A proposal has been approved in Spain to tighten up on trespassing and the illegal occupation of property. Until now, home owners and landlords have had different legal proceedings in relation to dealing with squatters and those who have outstayed their welcome, but none of them has 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 more quickly, and the penalties increased. It is expected that a clamp down on this kind of behaviour through the issuing of large fines will dissuade others from doing something similar.
The proposal for the change in the law was made by the ruling PP (conservative) party in conjunction with Ciudadanos (centre right). 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.
One amendment was made, however. The original proposal included increasing the powers of the police to enter and remove those suspected of drug or people trafficking. This part has been amended, and they can only do so now with the agreement of a judge and the property owner.
The proposal also includes measures to protect the 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.
Regulations have not always been on the side of landlords and home owners. This is a concern that non-residents, in particular, have had. With property left unoccupied for long periods of time, it can be attractive to those looking for somewhere to live.
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 confident.