Second homes, houses for sale or investment fund properties are the main targets for squatting. This phenomenon, which has spread in recent years both in Spain and in the Valencian Community, has caused thousands of families to consider take action in recognition that uncouple a property has become a veritable judicial maze.
This is recognised by both legal experts and owners who have experienced illegal intrusions first hand and who agree that it is necessary to toughen the penalties and provide more means both judges and the State Security Forces and Corps, which in general can hardly act nowadays, so that they can intervene without great delays in time. The fact is that the reality today is that if the usurpers do not agree to leave the home of their own free will It is very expensive to force them to take this step and if one bets on filing a complaint and going to court, since in most cases it is considered a civil offence, the whole process can take up to a year. And in the end? Well, the whole journey usually ends with a penalty of a fine which is often not assumed when the usurper becomes insolvent.
A Valencian who has experienced this situation at first hand is Cristina Izquierdo and has regretted it on both a professional and personal level. This promoter had to face different squats in her company’s homes in Ibiza and regrets “that justice was so slow that we had to take the initiative». “In one case we were able to evict the man through dialogue but in three others they refused and we filed complaints but when the summonses arrived only one house was still occupied and the trial did not resolve anything“, says this Valencian woman, who points out that in her La Cañada urbanization they also lived through another similar episode. On this occasion, it was not her home but an investment fund that no one was claiming and therefore not even a complaint could be filed by the residents since only the owner of the infrastructure could do so. In fact, the squatting ended when they committed another crime and then the police could intervene.
The police are not allowed to evict a house without a warrant, which often takes months
This phenomenon has not disappeared with the pandemic, as noted by one family of Paterna who prefers not to be identified. The brothers had a house for sale and one day the neighbors informed them that they saw light inside at night and alerted the police. After the usurpation, the complaints began and ended up in two trials since during the period of the assault there was first one family and then two young people. Both sentences resulted in fines and in the second case in the eviction. A conviction that they considered Insufficient for all the trouble it’s caused.
A social problem
José Domingo Monforte, director of Domingo Monforte Abogados Asociados, shares this opinion and assures that he has seen how in the last few years increased the number of customers who come to your office looking for help in evicting a home from their property. “We believe that it has become a social problem,” says the lawyer, who believes that there are no sufficiently harsh penalties to help discourage this practice and, furthermore, the fact that the legal process generally lasts for months does not help. “What cannot be is that after all the process and several people have been living in your house, the trial ends with a penalty of one a fine that will never be paid because they become insolvent“, sentence.