Squatters, or okupas, as it is known in Spain, is a phenomenon that occurs in many cities in Spain. It is a problem that affects many owners and can lead to financial and legal problems. In practice, however, we have to nuance the problem: in new buildings, for example, we see almost no cases of squatters.
Once you have a squatter occupying your home, it is extremely difficult to get them evicted. For example, you yourself will no longer have access to your own home and will not be allowed to cut off utilities. To evict okupas, you will have to start legal proceedings. Therefore, it is better to prevent squatters. Below are five tips to avoid squatters.
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1. Check the minutes of the co-owners' association
Before buying a property in an urbanisation or a flat, it is important to have the minutes of the co-owners' association checked. Usually, based on the payment arrears of owners, you can estimate whether a property is being squatted. It is also often reported whether there are squatters in the complex. As part of legal checks, we investigate and question the co-owners' association to see whether or not there has been a problem with squatters in the past. This can help you make an informed decision before purchasing the property.
2. Replace locks immediately after purchase
One of the first steps after you buy a property is to replace the locks. This is especially important if the property has been previously occupied or if other people live in the building. Especially in apartment buildings, several people may have keys. Think of different real estate agents, the previous owners, the trustee etc. Replacing the locks will prevent anyone else from having access to the property. Once the property is locked with new locks, the chances of unwanted visitors are already reduced.
3. Install an alarm system
Another important tool to avoid squatters is to install an alarm system. This can help deter squatters and can give you a timely warning if anything suspicious happens. Make sure the alarm works properly, has a stable internet connection and is loud enough to alert neighbours and nearby residents if a break-in occurs. An alarm system with 24/7 monitoring and a monitoring station is also recommended. If the internet is interrupted and you cannot monitor the property, it may be useful to have a neighbour, acquaintance or friend visit the property from time to time.
4. Make sure your property looks lived in
If your property looks lived-in, this will deter squatters. For example, make sure the pool and garden are regularly maintained.
5. Call the police immediately
Once an intruder is reported, it is crucial to call the police immediately. The After all, first 48 hours are crucial, because afterwards you can only have the squatters evicted through legal proceedings, which costs a lot of money, headaches and time. The sooner you notify the police, the better the chances that the squatters will be removed quickly and your property protected.
In conclusion, removing squatters or okupas are a serious problem in Spain. By following the above tips, you are more likely to avoid unwanted visitors.