Squatters (Okupas) is a serious threat to home owners in Spain. The law in Spain seem to protect the home invaders more than the owners of the property. The squatter problem have been increasing and in 2021 there was an average of 49 homes occupied every day.
In this guide we have compiled a list of advices how to both prevent squatters to invade you home but also how to handle the situation in the event of a invasion of your home.
At the end of the 24 hours the occupation becomes a civil matter and the action to regain possession of your property is to file a lawsuit. At this time acting quickly is important since there are there are deadlines to meet and the courts have their rhythm and timings, hence acting quickly is of the essence to recover possession of your property.
In the case where there are less than a year since the occupation began a specific procedure called injunction to recover possession. This procedure can not be used if the property is owned by a company, but is the most efficient way to recover the property as quickly as possible.
There are services that help to extract the squatters, calling themselves negotiators, this could be very costly as these mediators negotiate a fee for releasing the property which easily could be between 5-10 000€, in addition the negotiators also take a similar fee, leaving you with a bill upwards to 20 000€. In addition is this an borderline legal method of getting the squatters out of your property.
There is another matter that advocates a speedy recovery and which is the civil liability the owner can be faced with. This means that an accident occurring within the occupied property could become the responsibility of the owner.
As an owner you will be liable for all the utility bills , like water, electricity, taxes etc. And if you as an owner stop these services, the squatters in most cases will arrange these services in their own name, and then it will become more difficult to get them evicted as their claims as “tenants” will become stronger.
Another reason to let the squatters out of the property is the damages they can do. The home insurance does not cover damages due to squatters. We have seen more than 7 000€ worth of damages to properties.
There are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of squatting and handle then quickly to prevent them from doing a lot of damage to your property.
Make the property look inhabited
Squatters target houses that are uninhabited, and vacation homes are their main target, as the owner might not discover the squatters for months. So one easy insurance is to have some lights on on the outside of the property, to give the impression of that there are somebody home. You could also have a keyholder/caretaker that makes regular visits.
Monitor the property
Monitoring with a camera will alert you to an intrusion and will enable you to reach quickly which is required to be able to handle the matter in a swift way.
The camera would also serve as an documentation to the police that this is a hone invasion and help in removing the squatters.
Have a Power of Attorney in place
Since many of the properties targeted by squatters are vacation homes, most of the time it will take time to go to your property to handle the squatter case by your self and since there is a short timeframe to file it with the police, having set up an Power of Attorney with someone that can act on your behalf to contact the police and file an report so the matter can be handled.
When filing an complaint with the police you would be obliged to prove your ownership of the property. To do this you would need to have an copy of the deed.
We have discovered that many owners don't know where the deed to their home is.
You should not store the deed in the property itself as it would be inaccessible due to the squatters. Store it in a safe place and if you have an Power of Attorney with someone they should have an copy as well.
Have a professional company protect your property
When you sign up to an professional service, your property will get signs on the outside that the property is protected which will help repelling squatters.
The difference between an alarm company and our service is that the alarm company reports the incident to you and the police, but then you need to handle the case yourself. The filing of the complaint and following up with the police will be up to you - at Vesta Vigilar we will handle the case until it has been resolved. Even if this means going to court.
At Vesta Vigilar we will take care of it all putting your mind at ease. Our fully qualified legal team with lot´s of experience in the Squatters industry will take action on your behalf until the squatters have been evicted. Be fully covered for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day. Our main priority is prevention first but if this scenario was to happen we will have you protected at no extra cost, saving you thousands of euros - Contact us today!.