Squatters! What to do to evict them.

Published in the State Bulletin on the 12th of June 2018, in force as of the 2nd of July 2018, a new law, an amendment of the Civil Justice Code, to have squatters removed quickly. Especially targeted at certain individuals or organisations, occupying empty properties and only agreeing to leave in exchange for often substantial sums of money.

Available to private property owners, charity organisations or public administrations when properties that are in the social housing programme have been occupied by squatters.

When you find your property occupied by squatters, so individuals you do not know, have had no dealings with before and have certainly not authorised to live in your property, you need to ´file a demanda´ with the courts to have them removed. As proof of ownership, present title deeds for example. The squatters will be notified and have 5 days to present paperwork to prove their legal occupation of the property. If they can’t or don’t respond within that time frame, the judge will order immediate expulsion from the property. There is no possibility to appeal the ruling. We highly recommend instructing a legal professional with experience in this field to assist you with this.

If the squatters have been identified and the local authorities are aware that they are in a situation of ´social vulnerability´ then Social Services of the locality can be involved to try and organise ´protective measures´ within 7 days. But only if the squatters have given prior consent for them to be involved.

This new law cannot be used to evict tenants that have stopped paying the rent, or by banks with property portfolios, nor property developers. They would have to go through regular, more time consuming, channels.