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The Spanish Lawyer Online

How to Evict a Tenant who is not Paying the Rent

Raymundo Larrain Nesbitt - Lawbird Legal Services
17th of December 2007

Non-paying tenants have become a real problem for landlords who rent out their Spanish property, a problem which seems to have been aggravated after August’s credit crunch. While the first thought of a distressed landlord is to lock the tenant out, or shut off the utilities, this is considered illegal by the Spanish Authorities and may lead the landlord to face criminal charges plus the payment of compensation to the tenant. If trying to reach an amicable agreement with the tenant fails, the only feasible option left to a landlord is to start an eviction process through a Spanish Court of Justice. Although the Spanish authorities have promised to enact a new ruling next year which will reduce the eviction time to only two months, currently an eviction of a non paying tenant takes anything between 10 to 18 months (typically one year).

The loss of rental income during this period of time can leave the landlord in bad financial shape, and things may turn uglier if the rental is partly being used to pay off a mortgage: if the monthly payments are not met, the bank could repossess the property. A horror story that many a landlord can be faced with.

What to do

The first signs of warning should be triggered once you’ve verified your tenant is two or three weeks late in the rental payment. With no delay, the first step will be to send the tenant a registered letter (“burofax”) giving him a reasonable deadline to pay the rental due (two weeks suffices). A lawyer should be able to arrange this for you for a reasonable fee.

Trying to reach an amicable agreement.

We are still in the early stages where we are trying to reach an amicable agreement, as starting an eviction process through a Spanish court of justice should only be really used as a last resort. Eviction processes take long, and the tenant can remain (and will probably do so) in the property until the eviction order is issued. Landlords, therefore, should note that reaching an amicable agreement is in the best of their interest, even though this may involve, in many cases, relinquishing a few months rent. Not many landlords are happy with doing this, but it should be noted that the debt is rarely recovered (tenants usually declare themselves bankrupt after an eviction process), and the longer the tenant remains in the property, the bigger the financial loss is going to be.

Some unscrupulous tenants even request from the landlord an amount of money in order to vacate the property, which is in our opinion outrageous and should never be agreed upon.

If trying to reach an amicable agreement fails, there’s no other option but to initiate an eviction process.

Can’t I just lock them out or cut-off the utilities and force them out this way ?

The problem in cutting off the utilities, or changing the locks to the property is that the landlord may be subject of having a criminal proceeding being filed against him.

Changing the locks without the tenant’s permission can be considered either coercion (delito de coacciones) or unlawful entry (delito de allanamiento de morada), or both. These acts are punishable under the Spanish Penal Code. There is ample Jurisprudence on the matter, and as an example we can cite the Supreme Court ruling of the 28th February 2000 (rec 4642/1998).

If the landlord decides to cut off the utility supply, either directly or indirectly (not paying the invoices), he may also be prosecuted for this act, as it is equally regarded as coercion

In addition to this, the landlord will be breaching the rental contract and this weakens his legal position before a court on claiming eviction.
In any case, the debtor before the utility companies is the owner of the property, never the tenant. Any unpaid utility invoices will go against the property. The landlord will have to pay for all the expenses associated to reconnecting his property to the utility services as well as paying the invoices and any delay interests. For all the reasons outlined, this is not a recommended option.

The eviction process

If you have failed to reach an amicable settlement, you will then have to hire a lawyer and initiate what is known as a “juicio de desahucio”, or simply put, an eviction process. The lawyer will have to wait in some cases 4 months of unpaid rental before being able to file a lawsuit. An eviction process is actually quite slow and takes anything from 10 to 18 months (typically one year) until the tenant is effectively vacated from the property by the law enforcement agents.

An eviction process requires a solicitor and the assistance of a procurador, who acts as a conveyor belt between the lawyer in charge of the matter and the law court, does not belong to any law firm and under Spanish law it is compulsory to employ his services on litigation. A lawyer will typically charge you around 1,500 € in legal fees, plus an extra charge of 700 € in Procurador fees. Other costs may involve those of a locksmith.

