Murcia will enlist locksmiths in the struggle against illegal squatting

Murcia will enlist locksmiths in the struggle against illegal squatting

The practice has seen a 20% rise this year

The Regional Government of Murcia is seeking partnerships with different professional associations in order to counteract and prevent the practice of illegal housing occupation, known as squatting. Today, it was announced that the Ministry of Development and Infrastructure will seek legal coverage for the locksmiths working in the region so that they will be able to verify whether the person asking to use their services is the legal property occupier.

Squatting has been a politically, socially and culturally contentious issue for a long time

The problem of illegal occupation has grown in the autonomous region of Murcia where it is said that there has been almost one case of squatting reported to the police every day this year. This represents an increase of 20% when compared to 2019.

The regional authorities are counting on the help of the locksmiths, whose assistance can be a useful tool in mitigating the illegal practice. The administration would like to see locksmiths being equipped with the necessary legal power to ask for verification on the people requesting their services.

Squatting has been a politically and socially contentious issue in Spain and other countries because on one hand it is directly linked to questions, such as housing affordability and availability for people of lower-income brackets.

However, there is also another side to it, since in places like the coastal cities of Spain many residences remain unoccupied out of the tourist season. In fact, it is estimated that only 15% of Murcian coastal properties are being lived in.

This has opened up opportunities for organized crime to step in and offer to rent or even sell places which it does not own, sometimes to unsuspecting customers.

"We are going to have zero tolerance for squatting," said José Ramón Díez de Revenga, Regional Minister of Housing, adding that "we are firmly committed to fighting it because it is a completely unfair situation that goes against the property rights enshrined in the Constitution and because behind the majority of the cases are involved mafias and organized criminal groups”.

The plan of the government is to institute a policy which emphasizes early detection in order to avoid illegal occupation.



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