Casa Elsa in Caleta de Vélez has long been a second home belonging to a Norwegian family, ever since it was built at the end of the 60s.
The children back then, Lisbeth and Jørn Hokholt, spent many happy stays there during their childhood, then as adults with their own children and now as grandparents with their grandchildren… At least once a year they move down from Oslo to this Axarquia retreat.
Until squatters moved in whom they can’t get rid of.
It was a little over a year ago that they found that that squatters had moved in, determined to stay put and deny the rightful owners entry.
The scheduled court hearing, which was to be held last Thursday has been postponed to the 12th of November because somebody had not assigned the squatters a legal-aid lawyer to defend them. This latest delay is just one in a long string of apparent laxity on the side of the judicial system and police, they consider.
When they originally reported the situation to the Policía Nacional it took three months for somebody to actually go round to the occupied house and then it was only to inform the Norwegian brother and sister that the squatters are “known to the police and are considered violent.” The police advised the Norwegians not to confront them for this reason.
Their first case was thrown out because the lawyer defending the interests of the owners had not established that it was a second home, considered the judge. So they tried again but then the pandemic hit.
In the meantime the squatters, made up of members of at least two families, have set about trashing the chalet.
Lisbeth and Jørn, who can’t get here because of the travel restrictions, rightly can’t conceive that this is happening in a European country. To add insult to injury the Norwegians have had to keep paying all the bills such as IBI.
Last December the brother and sister, together with their lawyer, the Policía Nacional and a Norwegian TV crew (NRK), went round to the house – the TV crew were working on a documentary covering the problem of squatters in Spain. The response in Norway when it was aired caused a wave of indignation. In fact, real-estate agents dealing with Norwegians looking for property in Spain noted a large drop in customers from that country.
Editorial comment: To get a squatter out of your house is mission impossible, but when it comes to banks repossessing a property if the mortgage holders default, there is no such “reluctance” to throw the owners out.
(News: Caleta de Velez, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)