The law suit is filed by your lawyer in a court where the property is located.

The Debt

The priority for the landlord should be in many cases to recover the possession of the property and vacate the tenant, not to recover the lost rental income prior or simultaneous to the possession. The reason being is that the tenant may use to their advantage several legal mechanisms to delay such payment. These delay tactics allow the tenant to stay even longer in the property at the landlord’s expense. For this reason, the lawyer’s priority should be first to vacate the tenant, and only then to recover the lost rental. These are two separate and distinct legal actions from a procedural point of view.

The landlord can withhold the compulsory one month deposit, normally kept by the real estate agency until the end of the tenancy contract, to make up for the unpaid rental.

Strategies of the Tenant to Delay the Process

On letting properties in Spain, the landlord should be made aware of the numerous professional debtors there are which are very knowledgeable on Spanish Rental Law. These professional deadbeats profit on the biased Spanish laws which are devised to protect tenants, not landlords. They are very common on the coastal areas.

Tenants may choose to refuse to acknowledge all communications sent from the law court compelling them to pay the rental and interests due on the amounts owed. They can actually stall a process by alleging they were not notified in due form.

They can also carry out what is known as “enervación” by which the landlord has to forcefully grant them an opportunity to pay up before the judgment. Even if the landlord refuses payment they can deposit the amount owed at the court and the landlord is forced to continue the rental agreement. This forfeits the legal action taken. However, the tenant can resort to the “enervación” only once. Should they fail to pay a second time this will lead ultimately to an eviction.

The law court will issue an eviction order (lanzamiento) after the positive ruling from the judge sentence. The police will arrive at the property to force the tenant physically to vacate it along with all his personal belongings. You will then recover the possession of the property from that day and will be free to rent it out again.

How can I rent out my property safely?

The widespread fear of landlords not being able to vacate swiftly their defaulting tenants is justified. This helps to explain why there is a huge pool of empty properties in Spain which would be let if the laws were addressed efficiently.

On our next article, Landlord: Keys to Successful Rental Income, we deliver useful tips on how a property can be rented out safely securing your rental income.

What the future holds

There is a vast pool of properties in Spain which are not let due to landlord’s fear of unpaid rental, and the slowness of our eviction process. The good news is that the Government, having realized the importance of lets in our society as an effective alternative to purchasing property, has decided to take action. Plans to pass a new bill on eviction procedures sometime next year was announced on September 28th. This will prove most beneficial, as will speed up significantly the eviction process.

Also, as from 2008, ten new Juzgados de Primera Instancia (First Ruling Courts of Justice) will be created which will handle only eviction procedures. One of these will be located in the Málaga province and will cover all the Costa del Sol.

Do you have a tenant you need to evict from your property?

According to statistics, landlords take an average of 7 months to start an eviction process. Don’t wait any longer. Act now! Lawbird Legal Services has made available to you the “Tenant Eviction” service. Please contact if you need information about this service.

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Discuss this Article

  • Says:

    My partner and i are in arrears with our rental payments by one month we have tried ou best to keep up repayments but i lost my job due to the fact there are no tourists and my partner the main earner had a motorbike accident coming home from work, that was the result of a taxi driver, the insurance for his accident is going through, however, the letting agency has told us they want us out of the property by the end of the week and is threatening balif action please cld you let us know where we stand legally. My partner will return to his position when healed properly he is getting a half of his normal wage and we have offered the letting agency as much as we can afford but they are saying it is not enough.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Madam, Was your contract long term or short term? How long have you been letting this property for? Is this property regarded as your primary dwelling or else as a summer or short term lease? I would really need you to scan and email me a copy of your Tenancy agreement before I'm able to reply properly. Please do so. Fill the above online form and email it to us and we'll take it on from there.
  • Tim Whiteley Says:

