There were 10,220 cases of squatter invasions reported to the police in the first seven months of 2022, down 5% compared to the same period in 2022, according to data published by the property portal Idealista sourced from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
The biggest declines in regions of interest to foreign investors were in the Balearics (-31%) and Girona province of Catalonia (-28%), with Madrid and the Canaries both down by 15%. At the other end of the scale cases of squatting rose the most in Valencia’s Castellón province (Costa del Azahar) by 47%, by 24% in Valencia province, and 15% in Alicante province, with the Valencian region as a whole up by 24%.
Catalonia remains the Spanish region with the worst squatter problem, with 43% of all cases reported to the police in the period, 32% in the province of Barcelona alone. However, the good news is that reported cases declined 6% in both Catalonia and Barcelona in the period.
The bad news is that reported cases of adverse possession (squatting) might not match actual cases because the Spanish justice system tends to protect squatters at the expense of property owners, so owners do not have a strong incentive to report all cases to the police. Many owners will opt for extra-judicial solutions like paying squatters to leave or hiring one of the squatter-removal outfits to get the job done quicker and cheaper than going through the courts. As a result it is impossible to have an accurate picture of the squatter problem in Spain, and these latest figures might be somewhat accurate, or nothing close to reality, we just don’t know.
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Find out more about squatters in Spain.