Palma police outside a squat. | Policia Local de Palma


The API association of real estate agents in the Balearics says that property owners are becoming increasingly concerned that they might rent out to 'tenant-squatters', people who pay a couple of months' rent and then stop paying it. The association's Natalia Bueno points out that these people are taking advantage of a situation permitted by Spain's housing law.

This is despite the fact that some legal opinion argues that a fraud under the Penal Code is being committed. Rental contracts now being drawn up, explains Bueno, include a clause stating that the landlord reserves the right to pursue relevant legal actions if the tenant stops paying the rent.

The possibility of this situation arising is a reason why owners, if they rent out at all, are opting for seasonal rents, e.g. a few months over the summer to workers in Mallorca temporarily.

They are also taking out insurance against the risks of non-payment and squatting. Or they simply decide to sell the property.