The Congressional Justice Commission (Comisión de Justicia del Congreso) has approved the Proposition for a Law from the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCat) to speed up the eviction of illegally squatted housing, especially by mafias. It does not affect tenants who do not pay rent. The aim is to shorten the time limits for evicting a squatter and it will only affect small-time owners, NGOs and public administrations. It will not serve banks or companies.
The PDeCat, with the support of the right-wing PP, Ciudadanos and PNV political parties, has passed this law with the intention of preventing premeditated illegal squatting for profit, i.e. they want to end the extortion of landlords to pay financial compensation for eviction in exchange for recovering their property. The aim is to put an end to the mafias that affect the flats of small property owners or even NGOs or public administrations. This proposal does not serve to evict tenants who don’t pay. For their part, the left-wing PSOE, Unidos Podemos and ERC parties voted against.
The bill provides for the amendment of article 250.1 of Law 1/2000, of 7th January, on civil proceedings, in which a paragraph 2 bis is added to regulate the possibility of an oral trial to recover possession of an illegally occupied dwelling. This is a legal route that can be used by the owner as a physical person, NGOs and public administrations. Thus, this procedural channel cannot be used by banks or other entities that own illegally occupied property.
Furthermore, the bill incorporates an amendment to article 441 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which adds a paragraph 2 bis specifying the measures to be taken by the judicial authority to enforce the eviction of persons who illegally occupy the properties listed in article 250.1 2 bis.
How will this so-called ‘express eviction’ work?
The proposed legal amendment establishes the following steps, according to Salvador Salcedo, partner of the law firm Ático Jurídico:
- Once the claim has been filed, the order shall be automatically transferred and the occupants of the property shall be notified of it for their response, and they shall be urged to immediately hand over possession to the claimant, provided that the claimant so requests and provides proof of ownership rights to the property.
- Likewise, the Court will also inform the municipal social services concerned of the opening of an illegal occupation process, so that measures can be taken if necessary.
- The occupants may object to the order within 10 days, without this impairing the effectiveness of the measure.
- If the decision in the proceedings is favourable to the applicant, it will be sufficient that they apply for its effective enforcement without the need for the 20-day waiting period for enforcement of the sentence to elapse.
Pelayo de Salvador, a lawyer at deSalvador Real Estate Lawyers, assures that the problem will not be so much a result of the time limits, which will now be brief, but rather of the court's compliance with those time limits and the occupant's compliance with the eviction order. It is possible that the squatter will stay in the property until they are forcibly removed by a court commission.
The bill will now be referred to the Senate for final approval. Granted this, it will enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official State Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado or BOE).