The second blog post in our series of posts on property rentals in Spain will focus on rental contracts and the first stages in renting a property. Whether you are looking to rent a flat, house, or even a room in a shared flat. Our Spanish lawyers at Piñera del Olmo advise that you fully understand the aspects of a rental contract before signing in Barcelona, Madrid or throughout Spain.
The rental contract will depend on the length of your lease. The first type of lease is a short term let – Alquiler de temporada. However, this kind of rental must have a reason to justify it This could be that it is for students who are here for one year for Erasmus or for a Masters, who often move to Spain to study for 8 months.
The most common contract for rental gives tenants the right to demand a minimum period of 3 years’ rental from the landlord, even if they agree to a shorter period. The old Law used to provide 5 years. If your landlord wants to evict you before 3 years, our lawyers at Piñera del Olmo recommend that you seek legal advice from property law experts, to try and prevent the eviction. Here at Piñera del Olmo, we can help with problems between the tenant and landlord.
In the past, rental contracts in Spain would allow tenants to stay in the property indefinitely, but regulations have now changed so that they are fairer for the landlord. The tenant has the right to rent the flat, should they wish, for up to 3 years, and they can extend their stay even if the contract expires. Sometimes Landlords can increase the price of the rental when the contract is extended, however, the owners cannot increase the cost of rental above the rate of inflation of the Consumer Price Index.
Factors to consider in relation to the rental contract:
– Additional costs: Tenants often forget to consider additional costs which may be required when renting a property. Unfortunately, it is not usually a case of paying the monthly rental money alone. The extra costs for your rental will depend on the type of property, how you found it and the landlord. Our lawyers note that in Barcelona, a tenant may also be required to pay:
- Agency Fees – This additional cost will only be applicable if you are signing to rent a property owned by a rental agency, or one found for you by an agency. In our lawyer’s experience, often agencies will ask for one month’s rental as a non-returnable fee for renting one of their properties.
- Deposit – This is usually one month’s rent, sometimes it can be two or more.
The deposit stated in the law is equivalent to one month’s rent, but often the landlords can ask for two months, or even more, for different rentals. Often higher deposits are asked for longer term rentals. The deposit provides the landlord with some security, should there be any damage to the property under the new tenants. Our lawyers note that in some cases, however, previous tenants can find problems in recovering their deposit from their landlord.
If it is a deposit, it is important to check that it is deposited in the appropriate body, in Barcelona it is the Incasol.
Our lawyers also advise that you are wary of the bank account into which you pay the deposit (it should be sent to the landlord’s bank account). It is also essential to check the property for any damages on the day you move in, to report them immediately and before you are charged from your deposit.
- The costs of bills – The use of water, electricity, gas and Wifi will all carry costs. It is essential to ask your landlord if they are included in the monthly rent and it is advisable to ask for an idea of the usual monthly cost of bills in the flat or house, with previous tenants. Nowadays in Spain, Wifi is usually already installed in the flat, so bills for internet may be already paid by your landlord each month.
- “Comunidad” fees – In Spain, these fees are applicable for tenants living in blocks of flats with shared entrances, staircases, gardens, pools etc. When renting a property, it is important to know if you will be responsible for these costs, or if the landlord will cover them. They usually cover the electricity for these areas (eg. lights in the staircase), maintenance and cleaning of the entrances. It may be necessary, as a tenant, to attend meetings scheduled to discuss the communal areas of the property with the neighbours.
- Home Insurance – As a long-term tenant, you will be required to take out a Home insurance policy to cover the property you are renting. The tenant can choose the company which they will use to insure the property.
When renting a new property, our lawyers would recommend that you have it checked by a professional who has a clear knowledge of property rental contracts. Therefore, your solicitor can advise you on any strange clauses in the contract, and whether you should sign and accept the terms of the contract.
It is your responsibility, as a tenant, to check the contract before signing. If you sign to accept any of the costs mentioned above, you would have to accept them (for example the payment of two months of deposit – distinctly for the deposit – additional). In Barcelona, the property market is quite aggressive and it is useful to contract a lawyer to help with your rental contract and payments.
What are the key parts of the contract?
- Personal details of the tenant (Full name, DNI; NIE or Passport number)
- Personal details of the Landlord (or the rental company).
- Details of the property (address, size)
- Inventory of furnishings and items in the flat
- Payment details (How rent should be paid each month and the date or dates when payment should be made).
- Deposit details, including where it is paid and how and when it will be returned to the tenant. It should also include information regarding the conditions in which the deposit will not be returned.
Things to consider
- You should always be careful when sending payments for a flat or property. This includes when paying the deposit and monthly rent.Our Spanish lawyers recommend checking that the account where you send money is in the name of the landlord or rental company.
- If you are paying in cash, you should get a signed receipt from the landlord, to say that you have paid the deposit or monthly rent payment in cash.
- If in the contract, an inventory is included or mentioned and provided separately, it is essential to check it on the day in which you arrive in the property. All items on the inventory list should be in the property and in working order. If items are not in the property or are not in working order, you should tell your landlord as soon as possible. In some cases, tenants do not check the inventory correctly and can lose money at the end of their stay, due to an item which was either not present or already did not work when they arrived in the property.
What do I do if I have a problem?
- Problems with short-term lets are usually dealt with at the Tourist Information Office.
- For semi-permanent and permanent rentals, tenants may receive advice for their rental problems from the nearest OMIC, or Oficina Municipal de Información al Consumidor. This office usually deals with consumer problems and complaints, however, they can also help with property rental problems.
Our lawyers at Piñera del Olmo recommend that you contact our firm by telephone or email directly for specific and personal advice relating to your rental. We work with both landlords and prospective tenants, to provide a clear explanation of the applicable tenancy and property laws in Barcelona, Madrid and other parts of Spain. Our lawyers can help with each stage of the rental process, from signing the tenancy agreement to moving out of the property and recovering a deposit.
Should you need further information, or legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers. You can contact us by using the contact form below, by emailing email@example.com, or by telephoning +34 93 514 39 97.
Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case please contact us.