As property administrators we know that nowadays squatting is a latent problem in our society that affects an increasing number of communities and owners to whom we provide administration services. Squatting can be a big headache for the property owner and in some cases, it reaches macro-social levels as it happens in Madrid or Barcelona. This article summarises a series of tips to avoid the occupation of your property or to manage it successfully if it has already happened.
In this article we will not deal with the legal, social and economic causes and consequences that have led to a marked increase in squatting. There are a multitude of opinions about what this phenomenon or social movement is, which is identified with this word coined in the 1980s. From a measure to alleviate social injustice to simple opportunism, everyone has a different perception.
In the event of an illegal occupation that occurs in the building, it is highly recommended that the community of neighbours or the property of the building has a property administrator who can advise and help in the steps to prevent and resolve situations of this type.
Tips on how to avoid squatting
The measures we recommend to prevent squatting fall into three broad areas:
- Keeping dwellings occupied.
- Visit them frequently: coordinate with neighbours if this is not possible.
- Maintain security measures on doors and windows and an alarm.
In cases of second homes or real estate assets that are unfinished or closed due to legal disputes or with financial institutions such as SAREB it is important to ensure that the last two recommendations are strictly applied. These are the type of property most likely to be occupied.
Measures to manage an occupation that is already taking place
- Mediation: in certain cases a mediation process can lead to a private contract that recognises a series of rights and obligations for both parties, this can be a first step to regularise the relationship as a tenant or a voluntary abandonment of the property. The objective is to end the conflict and avoid having to go to court to recover the peaceful possession of the property.
- Eviction: an eviction process can always be initiated, which sometimes ends with the eviction of the squatters by the judicial procession with the help of the security forces. This process is costly and, due to the saturation of the judicial system, slow. Depending on the size of the squat, this can also be a process with high emotional and image costs.
- Insurance policies: a rental payment protection insurance policy and a good multi-risk insurance policy that covers possible damages and expenses that may be necessary to face, will undoubtedly be of great help when the time comes to cover the expenses that this type of situation entails.
If you are the owner or co-owner of a building or property and you want to know how to protect it or manage a situation of this type, do not hesitate, we can help you.