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Three measures to protect our house from squatters and thieves.

Prevention is key to stopping the illegal occupation of our home for sale or closed during good part of the year. Take note of these ideas and put them into practice.

The illegal occupation of homes in Spain constitutes a threat to any property owner. According to data from the Spanish Ministry of Interior, in recent years the increase in this type of crime has been exponential: today there are about 33 cases a day throughout the country, while five years ago were reported only 21. Given this scenario, if we have an uninhabited house, we must take precautions, especially if we are thinking of selling an apartment, since to recover it we could have to take the case to justice. In this article we give three tips to protect our home from squatters and of course thieves.

 

1. Visit the house frequently and be discreet

One of the ways to scare the squatters is to create the impression that the house or apartment is inhabited. Therefore, if our routine and distance allows it, it is advisable to visit the house with some regularity to be able to carry out actions that serve as a mistake, such as collecting letters from the mailbox, turning on the lights and raising the blinds.

If we cannot go to the house because we are in another city, we can leave the keys to a relative, friend or neighbour to go around the apartment or villa from time to time. According to the Spanish National Police, it is convenient to rely on a person of our trust in order to do distraction work and it does not appear that the house is uninhabited.

There are gadgets that can turn lights on or open shutters etc from an app and can be activated from any part in the world as long as you have Wi-Fi.

On the other hand, security experts advise that, if we are in a situation of possible vulnerability, we should avoid giving too many details about our circumstances and the steps we take every day. Although we love to share stories on Instagram or Facebook with regards to our trips, it is important to be careful with making public that we do are not in the apartment because of a holiday, we want to sell or we are far from it.

We must bear in mind that most of the illegal occupations are planned: squatters carefully study their victims to find out the best time to attack. Therefore, the movements and information that we publish in our social networks can serve as a guide to the best moment hit. Moreover, when our accounts are public.

 

2. Install a sturdy lock and secure doors and windows

If our apartment has an old door, it is advisable to change the lock and install a solid one, resistant to violent attacks and tricks. Some locksmith companies offer several “armoured” options, prices ranging from 200 to 700 euros, (there are even more expensive) depending on the level of robustness required and the complexity of the system.

In addition, if the house is located on a ground floor, we must reinforce the windows and doors that overlook the terrace or patio. To do this, we can install locks or internal safety locks that make opening difficult. Thus the criminals will have to devote more time and effort to get through the windows or, failing that, break them with the risk of being discovered by the neighbors.

 

3. Hire an alarm system and security cameras.

This is the safest way to protect our home and save us dislikes. If we hire the services of a security company, we will have a whole team monitoring our house 24 hours a day. In addition, they put at our disposal all the leading technology necessary to detect intrusion attempts, trigger the alarm at the slightest danger signal and promptly notify the police.

On the other hand, thanks to the security cameras installed on the apartment, they can visualize what is happening inside the house and keep a record of it, which can serve as reliable evidence to report a possible occupation. Another advantage is that they allow us to track and view images of the interior of our house from the mobile at any time we want.

The price of an alarm and security system will depend on the company chosen. But, in general, the cost of installing the mechanism can be around 250 euros. In addition to this, in most cases, we must pay a monthly fee for the service that ranges between 30 euros and 60 euros, depending on the type contracted.

In short, if the apartment we want to sell is unoccupied, it is vital to take all the precautions that are in our hands to protect it from possible occupations. These simple tips can help us in the task and, although some measures represent an expense, this will be much less than we will have to face if we are victims of squatters.

 

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Al ser imposible conocer en profundidad cada caso, todos los consejos y contestaciones a la preguntas realizadas en este blog, los consejos dados son propiciado en términos generales por lo que se deberá contrastar con el asesoramiento privado de un abogado  y/o un arquitecto para estudiar en profundidad su caso.

As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.