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It can take six months or more to evict a non-paying tenant

  • If the situation becomes difficult because the tenant has stopped paying the rent, you can take them to court

If the situation becomes difficult because the tenant has stopped paying the rent, you can take them to court.

In fact, that is the only way of evicting them from your property. However, it is not a speedy process - it can take five or six months to complete.

“Sometimes it can take longer than that to evict a client, depending on the court which will be handling the matter,” says lawyer José Luis Galeote.

“If the court has a heavy workload and a backlog of cases waiting to be heard, you can wait a long time.”

Landlords can only evict a tenant under the Law of Urban Rentals by taking out a civil law case, not a criminal one; that is the only option.

However, people can take tenants to a criminal court in certain circumstances after they have been granted the eviction order.

For example, if the tenants have been evicted and the landlord then discovers that they have caused considerable damage to the property or have removed items from it, such as the television for example, he or she can lodge a criminal case against them.

However, this process is longer, and can often take up to two years.

The problem in both of these cases is in getting tenants to pay the rent they owe for the months they missed, or to pay for the damage they caused or the items they removed from the property.

After making its decision, the court will normally ask for some of their assets to be seized to cover those costs, but “in the vast majority of cases that doesn't work because they don't own anything. Then there is nothing that can be done,” explains José Luis.