By Cristina Hodgson • 16 October 2019 • 22:03
HELEN FRANCE, 46, bought her dream home with all her life savings in Orihuela, Spain in 2015.
She decided to let the property out in January 2018 in order to save money and enable her move out to Spain permanently.
Instead of saving, the tenants have totally destroyed her dream home and left Miss France with £50k in debt.
The nightmare began when Helen moved out to Alicante full-time in December last year assuming she could move into the property, but claims months of eviction notices were ignored, with physical threats made against her.
Vast does not come close of the damage to the property. Furniture thrown out of the windows, walls, doors and flooring wrecked.
The kitchen was left destroyed with holes in the cupboards and pink graffiti sprayed up the walls and appliances.
A knife wedged into the sofa as a death threat warning.
Since getting the property back, after the squatters were evicted through court, Helen’s debt has continued to grow after losing over £10,000 on unpaid rent, bills and solicitor’s fees.
The home owner said ‘the tenants from hell’ made her life a ‘living nightmare’ and she may lose the home entirely due to the damage inside.
‘The entire situation has left me beyond heartbroken
‘I was even put on medication as I was anxious, battling depression, all whilst trying to live the dream I’d saved up for so long.’
Miss France claims the police and other official channels won’t help and both her UK solicitor and letting agent have reached dead ends against Spanish law because of its protection for tenants.
This has left her no choice but to put the eviction notice through the courts at her own expense.
Her letting agent said: ‘this is an example of the worst case scenario of what can happen’
In these extreme cases landlords can even be criminally prosecuted by their own tenants in Spain. Why?
Because Spain’s Tenancy laws are biased towards tenants for historical reasons that need to be addressed immediately.
Many problems can be traced to the fact that landlords remain largely unaware of the legal implications of renting out a property in Spain. What renting entails is actually losing possession of the property for a certain pre-agreed period of time in exchange of perceiving a regular income. This means you can no longer enter the property for the duration of the rental if it is not with the express permission, preferably in writing, of your tenant, regardless if he’s up-to-date or not with the rental.
Landlords cannot enter their own property even if it’s just for ‘inspection’ purposes without the said permission. This frequently overlooked blunder is single-handedly responsible for stemming most of the letting misunderstandings.
Landlords and tenants should always seek legal advice on renting property, particularly prior to making rash decisions related to non-payment so as to avoid costly mistakes.
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