Spain extends ban on evictions that unintentionally also protects squatters

by admin

The Spanish government has extended the ban on evictions of vulnerable families at the last minute by four years until May 15, 2028. The measure was introduced in 2013 during the economic and financial crisis by the government led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The new Royal Decree was approved by Socialist President Pedro Sánchez. It has entered into force since its publication in the BOE Official Gazette. This decision is part of the measures originally taken on March 10, 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The extension means that evictions cannot take place when a home assigned to a creditor such as a bank is occupied by a vulnerable family.

Why extension?

The text of the decree states that the decision to grant the loan was based on the uncertainty that currently exists as to when interest rates will fall. High interest rates make it more difficult for vulnerable families to pay their mortgage every month. The reasoning is that these families have already been hit extra hard by rising inflation. The consequences of this will last for years due to the lasting effect on prices.

Cogesa Expats

Squatter protection: downside of the decree

It is of course good that vulnerable households are protected. This is especially relevant in the case of tenants who initially legally rented a home but then stopped paying due to circumstances. However, in Spain squatters are a problem who ‘abuse’ this law to illegally occupy homes. They pose as vulnerable residents and thus make it impossible for legitimate owners to evict them. The most important rules for issues surrounding this type of illegal occupancy can be found in the Housing Act and the Rapid Evictions Act introduced last year. Squatters who are not evicted within 24 hours of arrival too often appear to have the law on their side. As a result, owners are sometimes unable to use their homes for years. Achieving a legal eviction can take up to two years. Even an accelerated deportation (desalojo exprés) takes three to four months and entails high costs.

Legal solutions for illegal occupancy

If squatters are in your home in Spain, there are various legal routes to tackle this problem. Because it is a criminal offense, you can always start criminal proceedings. You do this by filing a trespassing complaint. The judge will then decide the case. In addition, civil law also offers options to claim compensation for illegal occupancy. There are two civil procedures: the ordinary procedure (Article 399 of the Civil Procedure Act) and the special “rapid deportation procedure” that was included in the law in 2018. Finally, it is permitted to engage a specialised evacuation company. Provided that it remains within legal limits and respects the rights of all parties involved.

Also read: Apartments sold with squatters in the Valencia region


You may also like