Eviction against unknown occupants (commonly known as eviction against squatters) has its own regulation since July 2nd 2018, thanks to the so-called «anti-squatter law». In particular, it is regulated through article 250.1.4º II of the Civil Procedure Law (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil (LEC)). The deadlines are reduced, but not with the intensity that would be desirable.

Law 5/2018 came into force July 2nd 2018 (also called anti-squatter law), which regulates the eviction against unknown occupants or, what is the same, the eviction express against squats.

From that moment, it will be possible to file eviction lawsuits against squats under the «express» procedure that I would explain in this article.


The process to claim occupied housing is new since July 2, 2018 (until now the process of eviction was used by precarious article 250.1.2 of the Civil Procedure Law(LEC), but it is no longer necessary to use this process).

Specifically, it is regulated in the second paragraph (previously nonexistent) of number four of article 250.1 LEC.

That paragraph establishes «may request the immediate recovery of full possession of a home or part of it, provided that they have been deprived of it without their consent, the natural person who is a legitimate owner or holder by another title, the entities without for profit with the right to own it and the public entities that own or have legitimate social housing «.

It is, therefore, a verbal process.

Who and to whom to file the claim

Active legitimization (who can put the demand for eviction): the demand can be interposed, by private owners who have seen that someone has occupied their home without their consent.

Passive legitimization (to whom one must sue): the demand must be filed using the expression «against the unknown occupants», as long as we do not know the identity of the people occupying the home. This is what the new article 437.3bis says LEC.

The claim

The lawsuit must be signed by a lawyer and attorney (named “procurador”) and must be accompanied by the title to the property (purchase deeds).

In the lawsuit, the lawyer must request the immediate delivery of the possession of the dwelling and the date for the launch (eviction), in order to avoid subsequent delays. If the immediate delivery of the possession of the property is not requested, we would go to the standard verbal process deadlines, that is, ten days from the receipt of the demand (article 441.1bis LEC).

During that period of ten days, if the notified persons do not oppose the application, judgment will be issued (article 444.1bis LEC).  After the  judgment, the claimant will have to request the execution to evict the squatters which will be done inmediatly. Previous to the new law, claimant had to wait 20 days (Article 548 LEC).

Notification of the claim

Once the claim is admitted for processing it will be notified in the occupied dwelling. The claim will establish the day in which the house has to be vacated.  Any occupant in the home will be notified (new article 441.1bis LEC), and will be informed of their right to receive help from social services on the day of the eviction.

In case no one is in the house, the demand will be posted directly on the notice board of the court for five days and, after said period, the notice to the occupants will be considered practiced.

The different positions of the occupants

Once the notification of the claim has been made (either in person or on the notice board of the court), the occupants may do the following:

  • Present in court a title (contract) that allows them to occupy the house (for example, a lease, if it exists). In that case, there would be no immediate eviction and there would be a trial (and then eviction, in case the title or contract provided is not valid).
  • Do nothing in those five days: in that case, the court issues an «order» ordering the release (eviction).

The experience suggests that in the vast majority of occasions when title is presented (contract) eviction will not be ordered and there will be a trial, so in the end the reduction of the duration of the process will not be as real.

The judge’s order

Once the Judge issues the eviction order, it is not possible to appeal. The order will be mandatory and the eviction will take place the date set.

The launch

The release or eviction is the last act performed in the process.

It usually consists of two members of the court, accompanied by the “procurador” and, if desired, the client and his/her solicitor, who go to the property and take possession of it by removing from those who occupied it. Therefore, possession is granted to its rightful owner.

The launching (eviction) will be carried out on any person in the home on the day it occurs (article 441.1bis LEC).

For the launch to take place, it is not necessary the lapse of 20 working days that are required in other types of eviction processes. So, the eviction will be imminent.

The price of express eviction against squats

Regarding the cost of an eviction process, each lawyer and each attorney have set their fees, so the prices can vary greatly. However, the average cost approximates the following amounts, with taxes included:

Lawyer: in this type of processes his/her intervention is necessary. Usually the cost is around € 1,200 – € 1,500.

Procurador: your intervention is also necessary. Its cost is around € 300.

Therefore, we are talking about a cost, including taxes, of about € 1,800 without counting the locksmith that will not always be necessary (whose cost is usually around € 150 – € 200).