Squatters in Spain is one of the main nightmares of the foreign investor in our country.
You have gone on holiday for a while, you are on a business trip for a few weeks or you have a house to rent. One day, you find your house occupied by strangers.
In addition to the initial scare, a legal concern has just come into your life. Since we are not in the Wild West you cannot take the law into your own hands, so we share with you a guide on how to legally evict squatters.
Although it’s not much consolation, you’re not alone. In Spain, there are more than 87,500 families occupying homes illegally, about a quarter of a million people, according to the Instituto Cerdá. In addition, there are many other cases that due to fear or coercion are not reported.
The concern goes beyond how to evict squatters in Spain who have taken over your property. It is estimated that the illegal occupation of a property means a loss of value of between 40% and 60%. That is, if your property has a market price of 220,000 euros, just by being squatted it would fall by half.
If you detect that your property is taken by strangers and you want to know how to evict squatters legally, the first thing you should do is go to the nearest police station, with a certificate from the Land Registry, and file a complaint.
The article 18.2 of the Spanish Constitution states that any home is inviolable even for the police, who can only access a home in case of flagrante delicto.
Until recently, the occupation of housing was a crime under the criminal code. Consequently, the legal process was slow, cumbersome and detrimental to the owner.
The scenario changed completely with Law 5/2018 of 11 June, also known as the express eviction law. From that moment on, you can get your flat back more easily by going through the civil procedure. It speeds up the deadlines and lowers the requirements demanded from the owner of a property to be able to evict the illegal occupants. It does not apply to bank housing.
Everything is less traumatic thanks to Article 441 of the Civil Code, which literally says: “in no case may possession be acquired violently while there is a possessor who opposes it.
Anyone who believes that he or she has the right to deprive another person of possession of a thing, provided that the holder resists delivery, must request the assistance of the competent authority”.
With the support of a civil process, how to get rid of squatters is easier. You can file a lawsuit against the unknown occupants of the house, whereas before it was necessary to identify the people who, for greater concern, could change over time.
How to legally evict squatters? The process
When you file the lawsuit you can request the immediate delivery of your home. The judge, before issuing any sentence, opens a period of 5 days for the defendants to provide some title that proves that they have the right to occupy your property.
When you file the lawsuit you can request the immediate delivery of your property.
If the squatters do not justify why they have taken the property, the court will order immediate surrender.
Attention, because for practical purposes, if your Town Hall lacks resources this period may be extended a little longer than desirable. In any case, before this judicial decision there is no appeal and the eviction will be carried out.
How can you evict squatters in Spain?
If the problem is not in your home, but it is a property of your community and you want to know how to kick out some squatters, the situation is different. Squatters can become a nightmare for the rest of the community members.
It is important to know if it is an inhabited property, if it is uninhabited or if it is owned by a bank. In the first case, squatters commit the crime of breaking and entering, which is regulated by article 202 of the Criminal Code. In the second case, it is a crime of usurpation of real estate regulated in article 245.2.
The first thing you have to do is to inform the owner so that he can file a complaint and start the legal process.
The first 48 hours of the occupation are crucial. If a report is made during these first 48 hours, the police can evict the dwelling without a warrant, as this time period is not sufficient for the squatter to be considered a resident of the dwelling.
If 48 hours have passed: Civil law (article 430 of the civil code): this is the one recommended by the lawyers, in this case and thanks to the last legal reform that has come into force on July 2, 2018, it will not be necessary to identify the squatters.
Along with the lawsuit, the owner must attach an official document proving his rights to the property, such as the deeds of sale for example.
The occupants can only oppose the eviction if they can present a legal title that gives them the right to stay in the property.