New anti-squatting law in Spain broadens possibilities to combat squatting

by Lorraine Williamson
anti-squatting law

The number of reports against squatters has increased considerably in Spain in recent years. And it’s hard to get squatters out of your house. The Spanish Congress of Deputies begins the discussion of the anti-squatting law proposed by the Senate. This allows squatters to be evicted within 24 hours. Also, the perpetrators can be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

The bill tightens the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Civil Procedure to give individuals, companies and residents’ associations more tools to combat squatting.

Another part of the proposal is to equate squatters with an organised group under two conditions. First of all, if there are two or more perpetrators. Subsequently, also when there is a call for a refund of IBI and property tax to the owners of squatted homes.

Stricter penalties for squatting

The bill proposes to tighten the Criminal Code to increase prison sentences for squatters. In the event that the seizure of the property was carried out with violence and intimidation, the prison sentence will be set at one to three years. At present, the current legal limit is two years.

In the case of non-violent occupation, the offender can be sentenced to six to eighteen months in prison. The current sentences are three to six months. If the perpetrators voluntarily return the property within 48 hours of being asked to do so, the sentence is reduced to 31 days to 90 days of community service.

Cogesa Expats

What is also new is that prison sentences of three months to one year are proposed for anyone who promotes the illegal occupation. This includes government officials. In addition, they may be removed from public office or office for nine to fifteen years.

Rapid prosecution in the event of squatting

The bill includes more changes. For example, an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act. So that the crimes of burglary and trespassing in the penal code are included in the scope of expedited trials.

In addition, an amendment to the Law on Civil Procedure has been proposed. This allows companies to request the immediate return of possession of their property. The condition is that this has been taken away without their permission. Until now, according to Article 250, only private individuals are allowed to do so. Companies don’t yet. Finally, the possibility of a people’s jury being able to adjudicate cases of burglary disappears.


The ordinance focuses part of its explanatory notes on highlighting the damage that squatting does to living together in neighbourhoods. Mainly because it causes the insecurity in the community. Therefore, the bill gives the president of the community the power to denounce conduct that is harmful to the property or that violates the bylaws with the authorities. In addition, the chairman can also propose preventive measures to the owner. Such as, for example, boarding up doors and windows. Finally, the Horizontal Property Law is amended to allow the “immediate” eviction of a resident engaged in prohibited activities.

Taxes on property

Furthermore, the intention is that the owner of a squatted property will get his taxes back, such as IBI or property tax. This will happen as soon as the squat has been officially declared illegal. The property must also continue to be considered as the habitual residence of the owner. This way, they do not lose the tax benefits when selling the property or reinvesting it in another property.

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