Every day two houses are squatted in the Balearic Islands

Every day, two houses are squatted in the Balearic Islands. Squatting skyrocketed in the second year of the pandemic. According to statistics from the state attorney general’s office and the interior ministry, a a total of 407 squats were recorded in the Balearic Islands until September 2021, an increase of 73.9% compared to the same period last year.

This is the biggest percentage increase in Spain, where the average has increased by 18%, a figure far removed from the statistics for the Balearic Islands. For example, in Catalonia the increase was 9% and in Extremadura 8% over the same period.

For reference, Catalonia is the community with the highest number of squatted houses. Over the past five years, home invasions there increased by 68%, a figure lower than that of the Balearic Islands in a single year.

The only two communities with percentages similar to those of the Balearic Islands are Murcia (69.6%) and Castile-León (62.6%). The increase in numbers is most likely caused by the Covid pandemic. The health situation led to a serious economic crisis in 2020, with a drop in GDP of more than 17% and thousands of workers surviving thanks to ERTE.

Most of these squats are in private homesbut public administrations also had squats in certain buildings.

In the case of Ibavi, for example, action was taken against 120 families who squatted many apartments owned by Ibavi. Thus, 62 apartments have already been recovered, either by police intervention, or by court order, or by abandoning the accommodation under the threat of a complaint.

There are still 58 squatted apartments on which there is a lawsuit in the courts. The head of Ibavi, Cristina Ballester assured that the government acts against those who abuse their situation. She recalled that these actions aim to recover public property squatted by people who, in many cases, are part of squatted mafias. Police even found marijuana plants in some of these homes when they finally got inside. “Families who have real housing problems are sought out with the help of social services,” she insists.

The head of Ibavi said that part of this problem came from the 2011-2015 legislature, with the arrival of José Ramón Bauzá in government and with Gabriel Company as Minister of Public Works. Amid the economic and housing crisis, the government agreed to no evictions, which Ballester said might help disadvantaged people, but increased thuggery behavior in others.