23 Nov, 2023 @ 12:09
2 mins read

Outrage as woman, 78, faces being kicked out of her home in Spain ‘over an €88 debt’: Landlord refuses offer from Brit pianist James Rhodes to pay her rent for two years

James Rhodes and Blanca evicted from Barcelona apartment

BRITISH pianist James Rhodes has offered to pay an elderly woman’s rent for two years after an €88 debt left her at risk of homelessness. 

The 78-year-old woman, Blanca, has lived in her Barcelona flat for over 50 years. 

Now, she is facing homelessness as her landlord threatens to kick her out over unpaid repairs, which she was unaware of. 

The landlord went to court and was granted the eviction order for this Wednesday, November 22. 

However, thanks to a public appeal, the order has been put back to December 20 and the landlord has agreed to rent the property at market price. 

British musician, Rhodes, has contacted the landlord’s lawyers offering to pay the woman’s rent for the next two years. 

British pianist James Rhodes has offered to pay the lady’s rent for two years. Photo: via Cordon Press, Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto

His offer was rejected by the landlord’s legal team, who claim the issue has been ongoing for six years. 

Rhodes told 20 Minutos: “It seems incredible to me that something like this could happen in civilised society.”

The pianist added that he hopes ‘public pressure’ will help to resolve the case. 

Much of this pressure comes from a local housing association, Resistim al Gòtic (Gothic Quarter Resistance).

Speaking about the delayed eviction, they said: “It’s a victory for the people.” 

It is believed the landlord wanted to evict the woman from the popular Gothic Quarter in order to convert the property into a holiday rental. 

The parties have just 15 days to negotiate a new rental contract and the landlord has reportedly asked the elderly tenant for €1200 a month. 

According to Resistim al Gòtic, the woman has rejected the offer as she has spent the last 50 years paying just €280. 

Blanca has lived in her Gothic Quarter flat for 50 years.

The landlord, renting out tourist properties, took the woman to court over an €88 debt, which has now risen to €177. 

Spokesperson for Resistim al Gòtic, Daniel Pardo, has called the case ‘especially unjust’ as the woman was renting under an old contract. 

He claims the owner only wants to evict the 78-year-old in order to earn more money. 

He told 20 Minutos: “He did some work on the apartment, which was poorly done, and he gave Blanca a bill for 88 euros, but she didn’t know.”

Instead of asking his tenant for the cash, the landlord went directly to the court to ask for her eviction. 

Currently, the case is still being negotiated by local council mediators. 

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Yzabelle Bostyn

After spending much of her childhood in Andalucia and adulthood between Barcelona and Latin America, Yzabelle has settled in the Costa del Sol to put her NCTJ & Journalism Masters to good use. She is particularly interested in travel, vegan food and has been leading the Olive Press Nolotil campaign. Have a story? email yzabelle@theolivepress.es

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