Lack of Control And Maintenance In Subsidized Dwellings Sold to a Vulture Fund

26/08/2014 – El Diario

The sale of 3.000 subsidized houses by the Community of Madrid to Goldman Sachs evoked serious tension among the estate’s inhabitants. Specifically, they complain that since Encasa Cibeles was named by the fund to manage the units, everyone has started to notice increase in squattering, abrasiveness and damage inside the development. 

In October 2013, the tenats found out that Madrid´s Housing Insitute (or IVIMA by its acronym in Spanish) had sold their homes to a vulture fund. Since then, many left their apartments to look for a private landlord instead of a public one. The dwellings got almost immediately taken by over 100 families. Meanwhile, the remaining tentants are trying to regain the previous rental conditions they agreed upon with the IVIMA.

The housing crisis occured in the Ensanche de Vallecas neighborhood, situated between the Eduardo Chillida and the Gran Vía del Sureste streets in Madrid. The real estate development was launched as a subisidized unit. The Madrid´s Institute offered most homes in the framework of the rent-to-buy contracts to young people who, on the news of the owner switch, terminated them.

Currently, around 150 homes are occupied by illegal inhabitants. ‘I have applied for a subsidized apartment several times, without any success. In my opinion, giving my family a place to live in is no crime. We are poor’, explains one of them.

Majority of the rental agreements are valid until July 2015. Those, whose contracts have already expired heard at Encasa Cibeles that ‘it is not an NGO’. In reponse to complaints issued by the affected families, the IVIMA said ‘once the housing developments sold to private hands, the public service regulations are no longer in force’.

Meanwhile, Encasa Cibeles announces it will fight with squattering by installing anti-burglar doors and sending security service to the developments.

In reality, ‘cases of receiving an eviction notice are much more common than seeing the families living illegally leave’, a tenant says. Removing squatters takes much more time. They wish the IVIMA came back and set rents at below the 600 Euros imposed by the company of Goldman Sachs.

Together with the rise in illegal occupancy, neighbours started to notice more acts of vandalism. ‘Broken panes, locks, and stolen garage videocameras are just examples of the damage’, says one of the tenants who is going to move out in September.

Original article: El Diario (by Laura Olías)

Translation: AURA REE