Lisbeth and Jørn Hokholt are siblings from Norway whose parents built a house in Caleta de Vélez at the end of the 1960s. They have spent their holidays in the house since they were children and as adults they have continued to come with their own children and more recently, grandchildren.
Casa Elsa was a paradise for the family from Oslo, who would come to the Axarquía at least once a year to relax. However, for the last year the house has been occupied by squatters; a number of families with young children.
It was the Hokholt's neighbours who first alerted the family to the situation and three days later Lisbeth and Jørn flew from Norway to Malaga.
They were joined by Norwegian television company NRK, who were filming a documentary about squatters in Spain as there are other Norwegians in the same situation.
"It's having huge repercussions in Norway. The estate agents who work with Norwegians are seeing a huge fall in clients who don't want to run the risk of having squatters in their homes," said the family's lawyer, Eduardo López-Chicheri.
The case was due to go to court in Vélez-Málaga last Thursday. However, it was postponed until November as the squatters hadn't been allocated a lawyer.
"This is a shocking situation. To start with, the National Police, to whom the situation was first reported, failed to go to the house until we went in December, three months later," the lawyer explained.
"The officers told us that the squatters were known to them, that they were violent and that it would be better not to confront them," he added.
It was then when the lawyer first acted on behalf of the Hokholts. However, the case was rejected by the judge who said that it hadn't been made clear that the house was a second residence.
A second attempt was made by López-Chicheri, but this time it was delayed due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. "Following the delay until November, I have written again to the court asking for an eviction order to be issued, in accordance with the latest instructions from the public prosecutor."
Lisbeth and Jørn have been unable to travel due to the pandemic. "They are very stressed. They find it inconceivable that a situation like this could occur in a European country," said López-Chicheri.
The siblings are still paying all the bills and fear the house has been "completely destroyed".
"From what we could see from the outside in December, there was already a lot of damage. The squatters say that they will only leave with a court order," explained the lawyer, "I don't want to imagine what it will be like when we get it back," he concluded.