    I am a rental management agent who has been in Spain for 7 years. I am now dealing with my first ever problem of a client who has a 11 month agreement and require 3 month free rent plus electric due to minor damp in 1 bedroom and an openfire which cannot be used. Can you please contact me on or 696522171 thanks Tim
  • AJ Fitzpatrick Says:

    I have tenants in Cadiz who stopped paying rent since September 2008, start lease date was June 2008. They have refused to pay any more rent, their lease was for 6 months only which expired December 17th 2008. They still remain in the apartment and are not paying any rents nor community fees. They have been served a legal letter to vacate property and pay all monies due and still they remain. Since their lease contract is up what can I do to remove the tenants from hell? Can I move in to the apartment myself and live there legally as their lease agreement has expired? Or what would you recommend? Regards, AJ.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, As per my article herein above I advise you initiate an eviction procedure as soon as possible. You will have to appoint a lawyer to act on your behalf. A new eviction law has been pre-approved which will greatly speed up the eviction process to the relief of everyone, execept the non-paying tenant of course. You can most certainly not move in to your partment whilst the tenant is still there, regardless if they are paying or not, or else face the risk of being reported to the police. You cannot shut off the utilities either. Please read our article which explains the steps you must take. I take the opportunity to offer you our legal services: Tenant Eviction for a Spanish Property. Please contact us if you are interested in this legal service. Regards, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • gabriella Says:

    we have tenant in our apartment at la apaercida which have not paid any rent or electric or water since moving in in december, do you have a lawer in our area which can help we are costa blanca as we have a mortage on the peoperty which we are now finding hard to met due to not getting the rent please can you help. when we went to see the tenant they were very threatning
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Gabriella, Our law firm acts nationwide, Costa Blanca included. We will be delighted to offer you our Non-Paying Tenant Eviction Service. Please contact us for more details or to discuss this matter further.
  • Mrs Felton Says:

    I gave my keys to a friend before leaving Spain who has since rented out our property, she signed the contract not me as far as i know the tenants are still in the property and the bank want to reposses the house, there has been no rent paid and i am unsure whether there is prople in my house, where do i stand legally as i did not sign anything to sya they could stay there, knowing her mistake ( so called friend) she will not answer my calls or emails. How do i get these people out if they are in our house?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Madam, We would have to study your case in more detail. In any case to give you a brief overview, you could follow a: 1.- Standard civil eviction procedure against your "tenants" (precarios). You must understand your tenants let in good faith with a tenancy agreement and they were handed the keys to the property. 2.- A Criminal procedure against your friend for both emblezzement and unlawful appropiation depending on what amount of money she's withheld. Regarding option one it is taking on average between 6-12 months depending on where your property is located in Spain. We can represent you both on the Civil and Criminal procedure. Contact us if your interested in hiring us. Yours faithfully,
  • kevin Says:

    I rented a house in spain on a 11 month contract. I was not given an contract or inventory to sign. I now have had a hard time due to job hours and am 10 days behind. I did say I would move. The letting agency is saying we must pay now as well as the utilities as per our rental contract, but untilites were included in the rent as per the ad we rented from. Also saying they want to check the items in the house as per the inventory. I never signed a inventory or rental contract- I dont want them to say something is broken when we know it was never in the house. Your advice please
  • Pete Says:

    This is a bit humiliating. I work for a letting company and we rented a house but did not get the rental contract/inventory back from the tenant. This is a shortterm lease under 12 months. The tenant is not behind and utilities are owed. Is there a way to get the tenant to now sign and if not what can we do?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Pete, Not to worry, we are all entitled to our fare share of mistakes in life, after all, that's what makes us human. Back on topic, just tell him that under Decree 218 you need this to be signed again because the Junta de Andalucía is requesting it and he will be held liable. Besides he must sign it it's part of the tenancy agreement as an annex. If the property is outside Andalucía then you can use the equivalent law.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Kevin, You must sign the inventory, it's part of the contract. Besides for some oddball reason tenants indulge themselves on thinking they are somehow more protected in law without signing a Tenancy agreement when in fact, it's just the opposite. A landlord cannot have you removed from his property because you've signed a Tenancy agreement, even on you falling behind in the let (or not paying at all). If he dares, he can be reported to the Spanish Police. Many landlords are now facing prison sentences for having shut-off the utilities or changing the locks having a non-paying tenant dwelling on the property. Please read the article that started this eviction thread. The Landlord will have to follow a formal Eviction Procedure to have you removed which takes on average many months (6-9 months). The Government keeps talking on passing new laws to speed up the eviction procedure.
  • kevin Says:

