The Costa Teguise Illegal Housing Saga Continues...

The Costa Teguise Illegal Housing Saga Continues...
By: Local News Posted On: May 26, 2024 View: 621

Occupied homes in Costa Teguise. Photo: Juan Mateos.
Occupied homes in Costa Teguise. Photo: Juan Mateos.
An Arrecife Court has ordered the identification of the tenants of the occupied skeletons of Costa Teguise. As reported by the TSJC Press Office, the case is currently "in the summons phase" so there is no scheduled date for the eviction, but there is an open process against the occupants. 
Plot 214, on which the unfinished concrete skeletons sit, which have been rehabilitated and adapted by different families to be able to live in them, is located at the entrance to the coastal town. The unfinished construction of the 90s , planned the construction of 157 apartments and was stopped by court order. It now serves as a housing answer for those who cannot access conventional rentals, in an increasingly tense market. 

María (not her real name) and her husband were renting a house  in Lanzarote when the pandemic hit. He worked in the hospitality industry and she at that time worked at home, taking care of her two young children. After their landlady asked them to increase the rent, from 400 to 600 euros, the family had to leave the house and occupy an empty house, owned by a bank, in Teguise. When this property was purchased, the four of them and their pets faced the first eviction of their lives. Now they face suffering a second launch in less than a year.
"They gave us a few days to pick up things and then we left that same week. We paid 2,000 euros to move into a house in Costa Teguise," he told La Voz . María, her husband and her children are one of the 88 families,  according to data provided by the Social Welfare of the council after the last survey, who currently reside in the abandoned and occupied homes on Avenida de Las Palmeras in Costa Teguise.
Many migrants live in the area, especially from Colombia, who do not have their administrative situation regularized and work in the care of the elderly and in jobs in the island's hospitality industry. 

The fear of an imminent eviction in the area has led several families to pay for the legal assistance of a lawyer, in order to delay the launch as much as possible. María, however, prefers not to fight to stay longer in a property that does not belong to her, although when she is expelled she will have to look for room rentals and separate her two children and have each one go with a parent.
Given the rumors of vacancy, he assures that some of his neighbors are selling their properties again for 3,000 euros. "If they kick us out we will leave, we are not going to sell anything to anyone, we will leave the house closed and anyone who wants to use it," she highlights.
They found the property without baseboards or windows when they started living in it, but they adapted it over the months. Like them, dozens of families found in these concrete skeletons a housing alternative, in a context of housing access crisis in Lanzarote.
Both knew from then on that they would not be in the place for too long, but they took advantage of the time to pay the cost of the occupied home in monthly installments and to save enough money to pay the down payment on a rental. So far, they have found no alternative. "To rent, they ask us if we have minors in our care and if we have pets and we are not going to leave my children or my animals behind," she laments.


Families with minors

 "When the social worker arrived and saw all the children there, she put her hands on her head," this neighbor recalled. As a result of rumors indicating the presence of minors in the place, the Costa Teguise Social Work Unit went to the abandoned complex and interviewed "all the families that allowed them to do so", according to sources from the Unit. to the voice . Since then, families have begun to be identified, although the exact data is difficult to measure, because "new families continue to settle." 
Among the debates that the City Council has faced are the problems in registration, since the council stopped registering residents for some years. 
Furthermore, as revealed by the Costa Teguise Social Work Unit, the majority of residents have decided not to voluntarily go to Social Services , probably "moved by fear." That is why one of the objectives of the visits to this area has been to demystify and dismantle lies, among them, a very widespread one, in which the occupants are made to believe that the City Council will allow them to stay in the homes. for two years. 
Meanwhile, the Councilor for Urban Planning of Teguise, Rita Hernández (PP), has told this editorial team that the City Council is helping to identify the families. "The procedure is alive, we have been providing the documentation they have asked of us, so that it continues forward and reaches the end it needs to reach," she added. 


An unfinished project by Lanzagal Promotores

Last November 2022, the then Urban Planning Councilor of the Teguise City Council and current mayor of the municipality, Olivia Duque, announced the contracting of the project to demolish plot 214 of the coastal town, after the justice system threatened with fines "against the personal property" of the then mayor, Oswaldo Betancort for not complying with the 2005 court ruling. 
To this day the skeletons have still not been demolished. Already then the PSOE denounced that during the presidency of Pedro San Ginés in the Lanzarote Council, compliance with the sentence was not required either. 
This building was left half-built after a court ruling annulled the building license in the early 2000s.  Despite this, the owner Lanzagal Promotores refused to pay for the demolition of the buildings and they have been waiting for almost two decades to be demolished. , as reported by the Teguise town council. 
Occupied homes in Costa Teguise. Photo: Juan Mateos.
Occupied homes in Costa Teguise. Photo: Juan Mateos.

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