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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Squatters in Spain - No, It's Not That Bad
Tuesday, September 6, 2022 @ 8:48 PM

Okupas (squatters), says the journalist Pepo Jimenez Moltó in a short video, are those who occupy empty houses without any services connected. These dwellings will usually (if not always) belong to the bank or to a vulture fund. Otherwise, that’s called illegal entry (allanamiento de morada) and the police will remove them at once. Even if it’s your second, third or fourth home. Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe – yet it is Nº 4 in the worldwide ranking for the number of alarms installed. Don’t be taken in, says the video, by panic, or by politicians, or (above all) by alarm salesmen.

Indeed, a judge from Tarragona is on record as saying that in ten years, he has only had one case of someone returning home to find it occupied. He had appeared on a TV chat show called Espejo Público (a program which likes to create worry and indignation among its viewers) and – to the surprise and mortification of the producers – explained that most of the okupa story is a myth. Yes, of course the police can remove them.

We often see the police doing precisely that, removing people (following a judge’s order) who have not paid their mortgage in what is known as un desahucio. This is the bank acting to evict the tenant (who loses his money paid so far) in order to resell to another. Conversely, empty unfinished bank-owned apartments, with squatters, are left in peace – unless the bank needs the property for some reason. Otherwise, it sits on its books with an apparent accruable value.

In an apartment block, the comunidad de propietarios may be frustrated to find that some of the unsold apartments have been taken over by squatters – who will not be paying their dues and thus the shared services will be either abandoned or unfairly financed. They may have installed illegal connection to the electric or the water. One may find in such a block an empty swimming pool and trashed gardens. That’ll be the squatters.

Squatters themselves will usually take an easy answer – an apartment that simply doesn’t have an irate owner waiting behind the door with some tough hombres. They squat because they can’t afford to rent. They’re poor and unemployed. Perhaps they take drugs.

Yes, there are mafias. There is opportunity, and there are those who will take advantage. These include those who seek to find empty homes and (presumably) sell the information to potential illegal tenants.

And there are almost three and a half million empty dwellings in Spain, built by investment funds, banks and – occasionally – by a speculator hoping to turn a profit. Maybe he should rent it out... or lower his asking price

So, why the fuss? The first reason is to be sure to keep one’s possessions safe, and who better to help than a sturdy front door and a good alarm company? Indeed, normally about now with an article like this, there’d be a brief commercial interruption to sell you one. The fact is, the baddies are more likely to break in, wallop the TV and any jewels on the bed-side table, and be out again in under three minutes.

They won’t be staying.


Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Squatters in Spain are a serious threat to property owners in a country where the authorities appear more on the side of squatters than of owners, especially in areas where squatters enjoy high-level political support, like Catalonia’.

Right Casa here: ‘Squatters are a huge problem in Spain, and a blight to legitimate Spanish property owners’.

The BBC here: ‘Squatting has a long history in Spain, often fuelled by high rates of homelessness. But there is now a darker phenomenon too - squatters who demand a "ransom" before they will leave a property’.

The Olive Press here: ‘Contrary to popular belief there are no laws in Spain that grant squatters the right to illegally occupy a house’.

Wiki here: ‘Squatting in Spain’.

From a thread on Facebook:  ‘Squatters don’t choose only empty properties or bank owned ones. They’re really taking advantage of the legal loopholes creates on purpose from this communist government to generate chaos and misery. The truth there is no way of preventing squatters from your property because the law only protects the squatter. It’s any property in danger even luxury ones. I’m located in Marbella and people are always worried if their property may be the next one’.



Like 0


tteedd said:
Saturday, April 29, 2023 @ 10:51 AM

Not bad ! It's horrendous!!

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