    Thank you for responding to me earlier. I have today asked to sign an agreement and was told I would not be given one and must pay or move. Is there anything I can do?
  • johnT Says:

    Hi, I am thinking of renting my house. I am debating whether or not to have tenants sign a contract/inventory as the house will be furnished. I have been told it is best to go month to month by some and that I would be ridiculus not to get a contract signed by a tenant. Which would you suggest?
  • Meli Says:

    Hi, I am 10 days behind on my rent and the agent also forgot to give me a contract. When I rented the house the advert said that utilities were included in the rent. I have since received notice from the agent that my contract (which was never signed by me) states that only 80 euros per month is alloted for utilities all else I must pay. I have the advert which states that they are included. I have also been informed that the owners are filing a denucia against me for these utilities and rent. What does this all mean and can you help?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear JohnT, I would always suggest you have written Tenancy Agreements. The only reason not to have it in writing is when people are thinking of commiting tax fraud. If I were a landlord and renting a fully firnished property I would not let my tenant move in prior to him signing a detailed inventory of all furniture.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Meli, It's not a matter of the letting agent forgetting, it's a matter of you not moving in until you have a signed Tenancy agreement. A landlord can have you evicted not only because you are not paying the let but also in case you are paying it late. There's been new rulings in this sense. The landlord has probably initiated an eviction procedure against you. Please read the article that started off this thread. How to Evict a Tenant who is not Paying the Rent - 17th December 2007
  • Emma Says:

    I saw the query before and had a question about similiar. I have just moved out of a flat where it was rented with all utilities included also. Before I moved the landlord filed a Denuncia for unpaid utilities, I was told that this will damage my creditworthiness. I was also not given a contract. Is this true and what can be done?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Emma, If there's no written agreeement perhaps the Landlord is not declaring his rental income which is a tax offence... It is normal that the tenant pays for the utilities which he himself is using. In any case that is normally worded into the tenancy agreement. But you don't have one. Have you seen a copy of the denuncia filed by the landlord? Ask him for a copy, let's see if he's filed it or if he's just bluffing to push you into paying them.
  • beth Says:

    My husband and i are late paying our rent. We did not pay at the beginning of March or April. Our landlady is threatening leagal action. We will have the situation rectified within 6 weeks. We have a 5 year contract and have been living in the apartment for 18 months. Please advise what legal action the landlady can take. Do you think we will be evicted and if we pay up in full within 6 weeks of now do you think it will be ok? Thanks
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    The landlord can hire a lawyer an initiate a formal eviction procedure against you. This takes on average 8-12 months.
  • anonymous Says:

    My tennant is not paying rent in my furnished apartment I am concerned he will take them and leave, can i remove the furnishings and put them into storage before he has the chance.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    I'm afraid you cannot. You cannot enter the property without the express prior permission of your tenant. If you do so, it may be regarded as trespassing and you can be reported to the Police by your tenant.
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    hi we have a couple of moroccon tenants in our spanish apartment who have not paid rent for 2 months and are refusing to move out im told we can not turn the services off but can we take all our furniture out
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, You canot even enter the property without their express written permission, much less remove any furniture. You risk being reported to the Police for trespassing. Please read this thread:
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    ive just had a reply from a lawer in spain about evicting 2 tenants that have not paid rent for 2 months and have been told that the cost will be 1400 euros of which i can not afford at present can i claim it back from tenants or against the letting agent who is supposed to be looking after my interests but seems to be on the side of the tenants even though i did not sign the tenancy agreement he did
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    hi ive read your article on changing the locks but does it work in reverse my agent has told me the tenants are going to change the locks is this a criminal offence
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, You would have to pau your lawyer up front for these expenses. Frankly I doubt you will recover it from your tenants. You cannot claim it back from your estate agents.
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    having tenants you want to evict for non payment of rent is it also illegal for someone to enter apartment when tenants are out remove their belongings and change the lock and also if illegal what are the penalties
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, You face being sentenced to jail for trespassing. On you letting a property you lose the possession of it, which is exactly the whole point of a letting contract.
  • susan Says:

