Renting is a good idea whilst you find your feet in your new home and get used to the way of life, all whilst searching for your perfect permanent home.
There are a number of rental opportunities across the country, from period apartments in cities to villas by the sea, so you should be able to find a rental that suits you. What’s more, you can start looking whilst still in the UK, and there are numerous internet sites advertising properties in every area and every town. Agencies and private landlords use these sites to advertise their properties.
If you are searching for a property whilst in Spain, local estate agencies and local newspapers are good places to begin your search.
There are three main types of rental contract:
- Short-term rental – less than three months
- Temporary rental – more than three months, but less than one year
- Long-term rental contracts – one-year minimum with the right to stay up to five years. After the first year, if you wish to end the contract, you will need to give two months’ notice to the owner in writing.
Short-term contracts are usually holiday lets and will be charged by the week. You might find good deals in the winter months, but be aware that the rents will be far greater during the high season. Temporary rental contracts are less common, as holiday rentals bring in higher revenue, but if you are happy to stay for between three and 11 months, this might be best.
Rents for long-term lets are charged monthly and rental prices vary from region to region. Rentals are calculated on square metre. Car parking may be included or available at an extra cost, typically €50 (approx. £43) a month. This may sound expensive, but in towns and cities, finding parking spaces in the streets is both difficult and frustrating, so for peace-of-mind, it is advisable to pay for your own parking space.
You should always view the property before you sign any contract, and if you don’t speak Spanish, try to take an independent Spanish speaker with you. If it is advertised as furnished, check what is actually included in the rental. Look carefully at the condition both inside and outside, and ask to see an official gas safety check certificate, which is issued every five years.
Renting a property in Spain is not very different from renting elsewhere. You will need to have a Spanish bank account and your passport, and if you are working, you will need an NIE (tax identification) number. In these times of economic difficulty, landlords will require some proof that you have the funds to pay the rent, and may ask for references.
Spanish Law requires the tenant to give the landlord one month’s rent in cash as a deposit (fianza) against damage, and in some cases more may be legally requested. This deposit will then be placed with a state-run body, the Chamber of Urban Property (or in Catalunya it is the Institut Català del Sól,) where it is held until the tenant leaves, at which time the landlord has 30 days to check that everything is in order. It will be returned to the landlord who will pass it back to the tenant, unless there has been damage to the property or there are outstanding utility bills, in which case there will be deductions. If it is not returned, the tenant can claim it back plus interest accrued.
Landlords are responsible for any major repair to the property and its infrastructure. Tenants are expected to pay for small things, like a washing machine repair; if the machine needs replacing, the landlord pays.
Literally millions of people rent property in Spain and you can feel confident that the law is weighted on the side of the tenant (except in cases of failure to pay the rent). Renting is a good way to spend time in your chosen area without capital outlay. Most foreigners go on to purchase a property, but some prefer to continue renting, as they don’t have to worry about maintenance and have the freedom to move elsewhere without having to sell their home first.
On a final note – all of the above is meant as a guide to the main points you need to consider when renting in Spain. As with all matters that are this important, we recommend that you consult a legal professional before you sign any contracts. We can put you in touch with a reputable lawyer based in Spain who you can consult on all your legal matters. Call 0207 898 0549 or email Spain@overseasguidescompany.com.