Five families who lived in the Carlos Botelho neighbourhood, in the Olaias area, in Lisbon, were recently removed from the houses they occupied illegally. Gebalis, the company that manages municipal housing, was accused by residents of evicting people “from one day to the next” and “without any kind of dialogue”. Gebalis responded, alleging that these were situations of “abusive occupation”, and warned of the existence of more than 800 illegally occupied properties in the 66 neighbourhoods under its management. A number confirmed by Filipa Roseta, councilor for Housing.

“This is a dramatic case, we have 800 houses occupied without title, illegally. It's a heavy inheritance”, said the mayor, quoted by Público.

During the meeting, opposition parties wanted to know, among other things, what answers were given to the five evicted families. And they also questioned the need for such a large number of police to be present at the site, writes the publication.

Ricardo Moreira, councillor for BE, said, for example, that the eviction process disrespected the Basic Housing Law, as there was no social and judicial monitoring or alternative accommodation for these families.

In response to these and other accusations, Filipa Roseta rejected that the families had not been accompanied and added that the five families in question were contacted by Santa Casa da Misericórdia after the eviction. The mayor also noted that the Basic Housing Law “clearly distinguishes between someone who has a title to be in a dwelling and who does not”.