    The tenant who had a 3 year contract has not paid rent for over 6 months. Cam bank are now taking the villa, but the tenant stilll won't pay, his original contract ends in Sept 09, he also claims he has spent 6,000€ on repairs, but no receipts, also i could have claimed on the insurance, but he did not advise me of the so called problems. He did repairs without my agreement, as i did not know about it. He also says he won't allow me onto my property, but is happy to let me lose the villa? He never replies to my emails. What do i do please. I have no spare money live in UK, and do not know what to do. My villa is worth 240,000€ with a mortgage of 157,000€ What do i do? Thanks Susan
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Madam, As explained in a prior email the least of your concerns was the unpaying tenant. Your lender will now repossess your property. But the tenant will actually stay there until he is formally evicted for unpayment. But that will probably be after the repossession procedure is over.
  • anonymous Says:

    can you ask a tenant to pay outstanding utility bills and damage to the property after they have already vacated the property one month previously? (particularly if the matter was not discussed prior to the tenant leaving the premises and the deposit was already settled)
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You can ask, another matter is if they will pay you. If you refunded the one month deposit it is well understood that everything was ok for you otherwise you would have practiced a retention either for the outstanding utility bills or for the damges inflicted to the property or for both. Your case is weak.
  • anonymous Says:

    on the subject of outstanding utility bills and deposits - if an agent (working with the tenant on behalf of the landlord) allowed the tenant to use the deposit as the last month rental payment - and didn't advise of any outstanding bills at the point that the tenants vacated the property, but later contacted them to request the payment of such bills - what legal action can be taken against the tenant for not paying these bills? (in this instance, the bills were in the landlord's name and have already been paid in full). the tenant has been notified of these costs but sadly weeks after they had vacated the property. is there any way of legally chasing for these costs if they are refusing to return my calls or is it a lost cause?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, As per the reply above, it is hardly worthwhile pursuing the matter unless the amounts involved are thousands of euros.
  • Nickademos Says:

    Hi, can you tell me were I stand. My Agents let out my apartment for a week to prospective client of their's with out our permission or our signatures on the contract. they did not pay any security, also the said tenant did not take a copy of this contract, and has a reciept for one weeks rent. Is the tennant therefore tresspassing on our property as they have no agreement with us to be there. The said contract also stipulates that they are responsible to pay all utilities, therefore if I did disconnect them how is that cosidered coercion?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, How can an agent let your property without your permission? How does he have access to the property? He has a copy of your spare set of keys. Is he selling your property and he has let it unbeknownst to you? Or does he regularly let it for short lets acting on your behalf?
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    can i denounce someone in spain in a uk police station or do i have to go to spain to do it and if i can how long would it take
  • catherine Says:

