Society 14/06/2021

Man commits suicide when he was about to be evicted from his flat in Barcelona

The court had rejected a report of vulnerability because it said that he did not meet the conditions

2 min
Desnonament of a block of flats with 4 families

BarcelonaA man committed suicide this morning when he was about to be evicted from his flat in the Sants district of Barcelona. When the bailiffs turned up to enforce the eviction, the man took his life. According to El País, the 58-year-old victim jumped out of the window into the inner courtyard of the house after opening the door to the bailiffs. Barcelona City Council sources have explained to ARA that, as usual, at the eviction there were also council workers. This was the first attempt at enforcing the eviction after the court rejected a vulnerability report as it claimed the deceased did not meet the criteria.

According to the Catalonia's High Court, the man had a rental contract signed in 2018 and stopped paying rent in June last year, three months after the state of alarm was decreed due to the covid pandemic. Half a year later, in January, the landlord, a private individual, filed a lawsuit, which was handled by Barcelona Court no.3. The victim asked for free legal advice and the procedure was delayed until a lawyer was assigned to him. The High Court claims the man did not indicate he needed help from social services and has argued that for this reason the court was not authorised to forward his case to them.

The first date set for the eviction was suspended due to his request for free legal advice. The second date was this morning, when the eviction was carried out and the man committed suicide. Before, however, the victim's lawyer had presented a report of vulnerability from Barcelona's social services, demanding the eviction to be halted. The court, which said it had "provided" information on how to access social services, said it had received the report on Thursday last week, although sources at the city council said the document had been produced in April. In any case, the court ruled out the vulnerability and did not accept the request to stop the eviction because it considered that it did not meet the requirements for the state moratorium on evictions.

No police presence

The royal decree that regulates this moratorium on eviction gives the following criteria for stopping an eviction in case of non-payment of rent: the property must belong to a public institution or a large landlord and the tenant must have a vulnerability report from the social services. Minors and victims of domestic violence are also protected by the moratorium. Barcelona City Council sources explained that the municipal anti-eviction unit had accompanied the man in this procedure. As for the enforcement of the eviction this morning, Mossos d'Esquadra sources have pointed to ARA that there was no police presence because the bailiffs had not requested their presence.

Sants organisations against evictions have reported that they had no record of this eviction, although housing entities have stopped three other evictions that the courts had set for this morning in the same neighbourhood. "These are not suicides, they are murders," said the platform. The number of evictions enforced every day is so great that it is difficult to keep track of all the people who are left without a home when the bailiffs enforce them. According to data from the courts, Catalonia was the region in Spain where the most evictions were enforced in the first quarter of this year: 2,437 in three months, 22% of all those in the state.