15 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS RELATED TO RENTING A PROPERTY IN SPAIN.
1- Do all the conditions of the contract apply?
The rental of long-term housing (permanent housing of the tenant) is regulated by the Ley de Arrendamiento Urbanos and it is possible that the contract has conditions that are contrary to the law, so they would not be applied. The law gives freedom to establish some conditions, but others cannot be negotiated.
However, in the case of leases of commercial premises, seasonal leases (commuting, students, holiday periods) and leases of permanent housing but which are for a luxury property (i.e. with a built-up area of more than 300 square metres or with a rent of more than about 5,200 euros per month), the law allows the parties to agree whatever they want.
Holiday rentals are also excluded from the Law on Urban Leases and the regional and municipal regulations of the place where the property is located apply.
2- What is the term of the contract according to the law?
Contracts that do not specify a term will be understood to be for one year.
In contracts where the law applies compulsorily, the tenant has the right to stay for up to 5 years (for contracts signed after 6 March 2019) and 7 years if the owner is a company.
For contracts signed between 6 June 2013 and 6 March 2019 the term was 3 years regardless of whether the owner was a company or a natural person. In this same period, the above-mentioned luxury homes did not apply either.
When the previous terms of 5 or 7 years run out, and the contract does not state anything to terminate the lease on these dates, the lease will be extended year by year up to a maximum of 3 years. In order not to be extended, the owner must give 4 months’ notice and the tenant one month’s notice. After the end of these extensions, if neither party says otherwise, the lease will be extended in periods of equal length to the way the rent is paid (e.g. month to month, every 3 months, or half a year or a year if this is how the rent is paid).
There is an exception if the owner needs the house for himself or a family member to live in, in which case he can request the termination of the contract after the first year has passed and give 2 months’ notice. This possibility must appear in the contract, otherwise it will not be valid.
3- when can the tenant terminate the contract?
Once 6 months have passed and 30 days notice has been given. The owner can only ask for a penalty of one month’s rent for each year that has not been fulfilled. This penalty must be written in the contract or it will not be legal. Under no circumstances can the deposit be kept as a penalty.
4- what is the maximum legal deposit?
Typically it is one month, but you can ask for two more months as a complement to the deposit.
5- I want to compensate the last rent with the deposit I paid, can I?
You cannot, but it is very common to do so, especially if there is a bad relationship and the tenant is afraid that the deposit will not be returned.
6- What is the maximum term of a seasonal contract?
Normally it is for a period of between 2 and 11 months, although it can be longer or shorter (less than one month is not recommended so that it cannot be considered tourist), there is no minimum or maximum term.
The important thing about this type of contract is that it is not to satisfy the tenant’s permanent residence, but that the tenant has moved to the place where the property is located for a temporary reason.
7- Do I need civil liability insurance?
You need it if the contract obliges you to do so, but in any case it is advisable.
8- My electricity or water has been cut off, is it legal?
No! In fact, it can be considered a crime of coercion. What is possible is that you are obliged by the contract to put the supply contracts in your name and not doing so would be a breach of contract.
9- Community fees and taxes.
It is possible to agree who pays them according to the contract and there are all kinds of agreements that are legal. What does not make sense is for the tenant to pay the community expenses that involve an improvement in the building or in the installations.
Regarding the taxes, this can also be agreed in the contract, but otherwise the tenant pays the rubbish and the owner pays the property tax.
10- Can the tenant carry out works or paint?
Not without the landlord’s authorisation. If they are done, the landlord can request that they be removed when the lease ends and if he does not request it, they will remain for the benefit of the landlord without the tenant being able to claim anything.
Therefore, in order to carry out works, the landlord’s authorisation is required in any case and sometimes it is normal to agree on a reduction of the rent if the landlord agrees and will keep the improvements.
11- Do I have to allow access to the owner?
No, you don’t, even if it is stated in the contract. Under no circumstances can the landlord enter without your consent and you can change the locks if you wish.
12- Do I have to pay the estate agent’s commission?
Yes, normally one month’s rent plus taxes, although sometimes it is higher depending on the circumstances. If the owner is a company, he is obliged to pay it and it cannot be paid by the tenant.
Things that break due to wear and tear derived from normal use must be paid by the tenant and those that break due to the property being in poor condition must be paid by the owner, unless they have been broken by the tenant due to misuse.
14- The owner tells me that I have to leave because he is going to sell the house.
If the tenant has not waived his right of first refusal, the owner must give the tenant the opportunity to buy it for the same conditions. In any case, the contract must be respected and the tenant cannot be forced to leave for selling the house. The normal thing to do is to reach an agreement.
15- Can I re-let the rooms in the house?
No, unless the owner agrees.