    I am renting a property through an agent and have never fallen behind on the rent. The agent rang last week and said that the bank are going to repossess the house because the owner has not paid the mortgage and needs to remove the owners belongings stored in the garage.(which I allowed).The agent told me not to worry because i have a 10 month contract the bank will have to honor it is this true ,I am worried the bank will come and take my possessions because the owner isn't paying the mortgage.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, I would advise you do it in Spain. Normally no less than 2 hours.
  • iraj Says:

    we have a tennant she dont pay the rent for last 6 months, she damaged the property, and house is in a very bad condition in and out what the best to do ? although we have issed section 8 to her but she not boder at all, please email me on thank for any advise. fom uk
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, Further to your post, I have no idea what section 8 is you are refering to. I strongly suggest you read the article on the eviction procedure which must be followed in Spain and started off this thread (post 1). Regardless if the tenancy is short or long term, you will need to have them evicted. I take for granted your tenancy agreeement had no arbitration clause. In which case you would have to hire a litigation lawyer to initiate the formal eviction procedure. We can offer you our Tenant Eviction for a Spanish Property: Who is it intended for: This service is provided to landlords that have a non-paying tenant in their Spanish property (either a dwelling or commercial premises). What does the service include? Analysis of the case and legal advice. Preparing and filing your suit. Dealing with court proceedings. Attending judicial hearings and submitting evidence. Claiming unpaid rents before the Spanish Courts. What are the steps ? We will first try to reach an amicable agreement. If this fails, we resort to taking legal action. It generally takes a year or less to have the tenant evicted. If you are interested please contact us.
  • Caroline Jaramillo Says:

    I have signed the contract for an student property. It was a nine month contract signed separately, but I signed two of them and paid the deposit trusting in find my other housemate. Five hours later I had realized that I was not able to live in that country for a family reasons and I informed the landlord trying to cancel the contract and agree a reasonable payment, like the deposit of the two rooms that he already charged but he refused to do so and told me that if I signed the contract I have to pay the rent even if I am not living there. Or that I can find a replace tenant and after try to do so, they were going to see if they can do something for me. It Is is it possible to give them an early notification and ask again to cancel the contract or what are the risk I am facing if I dont find a replace tenant before my moving date?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Ms Jaramillo, When you sign a Tenancy agreement you are immediately binded by it. Meaning that if you decide, for whatever raeson, to leave the property ahead of the contract's agreed expiration date you may do so giving enough notice (usually one month) to your Landlord. However you will be held liable for the pending months you agreed to pay until the expiration of the let. Some landlords pursue the outstanding months and some don't, so it's a gamble you take. All will withhold the security deposit which will be not be refunded, in your particular case the 2 months. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    in 2007 we brought an apartment and was told by our lawyer that it was debt free we then found out there was a 4,600 euros owing on community charges which was taken out of our bank account can we claim this back from the lawyer
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr Nicklin, Contact the Law Society -in Spanish- of which he is a member of and lodge a complaint. They will guide you on the procedure to follow.
  • Graham Says:

    How much notice do I need to give to inspect my spanish property, which currently has tenants?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, On you letting a property you lose possession of it. You have no right to visit or inspect your own property unless your tenancy is one of those that belong to art 4.2 of Spain's Tenancy Act (luxury rentals) in which case both parties have freedom to agree on this and basically any other point as they are not constrained by this law. If your let is a normal one, post 1st of January 1995, subject to Law 29/94 then the only occassion you would have a right to inspect the property would be as per art 21 on verifying that repair works of some flaw have been carried out correctly. Bottom line, on letting you lose the possession of the property. Another matter is if your tenant allows you to visit the property, that's up to him but he's not obliged to legally. This permission is highly recommended to always be in writing (i.e. an e-mail suffices) to avoid false accusations. If you enter your own property whilst there is a tenant inside you would be committing illegal tresspasing even on you being the landlord. Needless to say this is a pursuable Criminal offence in Spain and you can be reported to the Police. As I always conclude on tenancies, Tenancy Laws in Spain are heavily biased towards tenants for historical reasons that need to be addressed and adapted to social reality. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • HELP Says:

