The knowledge of the problem with squatters in Spain is spreading abroad and some foreigners have already expressed that they will not go ahead with their plan to invest in a property in Spain. It's a bad strategy to try to hide and diminish the problem. Otherwise one deals with issues or it risk blowing up in one's face.
There has been a problem with squatters in Spain for years. It doesn't matter which government that has been in power, they just don't seem to have dealt with the situation.
Spanish's media have published a lot about the squatters during the last few years. The absurd situation with squatters in Spain has recently gained attention in media abroad too.
There has been lots of media exposure in Spain when squatters went in and took over the home of a 94 years old Spanish lady when she left for a few days to visit her relatives.
Huge media exposure among foreigners
A case showing the trouble property owners from Norway are facing with squatters in Spain has gained huge media attention abroad, and especially in Scandinavia. The house of the Norwegians is located in the province of Málaga and was built by their parents in the 60's.
The case with the Norwegians shows that lots of things doesn't seem to function in Spain. Their house was taken over by squatters by the end of the summer of 2019. They went to Spain immediately when they received information from their neighbours that a family with children had moved into and taken over their house. It took three months until the Police went to the house. Their lawyer in Spain made a “Denuncia”. The case has already been up in the court in Málaga twice, but the judge has declined it. First the Judge declined the request giving the reason that documents were missing. During the second session in court the Judge declined the request of an express eviction because the house is their holiday home and not their residential home. The new legislation that passed the Spanish parliament in 2018 about express eviction doesn't seem to work in reality.
The case was due to come up in court in Málaga again on 17 September 2020, but it has been postponed. When the lawyer of the Norwegians turned up in court on 17 September, then it was communicated that the court case has been postponed until 12 November, due to the workload of the court. It's completely out of order that the court didn't communicated in advanced that the session in court had been postponed. It was just pure luck that the Norwegians had cancelled their journey to Spain to attend the court session in Málaga, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions in Norway, which the court was unaware of.
New instructions regarding eviction of squatters
Spain's Chief Public Prosecutor (La Fiscalia General de Estado), Dolores Delgado, has recently been saying that there's no problem with the law. The Chief Public Prosecutor has issued new instructions regarding eviction of squatters (Instruction no 1/2020, de 15 de septiembre), which was signed by the Secretary of State for Security (El secretario de Estado de Seguridad), Rafael Pérez, on 17 September 2020.
The Police get the instruction to write better police reports. They have to inspect the location and include in the police report and any other crimes, e.g. theft of electricity and water. Furthermore they should talk to neighbours and other witnesses, besides taking photos and videos of broken doors, windows, etc.
This is already regarded as the duty of the Police in many other countries. One can wonder why the policemen in Spain have not been working like this long time ago.
Protection of ownership of properties and land is basic in civilised countries. The situation with squatter in Spain and how the law enforcement authorities work, have made Spain stand out like an uncivilised country.
The Norwegian family has finally got their house back after being vandalized by squatters during 13 months. It was not the new instruction the Ministry of the Interior issued on 17 September 2020 that help the family to get the squatters out of their holiday home. Instead it was the squatters who chose to abandon the house before the postponed hearing was going to take place in the court in Málaga on 12 November 2020. The squatters possibly left soon after their growth of cannabis had been reaped.
It was the neighbour of the Norwegian family in Spain that notified them on 29 September 2020 that the squatters seemed to have abandoned their house. The family passed on this information to their lawyer in Spain, who communicated this to the court on 30 September 2020. Even if the squatters had abandoned the house and left it open and in a terrible state, the court needed a police report showing that the squatters really had left the house. Due to the family's lawyer, it was first on 13 October 2020 when the Police sealed off the house. The Norwegian family has been informed by their neighbours that the squatters emptied the house of inventories and furniture during these two long weeks. It was first on 16 October 2020 when the family legally got back the possession of their own house. At the same time they were informed that the legal procedure was going to change into a criminal case due to the damages.
We have obtained permission from the Norwegian family and the photographers to publish the photos in this article. The following four slide shows contain 32 photos in total showing how the house looked like before the squatters arrived until their wreckage of the house.
Before the squatters
The nice little well kept house has belonged to the same Norwegian family since it was built in the 60's.
The squattering has begun
It didn't take long for the squatters to start growing cannabis and begun to make a mess around the house. The Administration of the community informed the family on 16 September 2019 that squatters had got into their house and that a neighbour had called the Police immediately. Despite the fact that the squatters must have broken into the house, the Police did not take any action since they did not know whether or not those people in the house had authorization from the owners of the home to be there.
Watch out for these Squatters in your neighbourhood. Their trademark is "Cristian y Yuli", which was written at different locations on the walls before they left. Only Registered users can see what they look like.
The cannabis production of the squatters
It seems to be quite common in Spain these days that squatters are "contracted" to grow big quantity of cannabis in the properties where they're squattering. By using squatters to grow cannabis the drug dealers do not have to smuggle the drugs into the country, which lowers both their risk and the costs. The ones taking on the biggest risk is the squatters, but since the law enforcement authorities in Spain seem to handle squatters with care, especially if they have under-aged children, then the risk is in reality very limited.
