The government has made important changes to the regulation, seeking to protect vulnerable families on alert (until 9 May). This change, which comes as a surprise, comes barely a month after activating the ban on evictions.
Specifically, the Royal Decree, which was passed to introduce the disadvantaged status, was published in the Official Gazette (BOE) on 20 January this week, and revised article 1bis of the Royal Decree. . 37/2020, approved by the Council of Ministers on 22 December and published in the BOE the following day, which also prevents evictions of “squatters” who have committed a crime, something that was not contemplated in the regulations until now.
Such a rapid and far-reaching revision will bring great uncertainty to investors. It is the regulations that were implemented last year that treat families affected by the coronavirus crisis, families who have experienced financial problems before the pandemic and tenants without home ownership as vulnerable groups (i.e. squatters), provided circumstances exist.
If people are squatting or squatting in properties without violence or intimidation, and prove that their vulnerability as a family is proven (for example, if they have dependents or minors in guardianship, if they are dependents or people who have suffered gender-based violence), and the property is not a habitual residence, nor a second home, nor a property ceded to third parties, the eviction will be paralysed.
On the other hand, the BOE details that, following the update, “the title and paragraph 1 of article 1 bis are modified, which are worded as follows:
Article 1a. Suspension during the state of alarm of the eviction procedure and evictions for economically vulnerable people without a housing alternative in the cases of sections 2, 4 and 7 of article 250.1 of Law 1/2000, of 7 January, on Civil Proceedings, and in those other cases in which the eviction is the result of criminal proceedings”.
1. From the entry into force of this Royal Decree-Law and until the end of the state of alarm declared by Royal Decree 926/2020, of 25th October, declaring the state of alarm to contain the spread of infections caused by SARS-CoV-2, extended by Royal Decree 956/2020, of 3rd November, in all oral trials in which the claims referred to in sections 2. º, 4.º and 7.º of article 250.1 of Law 1/2000, of 7 January, on Civil Proceedings, and in those other criminal proceedings in which the launch of the habitual residence of those persons who are inhabiting it without any authorisation to do so is substantiated, the judge will have the power to suspend the launch until the end of the state of alarm. These suspension measures, which are established on an extraordinary and temporary basis, shall cease to have effect in any case as soon as the state of alarm declared by Royal Decree 926/2020, of 25 October, extended by Royal Decree 956/2020, of 3 November, comes to an end”.
Article 1a(7)(b) and (c) are amended as follows:
b) When it has taken place in a property owned by a natural or legal person who has ceded it by any legally valid title to a natural person who has his or her habitual residence or duly accredited second residence there.
c) When the entry or stay in the property has taken place by means of intimidation or violence against persons.
On the other hand, in the previous version, the last point was literally determined as “when entering or remaining in a property is the consequence of a crime”. On the other hand, point b has been added as a natural person, because the text of the December decree is as follows, “When it has taken place in a property owned by a legal person who has ceded it by any valid legal title to a natural person who has his or her habitual residence or duly accredited second residence there”.
The Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma) indicates that the change in point c (which goes from the consequence of a crime to intimidation or violence against people) responds to the objective of providing coverage only and exclusively when the occupation (classified as a crime) is within one of these three vulnerable groups: a victim of gender-based violence, who has minors in their care or dependents, or who are dependent”. In addition, and in an attempt to temper tempers, they insist that the paralysation of the proceedings is not automatic, but depends ultimately on the judges, and that it is an extraordinary measure that will only last until 9 May, when the state of alarm ends.
They also emphasised that the government’s aim is that, in the current circumstances, no family in financial hardship (regardless of whether there is a lease in place) will be evicted. If they are a vulnerable invader, but enter or remain in the property with intimidation or violence, the eviction process will follow its normal procedures. In other words, the judge cannot stop the eviction.
Which evictions end and which evictions continue
During the state of alert (which is expected to end on 9 May), evict vulnerable families and slums (victims of gender violence, dependents or (responsible minors) who can prove their extreme security conditions), and provide them with the corresponding report from the service agency The only exception is the one foreseen in article 1bis, paragraph 7 c mentioned above: if the appropriation takes place by intimidation or violence against persons.
Another assumption that the law considers in order to be able to evict, is that when an illegal occupation takes place in a property owned by a natural person, if the property has a habitual residence or an officially recognised second residence in the property, it does not affect the dwelling in which the person lives. even if the person has several properties.
If there is prima facie evidence that the house is being used for illegal activities, the eviction will continue. When the occupation of the dwelling has taken place after the entry into force of the royal decree; or if it is a public or private property destined for public housing, and the dwelling has been ceded to the applicant by the competent department or entity that manages the housing.
In addition, as in the new wording of the Royal Decree, the last situation in which expulsion can be carried out is the effective legal title of a natural person with a suitable residence or second residence among the property owned by a natural or legal person to which it is transferred by any person.
Does the compensation to owners remain unchanged?
What remains unchanged is the financial compensation to affected property owners. Specifically, the regulations approved in December take into account that the maximum period for the government and public services to find housing is three months. The tenant is the one who must present a request for an extension, the court will be in charge of requesting the municipal department of social services to present a report accrediting the person’s vulnerability, while the autonomous community will have to look for other options. If this is not resolved, the owner is entitled to receive compensation equivalent to the rent in the area where the property is located as determined by the price index of the Ministry of Housing, and must apply for it himself.
A nonsense that could leave real estate investment badly damaged, if it was not already.