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Tips for leaving your Spanish home empty while you’re away

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.

Spanish home
Leaving your Spanish home empty. Photo: holzijue / Pixabay

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. 

Although home robberies fell during the height of the pandemic, you still need to protect your home as break-ins still remain common in many places in Spain.

According to the latest figures, there were 54,310 forced entry robberies in 2021 in Spain and 349,433 thefts in general.

Although robberies can occur anywhere in Spain, they are most common in big cities. In 2021, the places where the majority of home robberies took place were Catalonia, Madrid, Andalusia and Valencia.  

Squatting or okupas in Spanish, rose by 18 percent in Spain last year. According to Spain’s Interior Ministry, there were 13,389 cases in 2021 until September (the latest data available). Catalonia was the region with the most squats at 5,689, 42 percent of the total number. This was followed by Madrid with 1,282 cases, then Andalusia with 1,994 cases. 

READ ALSO: How to stop squatters from moving into your empty home in Spain

Here 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. 

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.

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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For members


How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive

One of the most common questions people moving to Spain ask is where they can rent temporary accommodation while looking for somewhere more permanent. This can be particularly tricky, but we've found some of the best places to look.

How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive

So you’ve sorted out your visas, you’ve done all your packing and have either sold or moved out of your home, but when you arrive in Spain you’re not exactly sure where you’re going to stay.  

Of course, it’s not the best idea to sign a contract ahead of time for a more permanent place before you’ve actually seen it in person. Photos don’t always accurately represent what the house or apartment looks like in reality and you won’t really be able to get a feel for the neighbourhood without being there. 

On top of this, rental scams are rife in some places in Spain, particularly in the bigger more popular cities like Barcelona. Often people will place an ad (which usually looks too good to be true) and get you to wire over a deposit to secure it in advance, but here’s the catch – the place doesn’t usually exist.

This is why it’s important to never hand over money to secure a place to live in Spain before you’ve actually seen it in person and you can get the keys as soon as you sign the contract.

But, finding a place to live in a new country can be difficult and it can take time, so while you look for somewhere, you’re going to need temporary accommodation for a couple of months. This can be tricky too because often temporary accommodation is geared towards tourists and you’ll be paying tourist prices too.

While Idealista and Fotocasa are two of the most popular sites to look for accommodation in Spain, when you only want somewhere for a couple of months, there’s no point looking there, as most places will have yearly contracts.

Keep in mind with short-term rentals for a couple of months, you’re going to be paying higher than the average monthly rent, however, for this, the apartments are usually fully furnished, including kitchen utensils, wi-fi already connected and offer you the flexibility of shorter contracts.

Short-term rental agencies

Specialised short-term rental agencies are the best way to go, which will allow you to sign contacts for less than the typical one year. These types of agencies are usually found in Spain’s big cities that are popular with foreigners, such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Trying searching in Spanish too by typing alquiler de temporada or alquiler temporal plus the name of the city or town you’re looking in. This way you may be able to find places that offer better value. 


In Barcelona, check out aTemporal an agency that started up precisely to fix the problem of trying to find accommodation in-between tourist accommodation and long-term rentals. They rent out apartments for anywhere from 32 days to 11 months.

ShBarcelona is another agency that specialises in these types of rentals and have properties all over the city.

READ ALSO – Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in


In Madrid, try DFLAT, which was created by two professionals from the Instituto de Empresa University after discovering the difficulties professionals and foreigners found when looking for an apartment in Madrid. Sh also has a good branch in Madrid.  


In Valencia, Dasha Living Space has both short and long-term fully furnished flats available and  Valenvi Flats also offers rentals for between three and six months.

READ ALSO – Moving to Valencia: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in


While the nightly rate of Airbnb apartments is typically too expensive to rent for a couple of months, you may be able to find some deals. Often when you input dates for a month into Airbnb, you’ll find that several places have a monthly discount offered. Also, some owners will do a deal for a couple of months. If it’s winter for example and they know they’re not going to get many tourists anyway, they may be willing to negotiate.


Like Airbnb, the properties on Vrbo are rented out directly by the owners. While the site is also mainly focused on tourists, some owners may negotiate outside of the tourist season.


If you’re willing to try something a little bit different, then housesitting could be the way to go. This is where you live in somebody’s house for free, in exchange for looking after their pets and their property.

Often people only need someone for a few days, but sometimes you’ll see house sits available for a month or longer. This is perhaps a better option for those who are flexible on where they might want to live and are trying out a few different places. It’s also better for those wanting to live in smaller towns or villages rather than the bigger cities, as there are fewer postings for these popular locations. Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House are good options.