Usually the squatters are stealing both electricity and water. By growing the drugs indoors the production is hidden and the Police need a warrant to get in. They just need a good lightening system, but with access to electricity for free, then there're hardly no costs involved at all.
The drug dealers, as the squatters collaborate with, seem to provide them with the necessary knowledge, seeds, lighting. etc. It might not just be the knowledge to grow drugs that the drug dealers provide the squatters with. By providing the squatters with information how to deal with the Police and the courts, then they can ensure that they can continue to grow the drugs until it's time to harvest.
The drug dealing business is huge in southern Spain where lots of drugs are landed for further distribution within the European Union. It's believed that some policemen, especially within Policia National, are bought by the drug dealers and therefore might not do a proper job.
It seems that the courts in Spain on many occasions are biased towards the Spanish authorities. We've seen sentences where judges are trying to twist things around to engulf when the Spanish authorities are not doing a proper job. Unfortunately, then the Police can also get away with poor performance as well as it facilitates corruption.
The squatters abandoned the house
The family expected that the squatters had created lots of damages, but the destruction was outrageous and much worse then anyone could have expected.
The photos show that the damages are considerable. The costs have not been estimated yet. The insurance company where the family has got their insurance is looking into it. Regardless if the insurance company will compensate for all the damages or not, the compensation will never be able to offset the suffering the family has had to go through.
How is it possible that people can break in to someone else property and destroy and steal without the Police taking any action immediately?
Buying a property is for most people the biggest investment decision. One really needs to think through if one should invest in a country where ownership of properties are not protected and one risk having the property destroyed by squatters meanwhile the law enforcement authorities just are letting time go by.
Who wants to invest in a property in Spain where the dream easily can turn into a costly nightmare?
- www.bbc.com - Squatters in Spanish city of Barcelona fight police
- www.theolivepress.es - How effective is the legislation against squatters in Spain
- english.elpais.com - Angry crowd forces squatters out of elderly lady’s home in Basque Country
- www.theolivepress.es - Professional squatters have found new means of bypassing new laws and everyone is passing the buck
- elpais.com - Desalojada por unos okupas después de 94 años
- www.theolivepress.es - Squatters who broke into 94 year old womans house while she visited her ill sister forced out after hundreds of angry neighbours descend on property in northern Spain
- www.euroweeklynews.com - One of Costa del Sol Spain’s Wealthiest Communities Faces Problem with 600 Squatters during Lockdown
- www.nrk.no - Familien prøver å gjenvinne sitt okkuperte feriehus – har tapt to ganger i spansk rett
- www.elespanol.com - La "pesadilla" de los extranjeros como Jørn, noruego: compra una casa en España y la okupan
- www.expressen.se - Ockupanterna tog över deras hus på solkusten
- www.surinenglish.com - Fear of squatters showing signs of hitting sales of Costa properties to foreign buyers
- www.surinenglish.com - Experts blame mafia-style groups for the increase in squatters
- www.sydkusten.es - Nytt protokoll för vräkning av ockupanter
- www.theolivepress.es - Squatters run riot on costa del sol as organised gangs hand over keys to top properties
- www.diariosur.es - Una familia noruega lleva un año tratando de desalojar a los okupas de su chalet en Caleta de Vélez
- www.sydkusten.es - Husockupanter ute efter ett år
- www.telecinco.es - Un reportaje de la televisión noruega sobre la okupación en España espanta a los compradores
- www.nrk.no - Familien Hokholt har fått sitt okkuperte feriehus tilbake: – Det er verre enn vi fryktet
- www.elespanol.com - La factura de 70.000€ tras la okupación de la casa Jørn en Málaga: 13 meses de robos y desperfectos
- Código Penal (Criminal Law)
- Ley 1/2000, de 7 de enero, de Enjuiciamiento Civil
- Ley 5/2018, de 11 de junio, de modificación de la Ley 1/2000, de 7 de enero, de Enjuiciamiento Civil, en relación a la ocupación ilegal de viviendas
- Fiscalía General del Estado: Instruction no 1/2020, de 15 de septiembre 2020
- Ministry of the Interior issues instructions how to deal with squatters
- Squatters within the community
- www.20minutos.es - Este es el nuevo perfil del okupa en España
- elpais.com - La Fiscalía anuncia una nueva instrucción para hacer frente a la okupación
- www.lamoncloa.gob.es - Interior dota a las Fuerzas de Seguridad del Estado de un protocolo de actuación que mejora su respuesta ante las ocupaciones
- www.lne.es - La Policía realizará atestados más completos para agilizar los desalojos de okupas
- www.elmundo.es - Interior elimina el plazo de 48 horas para desalojar a los okupas y dota a los agentes de un nuevo protocolo
- www.lavanguardia.com - Okupan la casa de una familia tras irse dos días fuera