What to bear in mind when signing a rental contract


Finding somewhere to live is the most difficult part of any house hunt in Spain, negotiating rental agreements is generally straightforward and easy. However, it is important to make sure you understand the details your contract and be aware of how some things work.

Contrato (contract): A typical contract runs for one year. Be sure to read the contract carefully and ensure everything is clear. If the contract includes an inventory (dishes, linen, etc.), make sure the items are there when you move in. In addition, check that all electrical appliances and utilities are in working order. Don't take a verbal guarantee that defective items will be fixed later, get it written into the contract or, better still, have it fixed before you agree to move in.

Gastos de comunidad (utilities): Depending on the landlord, utility expenses and community fees may or may not be included in the rent. Community fees generally cover the costs of the doorman, general maintenance and trash collection and sometimes one or more of the utilities. Just be sure to ask which items you will have to pay for individually.

Fianza (deposit): Most landlords ask for a security deposit equivalent to 1 or sometimes 2 months rent if the flat is furnished. Anything more than this should be avoided. You also may be able to negotiate the conditions concerning the return date of the deposit or try to use it to pay the last month's rent. Naturally, it is preferable to get any additional agreement in writing.

Garantías (guarantees): Given that Spain's legal system does not offer strong protection to property owners, it is very common for landlords to ask for additional guarantees. If you are working, a copy of a payslip (nómina) is requested as proof that your monthly salary exceeds the rent. If you are a student, landlords may require a letter from your school to certify you have the necessary means.

Aval bancario (bank guarantee): As a further guarantee, landlords sometimes request an aval bancario. It is essentially a letter of credit from a Spanish bank guaranteeing that if you default on your obligations, the bank will pay whatever is owned for the remainder of the contract.

Further reading

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Other comments

  •, 18 November 2008 Reply

    rent and bills

    we live in rented apartment and got in argue with ouners- as we mouve in in first month and half ouners tranfer obligations to our account- we paid not knowing 200 € bills made beore we mouved in. Ouners expect full rent 350 €, we wont pay more then 150 €. They admit that bills was theirs but insist that we shouldnt paid it. We didnt wannt to pay, but money was taken from our account. We paid that bills over month ago and expect return or deduct from the rent. Some advice, personaal expiriance or legal background. THANKS !!

  • David Lesak, 15 February 2012 Reply

    Accuracy of information

    I think you need to be a little more accurate with your facts. The LAU legislation now stipulates that unless stated otherwise in the contract and mutually agreed at the time of signing, the minimum rental term aside from temporary accommodation is now 5 years. A contract for only one year is also automatically renewable yearly up to the 5 years, and unless the landlord is able to prove that they have a demonstrable and real need of the property, the tenant is able to remain unless they default on the rental payments or are otherwise found not to be abiding by the terms of the contract.