squatter city cala de bou
squatters have been living in the cellars of this abandoned building project for several years.

The Balearics’ chief prosecutor, Bartomeu Barceló, has told Police to get tough in evicting Ibiza squatters, and that they need not wait for approval from the courts.

Barceló has written to the National and Local Police, and the Guardia Civil, telling all three that they should act ‘Motu Proprio’ in the recovery of property possession for owners. ‘Moto Proprio’ is the legal concept where action is taken without official orders being obtained. 

Serious Crime

The Balearics’ prosecutor said that in the eyes of the law squatting was considered a burglary, and it was equally serious whether those taking possession of a property were taking the land owner’s prime residence or an unoccupied building. He also stated that it must make no difference in the enforcement if the owner is a private individual or a legal entity (company).

A concession was made for squatters who are considered ‘at risk of social exclusion’, the Spanish term for vulnerable groups. In that situation Barcelo said that Social Services must be informed of the action so that they can offer appropriate support.

Aside from those at risk, the statement issued in a press release encouraged a very tough line by Police.

“They (squatters) must face charges for the crime of squatting, plus additional crimes committed in that squatting, especially where this involves intimidation or violence to gain entry and crimes made resisting the legal attempts of the police to regain possession” he said, urging Police and the Guardia Civil to “act with common purpose to guarantee the fundamental right to the inviolability of domicile of citizens, as well as the possession of real estate by their legitimate owners.”

Editorial Comment

There are many squatted buildings around Ibiza, including the building in our feature photo which has a large community living in the cellars of an abandoned building project, and another brought into the public eye recently when a blaze tore through the large building in Ibiza Town, resulting in one fatality.

Recent legislation introduced forces large multi-property owners, such as banks, not to leave residential properties empty. However, this and other changes have done little to alleviate the severe shortage of affordable housing in Ibiza, which has among the highest prices in Spain. 

Despite this, if a snap social media poll is anything to go on (and it isn’t anything more than an indicator), the people of Ibiza are in support of the Prosecutor’s get tough stance. Of 423 reactions to the Diario de Ibiza’s report on the subject until the time of writing this report, 83 people expressed their reaction as ‘love’, and only two as ‘sad’.