Property Law In Spain -
A Guide For Landlords & Tenants

The following subjects are covered and the information is provided purely as a guide only and we strongly recommend that you take qualified legal advice before entering into any short or long term tenancy agreement.

Urban Leases Act of 1994

Short Or Long Term Contracts? - (see below)

Registering A Contract

Inventory & Breakage Deposit

Community Fees & Property Tax

Short Term Holiday Rental Contracts

Confusion regarding property law in Spain can often occur for property owners when deciding whether or not to let their property on a monthly basis for part of the year only i.e. during the low season.

Whilst the property law in Spain specifies no particular duration after which a short term let becomes defined as a long term let, it is generally accepted that a six month renewable contract will ensure that the tenant's rights remain that of a short term tenant, and as such requires them to vacate the property on the termination date stated in the contract.

However it should be pointed out that whilst the property law in Spain does not give short term tenants any legal rights to a extension of contract, the process of legal eviction can be slow and in some cases take up to six months.

Long Term Rental Contracts

Rentals of one year or longer are considered long term and this applies to short term contracts that have been mutually extended i.e. a six month contract that is renewed for a further six months.

A long term contract provides more protection for the tenant than the landlord and the property law in Spain stipulates that such 'residential contracts' require the landlord to offer an annual renewal to the tenant for up to five years.

Therefore if a long term tenant's request for an extension is declined by the landlord, then the tenant has the legal right of appeal to have the contract extended by a court of law.

The landlord is also only allowed to increase the rent charged by an amount equal to the rate of inflation during the five year period. Only after the five year period is the landlord free to set the rent at a level of his choosing.

In order for a landlord to terminate a five year tenancy contract, under the property law in Spain he must do so with a notarized letter giving at least one months notice.

Another important difference between short term and long term leases is the legal right of the tenant to have 'first refusal' to buy the property, should the landlord decide to put the property up for sale during their tenancy. In this case the landlord is legally obliged to put an offer in writing to the long term tenant stating the sale price and conditions of sales for the property. The tenant is then required to respond within a reasonable although unspecified period of time, after which the landlord is then free to offer the property for sale on the open market.

However if the landlord agrees to sell the property to a third party having not previously offered the property to the tenant, then the property law in Spain says that the tenant can seek to have the sale annulled via the courts and if he so wished pursue the purchase of the property himself.