Squatters in Spain: How to protect your Spanish home from squatters
If you have or are planning to invest in a property in Spain, you need to consider the squatter problem, also known as okupas. This is a serious threat to property owners, which means that homeless people occupy the house when no one else is inside. In this article, we will inform the house owners or potential house owners of the current situation of squatters in Spain and how to prevent them.
1. Why squatter is a big problem in Spain?
Some people might wonder why this is a big problem? Logically, if squatters are found, they can be arrested by the police immediately. However, this is not the case. In some regions, such as Catalonia, squatters even enjoy high-level political support. According to the press estimate, there are currently 90,000 to 100,000 houses are occupied by squatters.
Besides, the legal procedures to evict squatters are very difficult and expensive. And foreign owners might be the targets of squatters because it’s usually assumed that foreigners are rich, lack fluent Spanish skills and don’t want to be bothered by problems.
2. What can you do to prevent squatting from happening?
If you own a second property or a holiday house in Spain, you should always keep an eye on the property to get alerts if someone breaks in or simply deters intruders. You can:
Anti-break-in alarm with police intervention: Some Spanish companies such as SECURITAS DIRECT and PROSEGUR spotted the consumer pain point and designed anti-robbery alarms. Anyone who enters the house will need to remove the alarm by using a password. If the people enter the house fail to type in the setting time, the alarm will notify the relevant police station automatically and they will come to the spot immediately. The service charges an installation fee of €500 and a monthly quota of €30-€50.
Built-in cameras with apps: Many companies like Xiaomi also offers products like cameras connected with mobile apps. You can put the cameras wherever you want in the apartment and activate notifications on the mobile phone. The camera will detect any human movement and send clickable pop-up messages to the phone connected to the camera and can even record the scene if needed, which helps the owner can call the police in time.
In addition to technical appliances, property owners are advised to have trustworthy friends visit the house regularly to check if it’s occupied.
3. If unfortunately your property is occupied by squatters, you should understand that…
If the break-in is within 48 hours, try to inform the police as soon as you can by calling or using the AlertCorps app.
The Spanish property law says that, if you have a second/third/… property in Spain, squatters break in without your knowledge and stay for more than 48 hours undisturbed, it will be hard to kick them off. There are usually two options:
Reclaim the rights using the legal procedures: this process is usually very long, which might take about 2 years
Negotiate with the okupas: whether by hiring a company or doing it yourself. This is less time-consuming, but it’s often costly as well because some people occupy the place for money.
Also, you can protect your property better with reliable home insurance, which covers the expenses to fix any damage caused by breakage. We also offer home assistance and document reconstruction help to make the claim process easier. We are a multilingual team that also specializes in Spanish visa insurance, with the best-rated medical service network.
Our contents will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 19/11/2021
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