Guide to tenants' rights and obligations while renting a house in Spain

Guide to tenants' rights and obligations while renting a house in Spain

2023-07-06 04:40:50

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

2. When you are signing the contract

3. During your tenancy

4. After the tenancy

5. Your obligations as a tenant



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 visit the house. Here are some tips for this stage:


Check the apartment for any damage


  • 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 spots 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 someone subletting the property by asking for a simple note (nota simple) here
  • Make sure 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 getting your empadronamiento certificate, you need to present all the required papers to the national police station (Policía National). This includes the health insurance certificate, for example, Adeslas´ expat insurance fulfills all the visa requirements.



2. When you are signing the contract


Many people, especially young people with less experience may skip the step of checking every item written 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
  • Rent payments
  • 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.


Contract duration and early termination


The duration and termination date can be agreed freely between the tenant and the landlord before the contract. 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 with 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.


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


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 of rent for a long-term lease and 2-month rent for seasonal contracts, it’s common for a landlord to ask for 2 months of rent as a deposit and 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


Moving into your rental house


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 must 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 their 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 in 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


If you would like to know more about this topic, check out one of these other blogs:





[1] - BOE-A-2019-3108 Real Decreto-ley 7/2019, de 1 de marzo, de medidas urgentes en materia de vivienda y alquiler. (2021). Retrieved 23 July 2021, from

[2] Rental deposit scheme: how to get your deposit back. (2021). Retrieved 23 July 2021, from


Our content will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 07/06/2023

Search in Blog

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to receive health tips, latest medical news, and promotions.