    The illegal tenants original contract ceased september this year, it was illegal, as he never paid the rent for 11 months. Despite notices to quit, he has ignored me, the cam bank want my house now, as the rent has not been paid, therefore the mortgage neither for 6 months. What rights have i now, this rotten man is losing me my home in spain, and hoping to take it over, for free. I have a mortgage, but over 120,000€ equity in the villa. I am planning to go over and throw him out. We as landlords need protection, any answers which help me please. thanks Susan
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, If you haven't been servicing your mortgage repayments for the last 6 months your last worry should be your defaulting tenant. I refer you to this article: Bank Repossessions in Spain: A Legal Perspective - 25th June 2008 and to this thread: You should focus on averting a full repossession procedure on your Spanish property clearing the arrears. Are you aware that on defaulting a Spanish mortgage loan you have unlimited personal liabilty and will be held personally liable with all your assets for any outstanding amount owed to the Spanish lender? They can pursue you abroad these debts. Yours faithfully,
  • C Peters Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, We moved into a property December last year. It was advertised as a six bed villa with pool, and a parking space. After two months the damp in the downstairs of the property was awful, the landlord and rental agent told me it was my fault because i had not opened windows etc (very rainy in Feb) the damp continued and ruined thousands of pounds worth of goods. We asked the landlord to half the rent as we were paying for a six bed and only using three (upstairs only). We have had no compensation from him. We with held our rent payments to him regarding this, that he needed to sort out the problem, he still has not. My tenancy finishes the end of this month and i need to know my rights, can he just kick me out, as he owes me alot of money, also the property was converted from a three bed to six without planning permission. Does this not mean my contract is void?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, Normally a landlord cannot just "kick" you out and your tenant agreement may qualify for a compulsory long-term tenancy (5 years) if worded incorrectly. However, as you mention that the property is a six-bed villa, we can assume safely it qualifies as a luxury property. Tenants of luxurious Spanish rentals (vivienda suntuaria) are expressly excluded from the protection of Spain's Tenancy Law (Law 29/1994) as per Article 4. I take for granted, in view of your query, that your let qualifies as a "luxury" rental: the let property must either be larger than 300m2 or else the tenancy must be over 5,5 times the Spain's official minimum wage (which is set at 624€ for 2009). What the above implies is that there is freedom of both parties on ruling the contract's clauses. So in other words, if you agree with your landlord that 2 days' notice suffices for you to vacate the property, then that's all that is required. Bottomline, you are not protected by Spain's biased tenancy laws. Naturally, if you do not pay the rent and remain overtime in the property, the landlord will be forced to formally evict you through the law courts. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • teddy Says:

