Maastricht: Squatters are victorious in first step of eviction case!

Maastricht_Squatters_victorious_in_courtSince february this year a group of squatters in Maastricht has moved into an old garden center with multiple greenhouses and a house on the premises. Occupying a huge piece of property belonging to a Belgian based supermarket corporation which had been unoccupied for 9 years.

As soon as the owner contacted us after police informing them about our occupation, we handed over our proposition for a user agreement to which they did not agree. When we still didnt leave after they cut the power and gas to the terrain and sending us threats that we should leave within 8days etc. They hired a specialised Dutch lawyer and we we’re summoned in court. In the subpoena they stated that we we’re the cause of lots of noise complaints and garbage on the terrain while the opposite was true. In those 9 years they had visited only once and never cleaned up anything, the terrain was a notorious illegal dumping site.

After our occupation they wanted to visit the terrain for maintenance, we told them they we’re welcome. When they arrived they didnt want to come through the rear gate and instead proceeded to saw open the lock of the front gate, we didnt want to call the police because we we’re still hoping for a user agreement. Their employees we’re very aggressive and knocked over barrels with chemicals, we video taped the whole ordeal. After they left, the terrain was ravaged and we we’re quite pissed off. When they asked again a few weeks later if they could come for maintenance (ofcourse now that people are using it, it has become top priority xD). We told them again that they are welcome but only if they would use the correct gate and if they informed us of the work they planned to do. When they arrived they did not want to inform us, they just said “let us in or we’ll call the cops” to which we replied that they should.

The judge completely agreed, they behaved ridiculous and she didnt think it was odd that we didnt want to let them in again.

We documented everything we cleaned up and repaired, so our case was very strong. We defended ourselves in court without a lawyer with a 4 page defence we made, taking apart every argument in the subpoena. Their plan was to demolish and sell and their argument was that we are negatively influencing a sale. We made very clear that this is not our intention. It didnt help them that they had no proof at all that they we’re about to make a sale, or had a permit to demolish, or that they had even managed to change the destination plan of the terrain.

The judge continued to say that their plans seemed very vague and did not want to kick us out! They we’re told that they really should make a user agreement with us and if we cannot come to an agreement then our case will continue in august. We personally never expected to have any succes with current laws and judges.

It also really helped and I want to thank this group, that there was a precedent of a case in 2012 in Groningen. Where the squatters did not get evicted because the plan was to demolish and leave the terrain empty and unused.


source: Indymedia