Rental contracts in Spain: what is the minimum obligatory stay in a property?

22 September 2020, Redaction

When renting a house in Spain, many doubts and questions may arise, especially for expats and those moving to Spain for the first time. One question which comes up time and time again regarding rental contracts in Spain is regarding when a tenant can legally terminate his or her housing contract. In the reform of the Urban Rentals Law 4/2013 from 3rd June, which applies to contracts signed from 6th June 2013 to the present, it is indicated that the tenant has a minimum obligatory period of 6 months.

What does the minimum obligatory stay mean for my rental contract?

The mandatory minimum stay means that the tenant is obliged to maintain the contract and pay the agreed rent for the first 6 months from the initial date of the contract.

How is the minimum stay calculated?

The minimum stay in a Spanish rental contract is calculated from the effective date of commencement of the rental agreemnt; this date usually coincides with the date of when the contract was signed.

What happens if the tenant wants to leave the property before the end of this 6 month period?

This would be considered a breach of contract. In this case, unless the owner agrees, the tenant must either:

  • comply with the stipulated term (that is, stay in the property and pay the rent);
  • or pay the remaining months of the contractual rent until reaching the 6 months of obligatory fulfilment (in the that case the tenant does not want to stay in the property).

What if the tenant decides to leave the property after the minimum obligatory stay of 6 months from the signing of the contract?

Once the first 6 months of the contract have passed, the law allows the tenant to terminate the contract, if they notify the owner at least 30 days in advance. It is recommended that this communication is made in writing for clarity. In addition, and only if it has been expressly agreed in the contract, the tenant must compensate the owner in the terms provided for by law.

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