was the Madrid region (813, 9.1%), followed by Castilla-La Mancha (387, 4.3%), Murcia (338, 3.8%) and the Canary Islands (250, 2.8%). La Rioja had 234 cases. There were 51 in Navarre, 44 in Cantabria and 31 in Asturias. 

Here there was the least squatting, if any! 

There were 3 cases in Soria and Zamora, 5 in Melilla, 6 in Ourense and 7 in Ceuta. Teruel is the only province where no squatting was reported in the first half of the year. 


The vast majority of cases involve the appropriation of vacant or bank-owned properties, rather than burglary of homes. Nor does the Home Office distinguish in its statistics between housebreaking – when an ordinary dwelling is squatted – and unlawful occupation – the squatting of bank-owned or vacant dwellings. 

Empty flats and economic crisis 

The Spanish government attributes “the increase in this type of crime in recent years” to the “convergence of several factors”. Firstly, that there is a ‘large number of empty flats’ and also ‘people losing their homes due to debt or job loss due to the economic situation resulting from the confluence of the Covid health crisis, the crisis of logistics and international production’. Conditions have also been exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine, and its ‘serious impact on the price of energy and basic foodstuffs’. 

Measures against squatting 

To combat the criminal phenomenon of squatting, the interior points out that the state security secretary has drawn up a protocol for state security forces and corps in 2020. The Attorney General, the highest official in the Prosecutor’s Office, also has an instruction that serves as a guide in court proceedings. 

Read here what you can do if your house is squatted. 

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