In Barcelona, housing prices have been rising for years and the Corona crisis has only made things worse. Many residents can no longer pay their rent or make the payments on their mortgages. Then it’s up to Paco, the bailiff, to evict them.
When Paco rings or knocks, the clock starts ticking. Then people have 20 minutes to pack their things and leave. Some have been unable to pay their rent for years; others bought their homes but could no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. A few are squatters because, even though there’s an acute housing shortage in Barcelona, many apartments are vacant. That’s because banks often purchase them as speculative investments - and wait to sell them when prices rise. As the same time, the Spanish government has long neglected to create more social housing. So where are people supposed to go - especially now, during the pandemic? Paco, a repossession agent, often performs more than 10 evictions a day. He understands the problems faced by those who find themselves out on the street. Being a repo man is not an easy job. A report by Norman Striegel.