The facts you need to know about renting a house or apartment in Spain: the contract, the deposit, the lease and the legal obligations of the landlord and the tenant.
Legal provisions on renting and letting in Spain are contained in the Law of Urban Lettings (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos) of 1994, which applies to rental contracts dated from 1 January 1995. Contracts settled before that date are governed by several rules, which have been modified by the current law of urban lettings.
According to Spanish law, rental contracts are firstly governed by the rental contract and secondly if there was none, by the Law of Urban Lettings.
The Lease Agreement (Contrato de Arrendamiento)
The following provisions must be contained in the rental contract/lease agreement:
• Identification details of the landlord (arrendador) and tenant (arrendatario)
• Address and description of the property
• The contract term
• Amount of rent and payment terms
• Any other legal provisions that the parties agree
• Detail of property expenses and who is responsible for them
• Terms for late payment
• Terms for subletting
The rental contract may be made before a notary and recorded at the Spanish Property Registry (Registro de la Propiedad).
The contract time period
Both parties agree the term for which the property will be rented. Property may be rented long-term or short-term. The distinction is very important as Spanish law provides fewer rights to short-term tenants.
Short term rental contracts: Short-term or seasonal rental contracts (contrato de arrendamiento de temporada) require that the tenant vacate the property when the contract ends. This type of contract is normally used for holiday letting and may run for up to one year.
The short-term condition must be specified in the contract.
Long-term rental contracts (arriendo de vivienda): Long-term rental contracts exceed one year in duration. A domestic property rental contract is an arriendo de vivienda.
If the contract does not exceed five years duration, it is automatically renewed on expiration for a periods of one to five years, unless the tenant is not willing to renew it. The landlord is obliged to accept these renewals, except if they have previously stated in the contract that they need to recover the property for their own use before running the five-year period.
After the five-year term, the owner may end the contract, provided they have given the tenant 30 days’ notice before the end of the contract. If not, the contract will be automatically renewed for three years, unless the tenant refuses this renewal.
If a rental contract does not state its duration, it will run for one year.
On signature of the rental contract, tenants are required to pay the landlord a deposit (fianza) equal to one month’s rent. This guarantees that the property can be returned to the owner in the same state as before the occupation.
This deposit cannot be used to pay the rent to the landlord. It is returned when the tenant moves out, assuming that the property is in good condition.
After a five year rental period, rent increases require an increase of the deposit.
The amount of rent is agreed between both parties. Normally rent is monthly paid on an agreed date as stated on the rental contract. The landlord may not ask for more than one month’s rent to be paid in advance.
The tenant receives a written receipt justifying that the rent has been paid, unless it is accredited by other means such as proof of payment through bank transfer. These receipts – and other proof of payment – are important as it constitutes an implicit contract.
During the first five years, rent may be increased or reduced according to the consumer price (inflation) index (Índice de precios al Consumo, IPC). After that period, rent increases according to what both parties agreed when signing the contract.
Although expenses produced for daily use of the property, such as community fees, or real estate tax (IBI), must be paid by the landlord, tenants may be required to pay if agreed by both parties in the rental contract.
Unless otherwise agreed, tenants must pay gas, electricity and telephone bills.
The Spanish government provides rent assistance to qualifying young couples aged 22 to 30. The package includes a monthly payment, deposit and rent insurance.
• Viviendi Joven
Tel: 900 900 707 Monday to Friday 09:00-19:00
For details and application forms in English: http://www.alquilerjoven.es/04_INGLES/index.htm
On moving in tenants may be required to sign an inventory of the property contents (furnishing, fixtures and fittings) and the state of them.
It is important to check this carefully, as every item outlined on the list must be returned in the same order as listed when the tenant leaves; otherwise the deposit (or part of it) may be held by the landlord.
The landlord must make all necessary repairs to keep the property in a fit and habitable condition; however landlord is not responsible for repairing any damage caused by the tenant.
The tenant is responsible for small repairs resulting from the property being in daily use.
Urgent maintenance repairs may be undertaken by the tenant in order to avoid serious and immediate damages in the property although the landlord must be informed prior to commencing; repair costs are returned to tenant.
The landlord must give the tenant three-months notice if they intend to undertake repairs that affect health, hygiene and comfort in the property. The tenant may renounce the rental contract within one month from the notice. If the tenant decides to stay, they may be entitled to a reduced rental rate in relation to the habitable space that cannot be used because of the repairs.
With previous notice to landlord, the tenant may sublet a portion of the rented property to another person for the same period they have it contracted. The Landlord must always give written consent to tenant.
The rent paid by the third person to the original tenant must be lower than that stated in the rental contract.
Rescinding the Contract
The owner may rescind the rental contract when the tenant:
• Does not pay the rent or deposit
• Rents the property to a third party without the owner’s consent.
• Deliberately causes damages to the property
• Undertakes repairs without owner’s consent
• Causes serious nuisance to the neighbours
The Tenant may rescind the rental contract when the owner:
• Fails to make the necessary repairs to keep the property in a fit and habitable condition
• Disturbs the tenant’s dwelling use
Disputes and Taking in the Spanish Courts
Problems may arise when renting/letting property; normally, disputes relating to rental properties are processed through ordinary civil proceeding (procedimiento civil ordinario).