Rental agreements: make sure you understand everything you sign

Be sure that you know exactly what you're signing in the contract / Gtres
Be sure that you know exactly what you're signing in the contract / Gtres
16 August 2018, Redaction

Whether you are the owner of a home in Spain and you’re letting it out or you are the tenant who is going to live in it, everyone should understand what they are signing in the lease.

Clear and simple language is important, but it should be a complete text, so it is always advisable to have it written by a specialised bilingual lawyer or with the help of an official translator. It must include the rights and responsibilities of each of the parties, because what is said is as important as what is left to the interpretation of the Spanish Urban Leasing Law (LAU).

The rental agreement for a property must be treated with the utmost care so that all parties are satisfied. Just as a landlord wants all the guarantees to be at peace with the person they are renting to, the tenant needs to be sure of what rights he or she has and who pays for what.

To achieve this, it is important to draw up the rental contract. The law firm deSalvador Real Estate Lawyers helps to resolve our doubts and clarify that "we have to make sure that all parties understand what they are signing".

The document must be both clear and simple but complete, that is, it must reflect both the rights and obligations of both parties, including the duration of the contract and its extensions, plus the details of the deposit and who is responsible for the community costs and repairs of the house. "In a contract, what is said is as important as what is not said. To understand what the contract doesn’t say, we will have to resort to the law and jurisprudence, applying what the LAU says," states Pelayo de Salvador.

The purpose of a complete lease contract is to facilitate interpretation by both parties. Not everyone is aware of all the items included in the LAU, nor of the rights and duties they have as owners or tenants.

"It is good if you can understand the contract on its own without having to resort to external sources to interpret it. Only in this way can both parties be sure that they know exactly what they are committing to at the time of signing," says the representative of the law firm.

The basic clauses you must put in a lease agreement:

  • Identification of the parties: The name, address and ID number of all parties to the contract, i.e. the landlord and the tenant.
  • Identification of the property: Address and registration details of the property, location of the community of homeowners or whether it is rented fully furnished or not.
  • Term of the lease: How long the duration and extensions of the lease are, if they are agreed to be longer than the minimum established by the LAU, plus the power of withdrawal from the contract and compensation in this case (which appears in Article 11 of the LAU).
  • Rent conditions and guarantees: Here you would need to establish the deadlines for paying the rent and the method of payment. Don't forget to include the form to update the rent each year, the deposit or deposits that have been made and what happens in case of non-payment.
  • Expenses: Clarify what the service costs are and who will pay each one. This includes electricity, gas, water, municipal taxes, the IBI property tax and home insurance costs, to be paid by either the landlord or the tenant as specified in the agreement.
  • Upkeep and maintenance: The document must also include the works that are the responsibility of the landlord, focussing on the habitability of the home, and those that correspond to the tenant (such as minor repairs, maintenance and damage caused by the use of the flat). Here, the landlord may include some special condition of conservation of some part of the house.
  • Other issues: Also, don't forget to either authorise or forbid the subletting of the property, whether or not pets are allowed and other specific permissions and prohibitions relating to the lease of the house.
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