Friday, May 30, 2014

What to do when Okupas take over your home

Originally when we moved here, I thought there wasn’t much point in getting an alarm system since we don’t really have anything particularly worth stealing in our house. I never realized that we could literally have our house stolen.

Suppose you go on vacation for a couple days and you come back and find that someone has broken into your house, and not only took whatever they wanted, they also decided to change the locks and move in. Congratulations, you now have Okupas.

Your first reaction might be to call the police, but this could be the worst mistake you could make. Unless you can prove to the police that whoever is in the house has been there for less than 24 hours, the police will not remove the new inhabitants without a court order.

At the very least, you should make sure you report burglars, NOT squatters.

Unfortunately it can take up to two years to get a court order, and until then you are forbidden to take any kind of retaliatory action against the okupas (such as turning off or not paying for the water or gas), etc, Basically the people has as many rights as a tenant, and possibly even more, since at least with a tenant there is some kind of written agreement you can claim was violated.

Once you’ve notified the police, a court order is the only way to go, since the for taking any action against the okupas at that point are severe (jail time for you). Expect the okupas to be very well educated on these points, and they will go to the police and file charges against you.

I’ve heard that there are private security companies / detectives that might be able to help you out, but that carries it’s own set of risks.

Bottom line: make sure you have a monitored alarm system for when you leave your house for longer periods of time, and have copies of proof of ownership (rental contract, property deed, etc) in a safe place.

If you are unlucky enough to have this happen to you, unless less than 24 hours have passed and you can prove it, you are better to talk to an expert about what your options are, and there’s no point in calling the police, since they won’t do anything and this will just make the okupa official.

Here’s a link.

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