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Anti-squatter home insurance launches in Spain

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Anti-squatter home insurance launches in Spain
Anti-squatter home insurance launched in Spain. Photo: Johannes Wünsch/Pixabay.

An 'anti-okupación' home insurance has been launched to help protect home owners against the rising problem of people squatting in empty houses.

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Direct Line is set to launch Spain's first 'anti-okupa' home insurance, which offers protection against the phenomenon of squatters occupying empty homes, a problem that is on the rise in Spain.

The insurer estimates that in 2022 there were roughly 16,700 complaints about squatters, known as 'okupas' in Spanish, which works out to around 45 every single day.

The coverage will include loss of income, accommodation for the owner, supplies, damages and legal expenses, something important as getting squatters removed from a property can be a lengthy legal process in Spain.

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

According to Spain's General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), it often takes up to a year and a half to 'unoccupy' a house - that is, get squatters removed from a property, even if you are the legal owner. In 2021, the average period that the owners waited in Spain was 18.1 months.

A homeowners group, Victims of Occupation Platform, estimates that the problem of illegal property occupation affects around 100,000 properties throughout Spain. 

The new anti-occupation coverage insurance will be formally launched and presented on Monday, June 12th, at a press conference led by Direct Line's commercial director Diego Ferreiro.

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The okupa movement has become increasingly controversial in Spain. Some okupas are cases of long-standing tenants unable to pay their rent, while others are more opportunistic squatters preying on empty properties. Some point to the more than 3 million empty properties across the country and the cost-of-living crisis as reasons to be more understanding when people can’t pay the rent.

READ ALSO: Tips for leaving your Spanish home empty while you're away

Yet Spain’s okupa movement is often much more than that, with organisations intent on exploiting legal loopholes, or individuals who own their own properties which they rent out to others whilst they occupy ones that don't belong to them.

In the ten years from 2001 to 2011, the number of empty homes in Spain increased by 336,943 (an increase of 10.8 percent) to stand at 3.4 million, according to the latest data available from the INE’s Population and Housing Census.

According to interior ministry data, more than 10,000 homes have been illegally occupied every year since 2015.

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