Proposals have been approved to tighten up on trespassing and the illegal occupation of property in Spain. Until now, home there have been mechanisms in place for owners and landlords to deal with squatters and those who have outstayed their welcome, but none of them have worked efficiently. However, the proposal, approved now in Congress looks set to make squatting and illegal occupation more difficult in Spain.
Under the proposed regulations now going through Parliament, the judicial process for dealing with squatters can be triggered faster and with increased penalties. It is expected that a clamp down on through the issuing of large fines will dissuade others from taking up residence in properties they are not paying rent on.
The proposal for the change in the law was made by the ruling PP party in conjunction with the centre-right party Ciudadanos. It was opposed by other parties in the house who have concerns about the potential abuse of this power and its use against legal tenants.
The original proposals included increasing the powers of the police to enter and remove those suspected of drug or people trafficking. This part has subsequently been amended, and they can only do so now with the agreement of a judge and the property owner. This amendment was put in place to prevent possible police harassment and protect innocent parties and means that unless a warrant has been granted by a judge and permission given by the landlord to enter the property, entry is not permitted. This also serves to keep landlords and property owners in the loop if tenants are involved in any suspicious activity while renting from them.
The proposal also includes measures to protect vulnerable people who might find themselves on the wrong side of the law through no fault of their own. It includes the possibility of property surrender, enabling those in the property to stay there three years whilst paying rent at a rate that is less than 30% of their total family income. Where an eviction does take place then there is a commitment to providing more social services support for the family involved, depending on the details of the individual case.
This is in response to the increasing numbers of displaced families in Spain that have found themselves homeless as a consequence of increased rents and falling income levels. The new proposals will come as a big relief to the many families in need of support from social services and should see a big improvement in the welfare of more tenants on low incomes in Spain.
Regulations have not always been on the side of landlords and home owners, which has been a concern that non-resident landlords in particular. With property left unoccupied for long periods of time, it can be attractive to those looking for somewhere to live and consequently, the number of illegal squatters has risen to become a significant problem across Spain.
Once introduced these new regulations might make those with a second home in Spain, who only use it for a portion of the year, feel a little more secure about their purchases. It is also hoped that landlords in tourist areas will be persuaded to accept more long term renters if their position is protected from illegal occupancy. In some coastal areas, landlords are already showing favour to holiday renters over long-termers mainly because rates are not only higher, but more guaranteed.