A squatter in Palma showing ID prior to an eviction. | Jaume Morey

In 2021, the Balearics had the highest rate of express court cases for the eviction of squatters in the country. There were 13.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Second was Catalonia with 12 and third was Castile-La Mancha with 11.2. Spain's General Council of Economists of Spain points to the "great growth" in this type of procedure over recent years. There were 3,479 cases in 2021, with the highest so far having been 4,017 in 2019. In the Balearics in 2021, there were 170 such legal proceedings, Catalonia having topped the list in absolute terms with 930.

These express court cases are referred to as 'verbal possessory procedures'. They are designed for minor civil litigation where owners are individuals as opposed to banks or other entities with large property portfolios.

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According to figures from the national interior ministry, 509 cases of squatting were reported in the Balearics in 2021. Up to July this year, there were 228, suggesting that squatting is on the decrease. However, the General Council of Colleges of Real Estate Agents recently reported that the Balearics is one of the regions most affected illegal occupation of homes. The regional college attributes this to the high demand for housing and the high prices.

As to legal proceedings, the college points to problems with the interpretation of laws, this being a significant factor in cases that can take forever. "The increase in cases is due to the laxity and lack of clarity of the law." Sanctions for occupying private property can be zero.