If you are renting a property long term in Spain, both the tenant and the landlord will be required to sign a rental contract, written in Spanish. This will usually be provided by the agent, who should either be able to translate the document for you or better still, have a copy of the translated document for your records. If you are renting direct with the property owner, a standard rental contract in Spain is easily accessible via the government website, and are also commonly stocked and found in tobacconists, and will outline and form a basic and sufficient rental agreement.
|Fig. 1 Sample Rental Contract|
The main thing to remember, which may sound obvious to some, is to make sure you have read through and understand the contract properly before signing it. If there is something that you don’t understand or is unclear, don’t be afraid to ask – you should never sign something if you are unsure.
The rental contract will contain the details of the property you are renting, and the monies you will be expected to pay to the landlord or agent in return. Usually you will pay one month’s (sometimes two) rent as a deposit, as well as a month’s rent up front. The property may include furniture, a private pool or garden, garage and other features. The contract will detail any special obligations that may have been reached by the tenant and landlord and will often include an inventory, which will outline an itemised list of the furniture, fixtures and fittings and the condition they are in. This will also need to be signed and dated together with the contract.
The details and the terms and conditions set within the rental agreement serve to protect the rights of both the tenant and the landlord and both parties are obligated to do so. Obviously if either party should fail to comply with the terms of the agreement then problems can occur. Often a management company or agent will act as a mediator and these problems can be resolved, but more serious obligations that are not met can mean the beginning of a legal proceedings.
A rental contract in Spain doesn’t have to be drawn up and signed officially at the notary, although if specifically desired, it can be done in this way and registered with the Land Registry, but this is uncommon and expensive. It is entirely sufficient to have a formal document that is in accordance with the Urban leases act, written in Spanish and signed by both parties – The tenant and the landlord.
In short, it is extremely important when renting a property long term in Spain, that you have been given a Spanish contract to read and sign, because in the unfortunate even that you should have a discrepancy with your landlord – it will be very difficult to defend your rights without a written agreement, signed by both parties to refer to.
What details a rental contract will include:
- Start date of contract
- Details of all the landlord/s including full name, passport number and domicile address
- Details of the tenant/s including full name, passport number and domicile address
- Details and address of property being rented
- Length of the rental term
- Rent payable to landlord by tenant
- The deposit being held and when it will be returned to the tenant
- Signature of both landlord and tenant
A long term rental contract may be anything from six months to five years, anything shorter is considered a short term rental contract. If the term agreed in the contract is 6 months, then the tenant can extend the contract should they and the landlord agree to do so. If the tenant should decide not to extend the original term then they are legally required to give a minimum of one month’s written notice to terminate the agreed contract.
The landlord will require the tenant to pay the agreed rent every month in exchange for living in their property. The rent can be negotiated, sometimes directly with the tenant and landlord and sometimes via an agent mediator, and will usually be paid during the first or last week of the month. A tenant will usually have a up to 5 days to pay from when the rent is due depending on the contract. A receipt should be sent to the tenant by the landlord or the agent as proof that the rent has been paid, and to avoid future disagreements. If the rent is paid via bank transfer (which is generally the least hassle and most effective way to make the payments) directly into the owners bank account then the tenant will automatically have proof of transfer via bank statements. Once the contracted term is over, the rent can them be re-negotiated in line with inflation and the current market and a landlord is well within his rights to increase the rent according to the CPI (Consumer Price Index). On the same token, if the landlord has been receiving regular payments and is keen to keep the tenants, it can be agreed to remain at the same monthly rent and in some cases reduce the rate according to the market.
All repairs on the property lie at the responsibility of the landlord (unless otherwise agreed in the contract), and will usually be carried out once the contract has come to an end. If the problem is more urgent, then the landlord has a responsibility to inform the tenant with good notice and should this work take longer than twenty days and if disruption is considerable to the tenant then it is required for the landlord to reduce the rent for this particular month. General wear and tear on the property is to be expected and small repairs can be fixed by the tenant, anything that is not through general wear and tear, can be discussed with between the owner and landlord or the agent/management mediator and an amicable agreement can be discussed as to who is responsible for repairs/cost whilst referring to the inventory and situation. If the tenant should wish to make any major alterations to the property, they will need the landlords written consent prior to doing so.
The deposit is there for the owners protection against damage to their property that is NOT caused through everyday wear and tear. Once the tenant has vacated the property the property will be checked and the cost of any major breakages or repairs and any outstanding bills will be deducted from the deposit and the remaining monies given back to the tenant. Obviously of there are no repairs/bills to be paid then the tenant should receive the full deposit back within a timely fashion. Again, this is written into the contract and is usually within a maximum of one month.