SPANISH banks that own empty properties are part of the problem with illegal squatting in communities, claims a report.
Their poor communication and lack of involvement with issues such as vandalism and theft of neighbour’s electricity and water supplies was also highlighted.
Property administrators are now calling for a simplified process to reduce squatting, as more than 60% have suffered from illegal occupation.
One in three have also had to endure neighbourhood conflicts, arising from issues with squatters.
A special report called ‘Illegal Occupation and Housing for Tourist Use’ has been produced by the General Council of the Associations of Property Administrators of Spain (CGCAFE) and insurance company Mutua de Propietarios.
Rafael del Olmo, secretary of CGCAFE, points the finger of blame towards banks that own empty properties.
He claims, “the problem must be confined, above all, to housing [that] banking entities own.”
Part of a property administrator’s role is to inform owners of illegal occupation, but if the owner is a bank with a large portfolio, communication with them can be quite complicated.
Hinting that banks should better protect empty homes, he admitted, “In specific cases where there have been evictions in Seville, the bank told us it was going to put armoured doors and other anti-occupation measures in place.”
Squat.net, a website founded in 1997 just for squatters, highlighted on August 28 the fact that very few illegally-occupied properties are privately-owned.
They said, “according to the National Police and the Guardia Civil, with data from 2017, of the 4,000 squatted homes in Madrid, only 600 were private [meaning] only one in 5,000 privately-owned homes was squatted – the rest were mainly owned by banks and public companies.”
Courts come under fire from the CGCAFE report too, with new legislation in 2018 hardly being executed and delays of months causing heartache to owners and neighbours, alike.
A loophole was also found where squatters could pay towards community fees “in good faith”, thus having a “verbal agreement” of tenancy allowing occupation.