The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, called for co-responsibility between administrations to prevent evictions being repeated, either in Barcelona or anywhere else, such as the one on Tuesday morning in the Sants-Montjuïc district.
A mother and three young children were evicted from their flat after being unable to keep up their rent payments. Barcelona City Council, who were aware of the case, had tried to mediate with the property owner and had even offered to pay the rent to prevent an eviction order from being carried out. The property owner, according to the municipal government, owns a large pool of flats and “refused to negotiate, prioritising speculative interests above the right to housing of a mother with young children”, explained the Mayor.
Law 24/2015 on the housing emergency and energy poverty, partially suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC), would have obliged the owner to offer the family an alternative home as a condition for being able to request the eviction. Ada Colau accused the TC and Mariano Rajoy’s government, which challenged the law, of being responsible for the eviction on Tuesday, which she also described as paradigmatic.
“We need this law to defend people’s life and the lives which are most vulnerable”, noted the Mayor, also calling on the Generalitat and the Catalan Parliament to speed up procedures to approve the new law substituting the suspended articles from Law 24/2015. Work on the alternative law has been under way since the decision came from the Constitutional Court.
Colau offered Barcelona City Council’s full support to work with the Generalitat to avoid reaching the extreme where evictions are carried out. The call to join forces includes negotiating with owners, as well as offering alternative homes to families obliged to leave their own, a task which currently corresponds to the local administration. The Mayor described it as an “attack on common sense” to send four police anti-riot units to evict a mother and three children, remarking that efforts should be made “not to carry out the judicial order, but rather to avoid an eviction which represents a serious breach of human rights”.