News that an organised group of squatters had moved into an empty block of flats in Malaga’s Calle Ventura Rodríguez has given hope to more families with few or no financial resources.
Couples with young children, or with babies on the way, have turned up at the building in the hope that there would be room for them, but have been turned away. Under the organisation of PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca) formed to fight against evictions due to mortgage default, 17 family groups have been accommodated in the 14 apartments. Due to the unexpected demand the association has started a waiting list and plans to comb the city in search of new potential squats. These, explained PAH member Fali Doblas, must be uninhabited buildings that belong to banks, builders or public administrations.
In the case of Ventura Rodríguez, the building belongs to Bankinter since it was repossessed when the builders went bankrupt. On Wednesday bank sources confirmed that no action had been taken yet but that lawyers were studying the possible legal routes to take. The bank stressed, however, that it has halted all eviction procedures in mortgage default cases.
Legal experts point out that the proprietors have three options: two would mean legal action, either in civil or criminal proceedings, while a third would involve negotiation; the bank could agree to let the occupants stay in the building in exchange for rent.
In the case of this block, however, the bank points out that construction is not totally finished.
One of the organisers of the “squat”, Leticia, said that the families hoping to find an empty property are “desperate”.
Sandra, 26, is one of the people who asked PAH for help this week. She has two daughters aged four and two and a half months and the three of them currently live not far from the occupied building.
“We are in a rented flat but they are going to evict us next month because we can’t pay,” she explained.
“This is very well done, because there are a lot of people in need and these flats are closed,” she added.
While PAH attempts to help individual families, their real aim is to fight for collective solutions and a change in the law towards a fairer society, explained Leticia.
Pie de foto: Natalia and José clean the apartment they are now sharing with a flatmate in Ventura Rodríguez. :: C. M.