Malaga lawyer Luis Quiñones says the law needs to be changed. "In other countries, squatters would be arrested," he says, "but not in Spain".
It seems the Spanish government now sees the need for a change and announced this week that it is introducing measures to help owners to evict people who are occupying their property illegally.
The new measures will apply to main residences, holiday homes and vacant properties, although for the latter they differ depending on whether the owner is a person or a company.
Breaking into and occupying a property which is somebody's home or holiday residence is considered more serious than that of a vacant property, because it violates the owner's privacy.
In this case, courts will be able to order that squatters be evicted as a precautionary measure before the legal proceedings have been completed, where there are "solid indications" that somebody has broken into the property and is occupying it illegally, that there is evidence that the owner's rights are being affected and that this reasonably justifies the unlawful situation being brought to an end. The measure must be 'proportionate' and does not apply if the occupants of the property have been given permission by the owners to be there.
In the case of empty properties, a swift eviction order may be granted if they are owned by an individual or non-profit-making company of public interest, and it can be shown that the squatters are contravening the property owner's rights. Where the property is not used or expected to be used, not for sale or being reformed, the owner may apply to evict the squatters as long as a further set of conditions are also fulfilled.
If a vacant property is owned by a company, an eviction order may be applied for when it is found that there is an effective risk of the property being damaged. However, the condition that the property is not being used and there are no plans to use it will also apply.
Another change is that swift evictions may be granted before the end of legal proceedings even if the squatters are classified as being in an especially vulnerable situation.