Gandia squatting problem returns
By Samantha Kett SQUATTERS have moved into homes on 14 of Gandia's streets – so far – and eviction efforts that were so successful under the previous local government seem to have ground to a halt.
According to police, the illegal occupants are not simply homeless people desperate for accommodation but with no money – they are mostly criminals, involved in drug-dealing and running unlicensed brothels using trafficked women from the premises.
They normally leave the properties in foul conditions, frequently with rubbish heaped up, mouldy remains of food, and even human urine and excrement everywhere.
Gandia's left-wing coalition council has been criticised by the PP for not eradicating a problem the latter managed to keep on top of, boarding up and evicting over 300 homes in four years.
Àngels Pérez, councillor for public safety, insists her team does 'everything in its power' to crack down on squatting.
“As soon as we hear of a property with illegal occupants, we tell the police, who go to the house and identify the people in it,” Sra Pérez insists.
“If there are children present, we inform the social services, and also the prosecution if they do not go to school.”
Most of the squats are homes repossessed by banks, which have so many on their books that they care very little about what happens to them, with a few having belonged to residents who have died, frequently intestate and with no family, or who have moved away and rarely visit their properties.
“The Local Police cannot enter these flats to chuck people out – it's the court that has to act,” Sra Pérez argues.
Around 30 or 40 homes in Gandia are currently occupied by squatters.
A building occupied by squatters