COVID-19 could be creating a squatters paradise as travel restrictions limit the ability of people to visit homes.
The number of properties lying empty in Spain could result in a surge in the number of squatters as thousands of homes lie empty across the country.
To tackle this, more needs to erase the scourge of illegal property ownership – because at the moment authorities seem to do diddly-squat.
In 2018, the Spanish government brought in a law that can reduce eviction time to 20 days, but in practice, this rarely happens.
Instead, owners find it near impossible to force out the intruders, with more than 83,000 properties reported to be illegally occupied in the middle of 2019, a year-on-year rise of nearly 6%.
Squatters are covered by certain rights of possession in law when properties are not lived in and owners must complain to police within 48 hours of discovering the okupas.
However, if they leave it until later owners may be forced to start long legal battles to remove them, like Tina Cackett, who told Olive Press her story of the squatters from hell.
Unlike the squatters, owners are left in an uncomfortable position. Either face violence and threats or squander thousands on legal bills to squish the squatters rights.