Okupas: a brief summary of occupancy in Spain
Por Carolina - 6 min de lectura
Okupa, a nightmare word for property owners spread everywhere in the Spanish territory. “Okupa” is the Spanish term for an property occupant that doesn’t hold any type of legal contract on a property but uses it against the owner will. But, where does this phenomenom come from? Why is it so hard to get rid of “Okupas”? As a property owner, what can I do to avoid occupancy?
Okupa, the origin
Abandoned properties’ occupation has long lasted in Spain and was very popular during the hippie years in the 60’s and 70’s. But oKupancy with a “K” was born furing the 80’s as a social protest movement against capitalism and waste. It was a fight for the constitutional right of property ownership in the midst of a property crisis in teh 80s.
The oKupancy social movement defends the use of abandoned land or buildings for social and neighborhood cultural hubs. Ideally, the movement is not aiming to steel someone’s property but giving a use to something not being in use or that has been foreclosed as a measure against banks.
Moral limits of the social grounds of the movement meet with other occupancy networks that profit from letting ocupied building or properties into illegal renting contracts or selling the occupancy right which can take years into the SPanish bureaucracy.
This means we face two types of occupation, an illegal occupation which just breaks into a property and the oKupation which seeks a political or social protest.
Spanish legal aspects of Okupation
The Spanish Constitution recognizes the right to private property (article 33) and the right to a proper home (article 47) which clash on Spanish Courts when owner rights meet any citizen’s constitutional rights to a home.
Violating a private property right by okupation of an abandoned premise is fined in the Code in its article 245.2 “That who occupies, without the proper authorization, a home, property, or building for a different purpose than using it as a home, or that who witholds the property agains the owner’s will, will be punished with a fine from three to six months…”
Among other factos, the use violence or threatening to obtain the owner’s authorization against the owner’s real will to consent the occupancy is analyzed.
Unfortunately, experience show us that police finally evicts occupants ranging from 6 motnhs up to 3 years after and active “life” in the occupied property. Spanish bureaucracy is very slow and courts struggle with the constitutional rights interpretation.
What can I do as a property owner in Spain?
Our basic recommendation is avoid this situation to happen. But how?
For instance you may install an antioccupancy door or installing an alarm. Request a free quote of security and alarm service adapted to your property (we do have it in our online store).
If your property is already occupied, you will need a lawyer. You may obtain an online legal advisory service with a PhD in Real Estate Law via zoom to check out your possibilities.