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The Vigorous New Housing Measures Demanded by PP and Podemos 

If PP’s proposal goes ahead, police will be able to force entry and take back the “occupied” property within 12-24 hours, as opposed to waiting several months to gain access. 

The political party PP accuses Sánchez of “not respecting private property” after changing the law and calling for harsher measures to evict squatters. The push to regulate rental prices continues to be the main petition of PP. 

Podemos has also the government to fulfil the agreement signed in the autumn by Sánchez himself and Pablo Iglesias in which they committed themselves to take measures to put an end to abusive rises in certain areas.

Sources from Podemos explain that these measures would involve establishing a framework that would allow local councils to regulate rental prices. Regarding a possible legal clash, these sources consider that the unconstitutionality of the proposal is not in question, but they do believe that legal certainty must be given to the Autonomous Communities. 

From there, and with this basic regulatory framework, it would be up to the local councils to establish rates and exceptions to limit prices. And they stress: it would be a mechanism for certain areas, for a limited time and always with the final say of the town councils.

PP Leader Pablo Casados

 

PP’s “Anti-Okupa” Law

The Popular Party’s proposal would allow the police to evict a home within 12 to 24 hours without having to wait months. This is one of the star measures that the Popular Party is contemplating in the draft organic law that it has presented to the Congress registry.

This anti-occupation law modifies several laws such as the Penal Code itself to introduce a prison sentence for the crime of usurpation and establishes, according to its promoters, a clear definition of what an illegal occupation is: “the possession or enjoyment of someone else’s property, without payment of rent or reason of right, which is not covered by the mere liberality or tolerance of the owner or real possessor”. 

 

Furthermore, the occupied property may not be considered a domicile or dwelling so it cannot be equated with a purchased or rented dwelling. The regulation also empowers residents’ associations to adopt measures – such as boarding up doors and windows – to prevent the occupation of empty dwellings in the property. 

The PP justifies this initiative because of what it sees as a growing problem that is being used by mafias as a source of income and can lead to tragedies such as the one that occurred in Badalona, where three people died as a result of a fire caused by squatters. 

If this law goes into effect, squatters could face prison sentences between one to three years, can be removed from the property within 24 hours, neighbours will be allowed to act against them, and NGO’s and charities that promote squatters rights won’t be able to receive any funding. 

 

Squatters Are on the Rise in Spain

Squatting in Spain is on the rise, with increasing impunity and even mafias that profit from the traditional anti-system movements and the most vulnerable people. According to Toni Miranda, president of the National Organisation of People Affected by Squatting (ONAO), an organisation said a year ago in response to the “unstoppable advance” in Spain of “this criminal phenomenon”.

Miranda has also claimed that the Government does not give real data on the increase of the squatting phenomenon but, according to ONAO’s estimates, there are 120,000 squats in Spain (both of banks and investment funds and private citizens) and a million people affected.

What is public is the number of complaints filed with the police for crimes of squatting and breaking and entering, and the growth is evident. In 2020, the Ministry of Interior registered 14,675 complaints about squatting which meant an average of 40 per day, 41% more than in 2015.

In our opinion, Spain needs to align itself with the majority of EU countries and tighten laws “to protect homeowners who have acquired homes through their own efforts over a lifetime in order to pass them on to their children or to provide them with a rental income to support them during their lifetime”.

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