Law and slow courts benefit tenants

May 25, 2006

Rents: Can landlord and tenant freely agree rents in Spain?

The landlord and tenant can freely agree the rent. Monthly rent payments are the general rule, with the rent due within the first seven days of each month.The landlord cannot ask for more than one month payment in advance.

Spain vacation homesThe contracting parties can update rent on a yearly basis during the first five years of the contract only according to the variations of the Consumer Price Index (Indice de Precios al Consumo, IPC). In addition, the landlord should notify the intention to increase the rent with a written notification.

Once this period of time has elapsed, the contract can be renewed at a new rent, which must not be more that 20% higher than the current rent.

If the landlord makes improvements, he is entitled to increase the annual rent on the basis of the legal interest rate, incremented by three points, applied to the total investment, less any public subsidies. But the rent increase cannot exceed 20% of the rent.


The landlord has the right to only one month's rent as deposit (fianza). During the five years minimum duration of the tenancy contract, a landlord is not allowed to update the deposit amount.

The deposit should be held by an agency independent of both landlord and tenant, which will not release the deposit until both parties agree. The deposit can (e.g.) be held with the housing department of the local government (Consejeria de la Vivienda). If the landlord does not give back the deposit in due time to the tenant, then the legal interest rate will be applied.

What rights do landlords and tenants have in Spain, especially as to duration of contract, and eviction?

Landlords and tenants can write any contract duration into the contract, but this is overriden by the tenant's right to annually extend for five years any 'long-term' contract (Contrata de Vivienda), i.e., any contract over a year. This five years obligatory lease "carryover" will not be valid if the landlord expressly states in the contract his will to recover the dwelling for personal residence at a given date.

The tenant is entitled to put an end to the contract before the five years period, by giving notice at least thirty days prior to the termination of the contract.

Spain luxury apartmentsIf neither the landlord nor the tenant serves a notice to terminate the contract one month before it ends, the contract is renewed by yearly terms up to a maximum of three years.

The tenant may put an end to the contract, giving notice one month before the end of any of these annual periods.

If the landlord and tenant initially agree for a contract lasting more than five years, the tenant has the right to discontinue the agreement, by giving notice two months in advance after a minimum five years.

Short term contracts (Contrata por temporada) are designed for holiday rentals, but can last as long as one year.

Holiday rental contracts, called arrienda de temporada, are not afected by the Law of Urban Leasing. These contracts do not give any right to automatic extension, and the tenant must vacate when the contract ends.

A landlord can evict a tent and regain his property on several grounds, including failure to pay the rent (but courts have often ruled that these arrears must exceed six months before any action can be taken), damage done to the property, use of the property for immoral purposes, subletting without permission from the owner, and causing a serious nuisance to the neighbors. In any of these cases, a court order must be obtained against the tenant and many months could pass before he is evicted.

How effective is the Spanish legal system?


Duration until completion of service of process 60
Duration of trial 55
Duration of enforcement 68
Total Days to Evict Tenant 183
Courts: The Lex Mundi Project


Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos de 1994.

Brief history: Recent changes in Spanish landlord and tenant law

The Law of Urban Leasing (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos), which came into effect on 1 January 1995, ended the forcible extension provision of the old 1964 law which made rental contracts indefinitely renewable by the tenant. It allows landlords gradually to raise the old controlled and ridiculously low rents towards real market prices, and, eventually, to recover their own property. The law also provides tenants with more security than the previous laws, and obliges landlords to renew residential contracts each year for up to five years.


mark | April 13, 2010

propietor will not repair sewer odor/leak in one of two bedrooms, one repair/problem still exists, 5 months pass with written notice given to proprietor, 1/2 rent paid for those months, lease agreement til june on a photocopy of passport unsigned, leaving granada spain. credit liabilities, court actions against me & proprietor for breech of contract...How much in Monies

genavieve | May 24, 2010

I am currently renting an appartment from my bosses which who i work for. they are now seperating and he has demanded that we move out in 24 hours. we have a 14 year old child and we have never signed a contract, do we have rights?.

Randall | July 23, 2010



Frankly, Spanish civil laws don't mean much because there is little options to enforce the law

fiona bayne | May 04, 2011

We have a property (small finca with land) in Southern Spain which we put on the market to sell, a prospective purchaser agreed to buy the property but was unable to obtain a mortgage. We agreed to to give the prospective purchaser a years rental contract. A contract was drawn up by our lawyer to confirm this and that the rent paid would be deducted from the purchase price upon completion of the sale, a deposit of $13k was paid by the prospective purchaser and it was agreed that if the sale fell through the prospective purchaser would lose the deposit and vacate the property. The year has now come to an end and the prospective purchaser is still unable to obtain a mortgage, we have agreed to give them a 1 month extension to the contract to try and get a mortgage.
If they cannot get one after this month does the five year law apply ie we cannot evict them from the property ?
If the 5 year law applies do we have right of access to the property and can we make structural changes to the property (they have built a stable with a concrete floor on the Rustic land without permissions) we would want to demolish this building as the land is on a Canada and this construction would mean a substantial fine on the property.

many thanks for you help

amos | October 17, 2011

Hello everybody,
I rented a room in a villa and i paid 2 months deposit.. i read here is not right. also I did not sign a contract at all and I would love to move out as my expectation were not fulfill. how am I likely to get my deposit back?
what is the best way to do so? also i believe my room is not really livable as i live in the attic which is 50 degrees when the sun shines and i have not doors so i basically can hear everything in the house, and the ventilation in the terrace... this is really stressful situation for me...
Thanks for any kind of help,
Amos Singarella
p.s. also I not mind getting informed in spanish but I am not sure how to tranlate landlord tenent act into spanish.

James Francis | October 09, 2012

Wow it is hard to believe that a tenant can get away with not paying for 6 months before the courts will agree to an eviction. I thought the UK system of 2 months non payment was bad enough.

Roger Franklin | August 04, 2013

So, just to get this clear....the law in Spain is that if you, as a landlord, rent out a property to somebody for more than a year you cannot then end the contract if the tenant continues to extend the contract for another five years every year? But if the tenant wants to leave they can just give 30 days notice?....and what happens if you rent out the property on a temporary rent basis (i.e. 1 year rent and hence subject to five year extension? Even if they didn't how long would it take to evict the tenant and would eviction be justified in law or not?

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