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The Spanish government has introduced a new law that will overhaul certain aspects of the so-called ‘Express Eviction’ laws introduced in 2009 to speed-up the existing eviction process that saw non-paying tenants able to delay having to leave the property for well over a year. It is hoped that the rental market will thereby be improved and may therefore be of interest to those interested in buying property in Spain.
The 2009 law was considered to be ineffective due to the fact that, despite permitting an eviction to take place within 60 days, this rarely if ever happened. This has been put down to the fact that, despite a surge in the number of eviction proceedings (primarily a result of the economic crisis) there has been no increase in the number of personnel to effect judgments.
The new laws aim to speed-up certain processes and eliminate those considered to be unnecessary. As soon as the landlord presents the demand for payment of rent and it is accepted by the court, the tenant has merely 10 days to either pay the rent, leave the property or respond to the demand on the basis that the monies are not in fact owed.
In the document issued by the court to the tenant the hearing date for any proceedings (should the tenant allege that the monies are not owed) are set as well as the specific eviction date. Should the tenant require legal aid, this must be requested within three days.
If the tenant leaves the property without paying, the judicial proceedings will go ahead on the petition of the landlord to recover the debt. If the tenant does nothing – does not respond or leave – the eviction will proceed on the date specified in the court document, without the need for any judicial proceedings.
It remains to be seen if the new laws, which are already in effect will have the desired impact. While they should improve the rental market by providing more security to potential landlords, they will no doubt affect those tenants affected by the continuing economic crisis and who, due to unemployment, are unable to pay the rent each month.