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Tips for keeping your empty Spanish home safe while you're away

The Local Spain
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Tips for keeping your empty Spanish home safe while you're away
Follow these tips to help you keep your Spanish property safe while you're away. Photo: Daniel Nouri/Pexels

If you're going on holiday or leaving your home for an extended period of time, here's what you need to know about keeping your empty Spanish home safe while you're away.

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If you’re planning on leaving your Spanish home empty for a while, you’ll no doubt want to make sure it's safe both from burglars and squatters. 

During the first three quarters of 2023, there were 90,258 burglaries reported in Spain.

The places where the majority of home robberies took place were Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia and Valencia.  

In terms of squatting, in 2023 Catalonia continued to be the region with by far the most okupas (squatters), with about 40 percent of the national total, interior ministry figures show.

Below are some of our top tips for keeping your home safe while you're away. 

1) Rent it out

If you're going to be away for a substantial amount of time, one of the best ways of keeping your home safe is to rent it out. You could choose to only rent it out for the specific amount of time you'll be away if you don't want to organise a long-term let. Be aware that it's not always legal in Spain to rent out your home on a short-term basis to tourists, unless you have a tourist licence. 

READ ALSO - EXPLAINED: What are Spain’s rules and taxes for Airbnb rentals?

2) Organise a house sitter 

If you're not able to rent your property out, another option is to get someone to house sit for you. Housesitting is an agreement whereby you let someone live in your house for free for the time you're away, in exchange for looking after your property, and usually your pets too. You can also ask them to do small jobs like watering your plants and looking after your garden. There are several housesitting websites where you can advertise your property.  Many of them accept house sits in Spain. These companies will also help sort out house-sitting contracts and you can review potential house sitters to see what reviews previous owners have given them. 

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3) Make it look as though someone is living there

If you don't want people living in your house, the most common piece of advice is to make it seem like the property is inhabited. This might mean setting a timer on some of the lights in your house or getting someone to pick up your post. You can also ask a neighbour or a friend to keep an eye on the property or stop by on a regular basis to open the blinds once in a while, turn on some lights and make it look lived in. 

4) Invest in security measures

If you're going to be away for a considerable amount of time and can't ask neighbours or rent it out, then your best bet is to install some extra security measures. This could include a full surveillance system, a simple security camera, an alarm or even a reinforced door. There are many different security companies in Spain offering a range of services. Even phone and internet provider Movistar now offers security cameras as an add-on to their deals.

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5) Join a neighbourhood watch

If you live in a community or residential area, think about joining some type of community watch scheme, where neighbours are in charge of looking out for each other's properties. 

6) Inform security guards

If you live in a complex with security guards, you may want to inform them that you'll be away so that they can keep an extra eye on your property.  

7) Check your insurance

Check your home insurance policy to make sure that it's still valid if you're going to be away for an extended period of time. Some insurance policies only cover an unoccupied house for up to 30 days at a time. If you're going to be away for longer, you may need to look at getting some other type of insurance. 

8) Turn off appliances

This one doesn't have so much to do with burglaries or squatters, but just to be on the safe side, it's a good idea to unplug appliances. This will save you from having to pay more on your electricity bill when items are not being used and will also mean the appliances are not a fire risk. 

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