The abandoned hotel complex / SUR

Twenty-six squatters evicted from Benalmádena hotel complex abandoned since 2008

Mayor Víctor Navas said the evictions were necessary given the health and environmental risks the building poses. Local residents had also appealed to the town hall to clear the area

IVAN GELIBTER / JUAN CANO

The last squatters living in the abandoned Los Tres Pintores hotel complex, Benalmádena, were evicted by police on 13 January following a court order.

Mayor Víctor Navas said the evictions were necessary given the health and environmental risks the building poses. Local residents had also appealed to the town hall to clear the area.

Some 26 people were removed from the hotel in the latest action. Previous actions to remove rubbish, provide social services and care to residents and to close the hotel had cost the local council 60,000 euros, Navas said.

Although the hotel is privately owned, the council compiled a series of risk reports about the property and presented them to the courts in order to gain permission to undertake the eviction. The owners had failed to comply with an earlier order to clear, clean and secure the building which was abandoned in 2008.

"All the conscientious work on the part of the council has made it possible to present a file before the court that facilitated the eviction and to ensure it took place legally," Navas added on 13 January.

Prior to the eviction, the council coordinated with the Red Cross to ensure health services, housing and food for residents of the hotel for the next six months, along with resources to help them find employment.

"In addition to guaranteeing and restoring health and safety in the environment, thanks to this plan we are offering a social response to the situation of extreme vulnerability the residents face," he added.

The National Police, Local Police, firefighters, social services and medics participated in the eviction. Residents are being tested for Covid-19, hepatitis and AIDS. Those who test positive for Covid will be housed in apartments rented by the Red Cross.