Tuesday, 7th July 2020
LEGAL Article

This Month's Magazine
Squatters in your Spanish property?

Squatters in your Spanish property?

“What can you do when your tenant stops paying the rent?”. By Des Sparkes LLB.LLM, members of their local Spanish Law Societies and the English Solicitor is also a member of the Law Society of England & Wales.

With so many vacant properties on sale, renting has become an attractive alternative in the attempt to recover part of the investment made in a property.
However renting a property in Spain is somewhat more risky than doing so in the UK. This is due to two main reasons. On the one part the law is incredibly one sided in favour of tenants and at the same time legal action through the Courts can be painfully slow.

Regrettably, this sad state of affairs is taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who make use of the law to gain free accommodation for as long as possible.
Remember that if you have a tenant in your Spanish property and he does not pay your rent there is only one official action that can be taken and that is to evict him legally by taking action in the Spanish Courts. A slow process that can take up to one year to achieve and, in addition to the loss of rent, you will also have to endure the legal costs. Bear in mind that while he occupies the property, you have no access to it and the tenant could also be causing damage that eventually may be expensive to put right.  

It is infuriating, but you must not take any action yourself. Any threats, use of force to evict, cutting of of water and electricity services are considered illegal by the Spanish Courts, and any landlord using such methods may even find himself being arrested.

The only action available under these circumstances is to consult a lawyer and start immediate eviction proceedings. The object is to get the rogue out of the property as soon as possible and regain possession.


This is not meant to discourage you from renting, not every tenant is a rogue but do make sure and check the tenant before agreeing to let him rent your property. Ask for proof of income, pay slips, bank references. You can even do a credit check. Make sure your rent is paid in advance and even take one, two if you can, months deposit.

Some insurance companies underwrite the risk of non paying tenants; the premium may be high but it is well worth taking when you consider the other options. Any way the insurance would make the necessary check and even cover the legal costs of an eviction order.

A rental contract for 11 months does not necessarily mean that it is a short term rental agreement, all the tenant has to do is to prove that your property is his only main residence and the short term contract is out of the window. Get a lawyer to prepare you rental agreement to make sure that you are as protected as you can be.   

This is article is intended to provide some general useful information. You must always contact a qualified lawyer who can advise on your own specific case.

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Average score: 3.00/5
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Squatters Rights

Very frustrating. Spanish property law regarding ownership dates back to the Romans and is still applied to this day. It was designed to favour invading cohorts to quickly take possession and expand the Roman empire. Unbelievable. One solution maybe to consider becoming the squatter. Wait until your squatter leaves the property and without forcing entry enter the property, change locks etc and effectively become the squatter. Be prepared, have drills screwdrivers new locks at the ready. Good luck.

Rated: 3/5 (9th July 2016)

Spanish property law

Why don't the Spanish Bar Associations, corporate real estate groups, lobbyists etc. get together, influence the politicians and help pass a law which will protect property rights of owners against squatters and rogue tenants?! This state of affairs is self defeating for Spain and Spanish people not to say the foreigners who want to legally buy and reside/rest in Spain!!! Crazy! Do something Spaniards! Your country needs to have some strong decent laws for all not only for the poor and the lower middle class.

Rated: 3/5 (14th June 2016)

Editor's comments: Property owners have as much protection from squatters in Spain as they have in UK. What you have to do is go to court and get an order. If you ned the property for yourself , it is the quickest way to get iut back.

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