Am I a "squatter"?

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08 Sep 2019 08:39 by Berlynne Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Hi all, 

I need some advice I came to Spain a few years ago to look after a close family member, I am retired myself too, and Spain is my home.

My relative had a rental contract for a number of years. Always paid rent into a Spanish account, owners lived in UK, the only form of contact was a UK mobile.

 

A few years ago the bank would not accept payments in the owners account, so no rent was paid.

The owner has not been in contact to query this, I presume owner has died.

The mobile number doesn't exist anymore, there is no way to contact them.

To complicate matters further, my relative passed away 6 months ago.

I am still here, can't pay rent, pay all bills and community charges and keep the property in great condition, ie garden is neat and tidy.

My question is, what if anything should I do, nobody from the owner or their family have been in contact with me.

I am settled here but what is my status, I was never on the rental contract because at the time my relative had no contact with the owner and just deposited the rent money in the bank.

So am I a squatter?





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08 Sep 2019 09:25 by nigel188 Star rating in Estepona. 572 posts Send private message

Hi

Technically you are a Squatter.

We had a similar problem in our Apartment Block. Some English Guy was living wih the Owner of the Apartment. The Owner passed away and the English Guy continued to live there for 5years. There was an outstanding Electricity Bill of E400 which was unpaid. So  electricity was cut off and he had no electricity  5 years only Gas ,but Water was still paid in the deceased's name. Community Fees were not paid,still outstanding. Owner's Relatives did not come to claim the Apartment. English Guy now in England and Apartment  is empty. It is now in the hand of Junta de Andalucia.

 

 


This message was last edited by nigel188 on 08/09/2019.

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08 Sep 2019 10:39 by Jarvi Star rating in Halifax UK. 684 posts Send private message

If I were you I would stay put until someone contacts you. As a precaution I would bank the rent amount each month just in case someone had a legal claim against you.





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08 Sep 2019 10:50 by baz1946 Star rating. 2100 posts Send private message

You can’t help it that the owners lived in the UK and cannot pay rent to them, if as you believe the owners might have died maybe it’s also possible that they never told anyone they had property in spain.

Its not spain’s concern no rent is paid because you are paying all service costs.

Surely though a UK address is logged somewhere in spain when the house was first bought, a solicitor should be able to  throw some light on that matter, possible but unlikely the owners family believe rent is still being paid and never checked for various reasons, if you have done all you can to find the owners and keep records to prove it the worst that might happen is they want back rent and / or you out.

These service bills you pay must have an English name on them, don’t they? If so have you tried tracing the name, like with the UK tax office and other places. You really have got to in the least try and prove you have done all you can , you could stand to be chucked out of somewhere to live.

Other then my not so useful information go speak with a Spanish solicitor.





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08 Sep 2019 10:51 by Kavanagh Star rating in Oil Drum Lane Newcas.... 620 posts Send private message

Kavanagh´s avatar

This may seem a bit of a long shot, but have you thought of going to a good Spanish lawyer and asking his/her advice and what is your legal status occupying this property.



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08 Sep 2019 11:03 by Berlynne Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Thanks Jarvi and Nigel,

I have quite a good lump sum of savings in my account, as I haven't been drawing out the rent each month, so I am well covered in that respect.

I have spent money in maintaining the property that would have been at the expense of the owner, also the community charges have been paid and suma, which as a renter I would not have to pay them.

I have all receipts.

The president of the community has been taking an interest in my situation, as in wanting to contact the owner.

There a few empty properties that were ,'abandonded' for years, that have been brought back into use as holiday lets.

I have the feeling that he would love to get his hands on my home to do the same.

I cannot understand why he is so interested, as all the charges are up to date 

My question is, would the community or presidents be able to vote me out, and take over what could be a nice little earner?

 


This message was last edited by Berlynne on 08/09/2019.



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08 Sep 2019 11:10 by Jarvi Star rating in Halifax UK. 684 posts Send private message

I am not a lawyer, but as far as I am aware as long as the community fees etc are paid the community cannot get any legal route to re-possess the property. (On our community we have several non-payers and it is taking an age to get them repossessed)

 





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08 Sep 2019 11:15 by Berlynne Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Thanks again Jarvi

That's sort of what I thought, basically his power is limited in respect of issues not directly related to the smooth financial running and harmony in the community.

Have a great Sunday.

 


This message was last edited by Berlynne on 08/09/2019.



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08 Sep 2019 16:38 by angeleyes1 Star rating in Camposol & Bradford. 336 posts Send private message

angeleyes1´s avatar

I do not see how anyone can re-possess anything they never possessed. Although anyone can apply through the courts for a charge over an asset due to an unpaid debt.

I suppose, providing community fees and utility fees are paid you can live there forever rent free until either the owner or his/her beneficiaries decide otherwise.smiley



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09 Sep 2019 01:10 by ads Star rating. 3851 posts Send private message

If there was an outstanding mortgage on the property then the Bank could repossess the property and would be content if the bills were being paid in the interim until such time as they achieved a sale? Would the community know if the Bank had repossessed the property?

So the question then becomes can a Bank sell a repossessed property when there is an existing tenant ( albeit not able to pay rent due to extraordinary circumstances), but paying the community bills and suma ( with proof of receipts)?  Would the tenant be protected under these circumstances or perhaps this only applies if a rental contract existed and had been registered? 

A trusted lawyer should be able to advise...

 





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09 Sep 2019 08:50 by angeleyes1 Star rating in Camposol & Bradford. 336 posts Send private message

angeleyes1´s avatar

The OP has made no mention of a mortgage, so why invent one? The OP has no rental contract so is not the legal tenant, he is just occupying the property.

Tenant Definition: A person to whom a landlord grants temporary and exclusive use of land or a part of a building, usually in exchange for rent. "A tenant is one who holds, uses or enjoys the property of another with his consent or by his permission"



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09 Sep 2019 13:01 by ads Star rating. 3851 posts Send private message

No “invention” re mortgage, just a query in case that might be another complicating factor to consider in this scenario.

Good luck Berlynne. Sounds like you are trying to do your utmost given the background  to this sounds pretty complex.





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09 Sep 2019 15:27 by angeleyes1 Star rating in Camposol & Bradford. 336 posts Send private message

angeleyes1´s avatar

My apologises ads, I never thought of bringing the Spanish banks into the thread.devil



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09 Sep 2019 15:55 by ads Star rating. 3851 posts Send private message

All part of an essential educative process to try and comprehend the various complexities and impacts with open minds Angeleyes1. 

;)

Keep us posted of what transpires Berlynne.





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