The season to look for an apartment for next year has finally started. The Stork is giving a few necessary legal tips that will help you avoid ignorant or even abusive landlords before signing a lease contract in either Segovia or Madrid.
All pieces of advice have been checked with an LLB professor who wished to remain anonymous. The applicable laws can be found here.
1. Withdrawal from the habitation contract
Unless the contract provides for a shorter term, you may cancel the lease (rent) once at least six months have elapsed, provided that you notify the landlord at least 30 days before leaving. It is possible to agree in the contract that in the case of withdrawal, you will have to compensate the landlord with an amount equivalent to a month’s rent per each year of the contract to be served. It means that if the contract has been agreed for a year (normal case) damages are to be reduced proportionally: if you leave just after six months, max penalty would be ½ month. If it is not agreed in the contract, the landlord has no right to ask for this compensation.
Once the contract has been signed, the landlord may ask for a mandatory one-month deposit. Some landlords want to protect their newly refurbished houses and require an amount equal to two or three months of rent. Nevertheless, asking for more than one month’s deposit to cover for damages is illegal under Spanish law. What is acceptable on the other hand, is to ask for additional guarantees (money) in case of lack of payment, which the landlord can set freely.
Asking for more than one month’s deposit to cover for damages is illegal under Spanish law.
The deposit should be given back within a month of returning the property keys. For every day after that month, there is a legal interest that must be paid by the landlord to the tenant in addition to the deposit. In reality, there was a problem with landlords not giving back the deposit at the end of the stay, thus it has developed that the tenants usually do not pay the last month of rent in exchange for the landlord keeping that final deposit (which is technically illegal).
Unless explicitly stated in the contract, you should pay the monthly rent within the first 7 days of every month. The landlord can never demand early payment of more than one month of rent. Moreover, the tenants have the right to remain in the apartment, for the same price, up to 3 years. Price can only be raised by IPC (living costs, around 3% per year).
The tenants have the right to remain in the apartment, for the same price, up to 3 years.
4. Subletting your apartment
You may not sublet the property without the written consent of the landlord. It means that in case you want to host a small refugee family or rent out a room through AirBnB, you are out of luck. If there is an agreement by the parties, then the price of the sublease may not exceed the price of the original rental.
You can keep animals unless it is agreed otherwise in the contract. Nevertheless, damage caused by animals on the inventory might be claimed by the landlord.
Good luck apartment hunting!