Guide to tenants' rights and obligations renting a house in Spain
Are you a prospective tenant that wishes to rent a house in Spain but not sure about your legal rights? Are you a current tenant with problems and not sure what to do? This article will try to outline the laws and rights you have as a tenant and aim to prevent you from any annoying house renting issues.
1. Before signing a contract
When you search for housing options, you should first have an idea of the public security of the destination city, bearing in mind that not all districts are secure for living.
Before signing a contract with agencies or landlords, you should better visit the house. Here are some tips for this stage:
Observe and experience what it feels like living in the district
Inspect if there are any potential issues, such as furniture damage, appliance functionality, windows and doors, electricity and water, and elevator security. Also, try to be aware of any damp spot or mold presence in the house
Confirm with the landlord who is going to take on the monetary responsibility of repairs if anything breaks down. Write this down as an item in the contract if possible
Take photos of any evidence of initial damage in case you need to seek legal help
Confirm if the person renting a house to you is the owner of the real estate or is it someone subletting the property by asking for a simple note (nota simple) here
Make sure if the contract can serve as town hall registration (empadronamiento)or the landlord can accompany you to it. This is a key step as it links to your NIE/NIF registration afterward.
After renting the house and get your empadronamiento certificate, you need to present all the required papers (including the health insurance certificate. Get to know Adeslas´ expat insurance, also known as NIE insurance, NIF insurance, or visa insurance that fulfills all the requirements.
2. When you are signing the contract
Many people, especially young people with less experience may skip the step of checking every item writing down in the contract. However, the contract is essential as it specifies the obligations and rights of the two or three parties involved in the process: tenant, landlord, and house-renting agency (if involved). The key things you need to check accordingly are:
Contract duration and termination
Penalty for early termination of the contract
Regulations for the community where you live
In Spanish rental law, there are specifications about some of the above points and should be considered in situations where you need legal support.
1. Contract duration and early termination
The duration and termination date can be agreed freely between the tenant and the landlord before the contraction. Usually, the rights and penalty of early termination are already specified in the contract.
According to the rental law, if the two parties agree on a rental period longer than 6 months, the tenant has the right to end the contract after at least 6 months have passed on the condition that they notify the landlord at least 30 days in advance. The two parties can agree that in the case of early termination initiated by the tenants, they need to compensate the landlord by 1 month´s rent for each year remaining on the contract. Any period below one year should be proportionally compensated.
In some cases, the contract can be terminated by the party that has fulfilled its obligations against the parties that haven't.
For example, the landlord may terminate the contract if the following situation happens:
The tenant fails to pay the monthly rent
The tenant fails to pay the deposit and any other legitimate fees
The tenant sublets the property without the landlord's consent
The tenant causes any malicious damage to the property
The tenant makes excessive noise or carries out any illegal, unhealthy, or dangerous activities at the property
The property is no longer being used as a primary residential dwelling.
2. The tenants also have the right to terminate the contract if
1) The landlord does not carry out any essential repairs or maintenance to the property
2) The landlord causes unnecessary disturbance to the tenants
3. Rental deposit
Before the commencement of any tenancy, the landlord has the right to ask for a rental deposit. Although the Spanish rental law specifies that the landlord cannot ask for a deposit equal to more than 1-month rent for long-term lease and 2-month rent for seasonal contracts, it’s common for a landlord to ask for2 months of rent as a depositand promise to return within 1 month after the rental termination date.
Once the tenancy has elapsed, the deposit can be requested and returned subject to any damage and losses, which the landlord will need to provide proof of. If the landlord cannot show any proof of the damage and losses made by the tenants, he or she needs to give back the whole amount of the deposit.
3. During your tenancy
Once you have moved into this property, you have the right to
reside there peacefully, without being disturbed by the landlord
put new furniture or appliances in the property with the written consent of the landlord
the landlord has the obligation to ensure the property is habitable during the duration of the tenancy
the landlord cannot sell the property if the tenant is still living there
if a tenant has a disability or is over 70 years old, he or she can be accompanied by their partner or another family member (also living in the property) to ensure their use and accessibility of the property
4. After the tenancy
Unfortunately, sometimes landlords may attempt to pocket the deposit at the end of the tenancy with all kinds of excuses why it cannot be returned. If the deposit is not returned by the administration within 1 month after the termination date, the tenants can seek legal help.
For tenants to protect themselves and get the money back, they can consult the rental deposit scheme here established by official organizations to prevent this situation.
5. Your obligations as a tenant
Apart from the rights, you also need to know your obligations as a tenant to prevent any problems from occurring during your stay.
If the tenant makes any modification during the tenancy without the consent of the landlord, the landlord can request the tenants to return things to their previous state.
If the tenant has made changes that decreased the stability and security of the property, the landlord can request the immediate replacement to their previous state.
The tenant is obliged to assist the landlord where and when possible if work or improvements to the property needed to be made.
In such cases, the landlord should notify the tenant of the nature, duration, and costs involved of the work 3 months before.
If the tenant does not agree with the improvements, he or she has 1 month from the time of being notified to withdraw from the contract.
If the work has to be carried out, the tenant has the right to claim a rent reduction proportionately subject to the space unused due to the improvements, or even compensation if the work has cost them any expenses or losses