Clarifications prior to renting a flat or a room

NOTE: The information contained herein applies to room and housing rental. Both are governed by the Urban Leases Act (ULA).

The person who owns the property for rent is called the lesser also called the landlord. That who rents the room or property is called the lessee (also called the tenant).

It is advisable that a prospective tenant should request the lesser for the title to lease the property. If the landlord is a homeowner, he should show the title deed. The tenant may also consult the Land Registry to obtain a certificate.

If the lease agreement is signed by a person already renting the flat, you should verify that he/ she has a lease and permission to sublet.


You should think carefully what sort of place you need: number of bedrooms, furnished or not, central heating, with or without lift, etc.

Think about what you can afford to pay before ending up in debt. It is highly desirable not to dedicate more than 35% of your net income to pay the monthly rent. Don’t forget all the extra things you’ll have to pay on top of the rent such as utilities (water, electricity, gas …).

We must think about the location where we live taking into account work, school, family environment, and so on. However, we must be realistic and given our financial situation, be willing to consider other options.

Do not just see if you like it or not when visiting an apartment,. It is also important to check that the heating, lighting, plumbing and hot water pressure in the bathroom are in working order. Do check if the appliances work and if the blinds work up and down … in short, write a general review of the state of the property or the room that you want to rent.

Should I sign a Lease?

It is desirable to have written statements of the agreements between the two parties, lessor and tenant.

The lease should include: identification of the leased property, Identification of all parties and designate them as Lessee(s) or Lessor (s) and set the premises that will be occupied (if you rent a room) the payment of the rent and the date of the signature.

How long does the tenancy last for?

The initial contract period can be freely agreed among the parties that will sign the contract, although the law provides for a duration of five years.

If for example the initial duration is less than one year), the contract will be extended to five years mandatory for landlord and voluntary for the tenant.

If the tenant wishes to vacate he rental unit before five years, he must serve written notice to the other party 30 days prior to the termination of the contract in force or any of its extensions.

If the lease does not include the initial duration, it would be assumed that it was signed for one year and extended annually.

After a period of five years if neither party notifies the other a month before the end of the lease of its intention not to renew it, it will be extended annually up to 3 years (5 years + 3 years).

How much will I pay for the apartment/room?

The rent is agreed among the parties. The rent is paid monthly in the first seven days of the month. The lessor is required to submit proof of payment, unless it is done by crediting the account you provide the lessor, or by transfer to his name.

The lessor may increase the rent at the end of each annuity, according to the IPC (General Index of the National System of Consumer Prices) published periodically by the official Statistics Body.

After six years, the update will be governed by agreement among the signatories. If there is no agreement, it will be reviewed annually in accordance with IPC.


The Law says that the tenant must hand over a deposit the same as one month’s rent when signing the lease. This amount will serve to cover possible expenses for supplies, damage or non-payment of rent, payments pending at the end of the stay.

Other expenses

As a general rule, the landlord is responsible for paying the communal costs (charged bi-monthly), the property tax (IBI) and tax on urban waste. Only if it agreed in the lease, these shall be borne by the lessee.

In the case of rent, supplies (electricity, water, gas, appliances whenever there are counters) shall be borne by the tenant. It will be required to have a household bank account where making such payments.

In the case of room rental, supplies can be included in the payment of the room if so agreed, or paid among all persons occupying the house, for which it is advisable to have access to invoices

Such agreements shall be included in the contract.

Can I sublet a room?

Subletting is prohibited by law, unless authorized by the landlord in writing.

Who is responsible for repairs?

The landlord must make all necessary repairs to keep the property in a fit and habitable condition; however landlord is not responsible for repairing any damage caused by the tenant.

In any case the tenant is obliged to inform the landlord promptly of any damage or malfunction.

Can I do works in the rented property?

The tenant cannot alter the premises without the landlord’s written consent; the tenant cannot throw away any of the furniture or electrical appliance without the landlord’s written permission.

What if they decide to sell the apartment?

First, the landlord must give the tenant the opportunity to buy the house. If the tenant is not interested, the property may offer it to third parties. The sale of the home does not mean that the tenant should leave the apartment; the new owner must honour the contract until the end of the five year lease.

Breach of the contract

Both parties must fulfil their obligations, if one fails to do so, the affected party may require compliance or to write off the contract, with possible compensation for damages.

You can also agree on some kind of compensation for breach: for example, if the person leaves the room before the time agreed, or if the owner fails to make necessary repairs.

How I can find a flat

  • In the neighbourhood:  We advise that you look for vacant rooms or properties and find out about the intentions of the owners by asking the neighbours or the caretaker (when there is one). Sometimes owners do not put a “for rent” sign but are willing to rent.
  • Internet: You can find many property websites, where you can contact the landlors directly and in other cases you’ll notice a real estate acts as an intermediary to which you will pay a fee. We provide several pages to which you can access: idealista; fotocasa; segundamano; globaliza; en alquiler; etc.
  • Local Newspapers: Some owners resort to publicize their properties under classified adverts in section on rented accommodation.
  • Letting Agencies: Letting agencies advertise vacancies which may be updated regularly. Letting agencies may charge you for their professional services. They can charge the equivalent to one month’s rent.

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