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Old 07-03-2018, 08:00 AM
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Default Canarian Weekly:

THE Spanish Government has approved specific measures against squatters who illegally occupy private property, leaving them cornered, because they will have to prove ownership with a title deed, or be evicted.

If sufficient justification is not forthcoming, a court will order immediate repossession of the home, with no chance of appeals from squatters.
This is a drastic change to previous squatters’ rights, which allowed them to fight the case in court, and, on average, gain another 15 months of free living in the property.

Under the new rules, however, a fast-track procedure has been introduced, enabling owners to get rid of the squatters in a matter of weeks.

Also, under the changes, the law states that the rules prevent the “extortion” of the owner, which means the squatters cannot ask for financial compensation to move out, as is usually the case.

This extortion move is often conducted by “very organised

mafia-style networks”, stresses the law.

Courts will now serve notice to squatters, identified or not, which gives them five days to produce a rental agreement, or any other document, enabling them, legally, to remain in the property.

Failure to find this will lead to the Courts issuing an immediate eviction notice. In addition, under the new law, the Courts must observe the following:
*Squatters will have no rights, other than to produce a valid agreement to cover their stay in the property. Opposing any application to have them evicted will not stop the process

*Squatters will have no right of appeal, and will be evicted immediately
*Social Services will be on stand-by, in case of the eviction of children, the elderly or people with special needs
*The reform will affect only properties whose owners are “private individuals, non-profit and public agencies, which own social housing”. It omits properties held by banks and investment funds.
These measures will become applicable this summer, 20 days after the publication of the law reform in the Official Gazette.

It seems that evictions here in the South are picking up, because no fewer than 17 families, all squatters, were kicked out of a San Isidro apartment block, earlier this month.

The mass exit followed a complaint by the owner, and a subsequent court order. But seven families, which included children and elderly, were seen as vulnerable, with little or no financial resources.

These families, prioritised because of their circumstances, have already been re-homed, and the older folk placed in centres for the elderly.

Of course, there is another way of banishing squatters from your property, as 67-year-old Margaret Askew-Eastwood demonstrated last October.

She had popped into her new Golf del Sur home, which was being refurbished, to collect her mail. But she discovered that a family of Romanians had settled in there.

“I noticed that the front door was slightly ajar, and,

as I went to examine it, I saw a well-dressed young man, standing in the doorway,” she recalled. “I asked him what he was doing there, and he said, arrogantly, ‘We live here. We moved in three weeks ago’.

“I was livid… how dare they impose themselves on my home, I thought. An older woman and a couple of younger girls also appeared as I pushed the door open and saw sleeping bags all over the floor.

“I was so angry that I screamed at them to get out, but the woman said they had nowhere to go. I shouldered my way past her and started throwing their belongings into the garden, all the time ranting at them.

“To my surprise and relief, they started packing up their bits and pieces, loaded them into a car and drove off.”

Margaret, a devout churchgoer, added: “Thank goodness something is being done about these squatters at long last.

“It’s not right that they are allowed to take over someone’s house and live in it for nothing.”
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