One of the primary concerns people have when relocating is understanding how property rentals work. This article gives a flavour of what to expect in Spain together with some examples of properties available in the town of Alzira in the Valencia region of Spain.
1: Furnished or unfurnished
Property in Spain is usually let as furnished. This is a contrast to the UK where many landlords will prefer to rent unfurnished. The side not to this is that many landlords will take out any furniture that is of good quality and replace with cheaper alternatives. If the furniture is not up to standard the tenant should be prepared to complain.
2: Length of rental contracts in Spain
Rental contracts in Spain will typically be eleven months long. The length of the contract though is relatively unimportant. If the tenant is paying the rent on time and in full and has not caused any problems at the property then the tenants have rights to remain in place and expect the landlord to issue further contracts.
3: Deposit and agency fees
The landlord has the right to charge a deposit to cover for damages. This would typically be one month rent for unfurnished property but landlords may ask for up to two month’s rent as the deposit if the property is furnished. Be aware that deposits are not protected in Spain. The landlord holds the deposit. For this reason it is always worth trying to insist on a one month deposit if possible. The landlord holding the deposit is a system that really fails to work in the favour of the tenant and expect a debate when you finally leave the property. Unofficially (and this will normally be written into a contract as unacceptable) a standard practice amongst tenants in Spain is to hold back the final month’s rent when leaving so the deposit is physically on the table and can be discussed and agreed between landlord and tenant. In addition to landlord fees, if you are renting through an agent the normal practice would be for the tenant to pay the agency fee. Again, this will usually be equivalent to one month’s rent. It is acceptable to negotiate this with the landlord and with the situation as it is now with many properties vacant some landlords may agree to share this fee or the agent themselves may be prepared to offer a reduction.
4: Other monthly expenses in addition to the rental
When taking out a rental contract in Spain check the details of what is included. The property tax, a community fee if it is a property on an urbanisation, water and other utilities are all potential additional expenses. Unlike in the UK, the landlord would normally pay the property tax. You may well get the landlord to agree to include the community fee too. Utilities including water, gas, electricity and telephone would normally be the liability of the tenant.
5: Buyer beware
It is far easier to get something dealt with before you move into the property. Check the appliances, the lights and the hot water are all functioning. It is a buyers market and landlords will be keen to get tenants into properties so do be specific. If you think a piece of furniture or an appliance needs replacing then say so.
Finally, let’s take a look at three sample properties available at the time of writing in the town of Alzira.
Property 1 – 550€ per month:
Property 2 – 500€ per month:
The second property is a modern house on an urbanisation on the edge of the town. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and shares a community pool with other neighbouring properties.
Property 3 – 350€ per month:
The final property is an example of a flat in the town centre. It has large terraces. It has four bedrooms and two bathrooms but he lack of a swimming pool or other communal spaces helps to keep the price down.
Live and work in Spain: The most accurate, practical and comprehensive guide to living in Spain
by Heleina Postings