In 2013, Madrid's governments sold nearly 5,000 rent-controlled flats to private equity investors, including Goldman Sachs and Blackstone. The residents of the flats – primarily families on low-paid jobs, people unable to work for medical reasons, and the unemployed – were told their rents would not change as a result of the sales.
But as some residents' leases expired, they were hit by rent increases of 900%. Now unable to afford to continue living in the apartments, the residents are being evicted. While the private equity funds' actions were legal, residents and campaigners are fighting the evictions.
These are the latest batch of evictions that have hit Spaniards who have been living on or below the poverty line, since the 2008 financial crisis.
Carmen Aurora Sastre Castilla, 49, brushes her teeth after dinner as her mother Carmen Castilla (bottom L), 77, and her sister Rosa Maria (top L), 46, sit with the family's belongings on the street that has been their home for the past two weeks. Susana Vera/Reuters Riot police try to break down the door of a building during a forced eviction, while protesters from an anti-eviction social movement throw buckets of water at them from the balcony. Eloy Alonso/Reuters Carolina Gonzalez, 39, and her three and four-year-old children stand in a street with their dogs and belongings after Spanish riot police evicted them from an unoccupied building of flats in Malaga. A total of 13 families, included 12 children, had occupied the building since February. Members from various support platforms failed to stop the eviction and three activists were arrested when they refused to leave the roof of building, according to local media. Jon Nazca/Reuters Samira, 2, attempts to open a door before learning that the eviction of her family has been suspended. Monica Flores Jimenez, 36, her husband Carlos Garcia Paulete, 39, their two children and their granddaughter have been occupying the house under permission of a friend of the owner for about a year. Andrea Comas/Reuters Activists of the group The Madrena argue with Spanish riot police during a rally in front of the occupied building in Oviedo. A regional judge ordered the eviction of The Madrena social centre after the owners of the buildings claimed their rights over the property. Eloy Alonso/Reuters Jamila Berrabeh wakes up her son Adam, before learning that her eviction had been temporally suspended. Berrabeh, 26, and her five year-old son Adam have been occupying the house that belongs to Goldman Sachs-Azora, for the last nine months. She is unemployed and lives on subsidies. Andrea Comas/Reuters Raquel Mejias Mesado, 39, waits before learning that her eviction was suspended in Madrid, 2 October 2014. Mejias lives with her siste and her sister's five small children in a two-bedroom flat belonging to the state-owned IVIMA (Madrid Housing Institute). Mejias, who is HIV-positive and only has one lung, depends on a disability allowance. The eviction has been temporarily suspended. Andrea Comas/Reuters Fernando Diaz Jara (R) smokes as his family waits for the judicial commission to carry out the eviction of his brother's family in Madrid. Santiago Diaz Jara, 53, his wife Maria Antonia Ortega Lobo, 50, and their four children have been occupying the flat that belongs to the IVIMA (Madrid Housing Institute) for the past 13 years. The flat was rented by a relative of theirs who died about six years ago. The IVIMA has not been willing to negotiate with them to pay social rent for the flat on the grounds that they are squatting. Andrea Comas/Reuters Homeowner Wilmer Hernandez picks a picture from the wall of his bedroom before learning that his eviction, which was issued by Banco Sabadell, was suspended by the court in Valencia. Heino Kalis/Reuters Unemployed hairdresser and mother-of-three Yasmin Rubiano looks at documents at her flat in Madrid. Juan Medina/Reuters