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Squatters In Spain: How To Avoid Them

12 December 20222 min readby Tom Miskelly

Property Debt Spain Squatters

For many years there has been a massive problem in Spain of squatters (or ‘okupas’ in Spanish) occupying empty properties. This is an issue across the country, especially in areas with high numbers of second homes. This is due to the low occupancy rates for most of the year. To make matters worse, laws in Spain largely favour squatters, and they actually enjoy political support in some areas.

It is estimated that over 100,000 homes in Spain are currently occupied by squatters. This number has been steadily rising for the past few years. So if you leave your second home unoccupied for long periods of time, watch out!

Squatter’s Rights

As mentioned above, squatters enjoy much more protection in Spain than in any other European country. Once they are settled in a property, it is nearly impossible to get them removed illegally.

The only other way to eliminate squatters is through ‘extra-judicial’ removal. I.e. hiring a group to remove them (often, these are associated with organised crime). Both of these options are incredibly expensive and stressful, so it is best to avoid this if possible.

How to prevent squatters

There are several ways to ensure that you never have to deal with the stress that is caused by squatters. Some of these include:

  • Property rental – Renting out your property when you are not in it reduces the amount of time the property is empty. This can be as a short-term holiday rental or longer-term leases. Either way, it is a great way to keep squatters out.
  • Alarm systems – A good alarm system is an excellent way to keep squatters out. After they have been in your property for 48 hours, it becomes more difficult to remove them. An alarm can alert the local police, who can then remove the squatters.
  • Don’t make your property look empty – Having automatic lights installed, making sure your garden is in good condition and not putting up sale/rental signs all make your property look less empty when you are not there. Failing to do these can make it obvious that your property is empty and encourage squatters.
  • Get someone to check on your property – You can ask a neighbour to check on your property regularly or, there are even agencies in Spain that you can employ for a relatively low price to ensure that your property remains unoccupied.

Need help?

Although we can’t drag the squatters out ourselves, we can help. If you need help getting rid of a property or, are struggling with any property debt issues, contact us today. You can call us on 0330 159 5820 or email [email protected]

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