Uccle authorities have taken back control of nineteen illegally occupied buildings in the municipality, mayor Boris Dilliès announced Wednesday. Through a joint procedure involving members of local police, judicial services as well as the department of urbanism and other municipal services, the municipality said it had been able to identify a number of illegally occupied buildings, also referred to as “squats.”
By reaching out to landowners, the procedure also led to the preventive protection of 11 properties at risk of being occupied, with eight additional ones under ongoing surveillance.
According to local media, Dilliès launched the operation due to a rise in the number of abandoned and occupied buildings in the Brussels municipality, citing concerns that it contributed to a rise in thefts in the areas surrounded the occupied premises.
“Aside from the rise in burglaries, the squats also lead to sanitary problems, cause complaints about noise and constitute an offence to urban legislation,” Dilliès said. “It is inconceivable to allow this out-of-law areas to develop in Uccle.”
The procedure consists of contacting property owners with a proposal to rent out their properties issued Uccle’s social housing agency. Any illegal occupants are offered social assistance to find appropriate housing, according to Belgian media.
Other municipialities across Belgium have also taken action against so-called “squatters.” Last year, fifty people were evicted from a Schaerbeek building, and similar actions have been taken by other towns in Flanders.