    Thank you for your kind reply however the tenancy agreement is called 'Contrato de arrendamiento de vivienda por temporada'. All the furniture in the property is ours, we pay 1600 Euros per month for the property. As far as we are concerned it is not a luxury property? We were told that we were on an eleventh month contract that automatically goes on from there, we now know this is wrong. It does not have its own drive, no parking space etc. We were lied too when we moved in by the landlord and the agent regarding garage space, damp, pool, etc. So my argument has been that the severe damp in the downstairs which consists of three bedroom, two bathrooms, kitchen and lounge and storage is a loss to us as we can not use anything down there. I have lost clothes and electrical goods that just turned green because for weeks we were first told it was not damp, then we were told it was our fault as we did not open the windows, this damp consisted for months and still does so. I am asthmatic and asked before moving in if the property had damp and was told NO. My neighbours have told me that there has been nothing but problems as the property used to be three bed only with an underbuild ( which the landlord converted without planning into the six bed now known). Many tenants have been caught like me before. So from my point of view my landlord owes me money for the damage to my goods, knowing full well that the downstairs of the property was severely damp. I am paying for a six bed villa and can only use half of it. I am happy to pay the rent according to the size of the property which is now a three bed. What are my rights now as i am not renting a luxury property but one that only has planning for a three beds not six? And he is telling us that we must be out by the end of this month or he will change the locks and kick us out. Thanks
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, You're welcome. Then your case is simplier than I thought. A 1,600€ let is not regarded as luxurious. So ignore what I've written above on luxury accomodation. As I wrote in my prior reply, it doesn't really matter what the wording of the contract says i.e. seasonal contract or long term contract. It's fairly irrelevant. What really matters is if you are using the property as a/your permanent home. Most of the tenancy contracts I examine are drafted incorrectly in the sense that they can be challenged successfully at a law court and be regarded as long-term contracts. Spain's Tenacy Act overprotects long-term tenants. So there is a way to circumvent this by means of Seasonal contracts as per section 3. Many lanllords wrongly assume that just because they head a tenancy contract as (por temporada) in big bold black letters then that's what it is. From a legal point of view it mat not be the case and it can be regarded as long-term. So it's pretty irrelevant what the parties label the contract as. There's abundant case law from our High Court on this issue. If a contract can be argued its a long-term one (it can be proved you live there permanently, it's your place of abode, the dwelling is furbished with your own furniture etc.) then you are entitled to stay legally in the property for a total period of 5 years providing you pay the rent. A new law that has been recently passed amends this slightly and it's no longer as watertight as it used to be: Express Eviction Law Passed by Congress - 30th October 2009 In any case, if you've read the link I've given you to my article on tenant evictions in Spain, landlords cannot lawfully "throw you out" or change the locks. If they do, you can file what's known as a "denuncia" before a Police Station and the case may be regarded as either coercion or harrassment or both which may imply following a Criminal procedure against the landlord. Changing the locks is regarded as coercion. You already have examples of such cases in our forum: We have being denounced by a tenant of having changed the locks. What can we do? Marie Please read our sub-forum on Landlord/Tenant legal queries: Landlord / Tenant Issues Includes Leases, Evictions, etc. On the other hand, you cannot withhold part of the tenancy at any time to offset any loss such as those arising for dampness as you yourself are now in breach of contract. On signing a tenancy contract there's normally a tricky clause whereby you let the property as its is and it is presumed those problems where already there as you are in your right to inspect it rprior to signing the tenancy contract. I would have to examine your tenancy contract to be sure. Bottomline, you are both at fault, one for withholding unduly the let and the landlord for "kicking you out" changing the locks. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • teddy Says:

    Once again my gratitude goes to you for your professional advice. One thing to add in reply however is when we viewed the property it had just been painted white throughout, all you could smell was wet paint? This once again was brought to my attention by my neighbour who said that the walls were green and he had to paint it? Furthermore, the damp is rising damp on all external and internal walls downstairs due to there being no damp proof course whatsoever. Without going on and on and trying to be a good person here am i entitled to deduct the cleaning bills and loss of goods from the rent that is now due? I do have all receipts showing the costs. thankyou once again.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, You're welcome. Well it should really be the landlord who should pay for all these bills, not yourself, as it's part of the maintenance of the property as per Art 21 of Law 29/1994. If the walls were all painted when you arrived, it's fairly obvious you couldn't know the dampness problem. CAPÍTULO IV. DE LOS DERECHOS Y OBLIGACIONES DE LAS PARTES. Artículo 21. Conservación de la vivienda 1. El arrendador está obligado a realizar, sin derecho a elevar por ello la renta, todas las reparaciones que sean necesarias para conservar la vivienda en las condiciones de habitabilidad para servir al uso convenido, salvo cuando el deterioro de cuya reparación se trate sea imputable al arrendatario, a tenor de lo dispuesto en los artículos 1.563 y 1.564 del Código Civil. La obligación de reparación tiene su límite en la destrucción de la vivienda por causa no imputable al arrendador. A este efecto, se estará a lo dispuesto en el artículo 28. You must communicate with your landlord and inform him of the dampness problems by means of a registered letter. He is obliged to undertake the repair work and pay it. The problem is you cannot really withhold legally any amounts on the tenancy. Although on the other hand it is doutbful the landlord would sue you for a small amount. It's really a gamble you are taking on withholding these amounts but I stress it's not legal. Yours faithfully,
  • teddy Says:

    Once again your assistance is grately welcomed and i thank you sincerely. If i do decide to take legal proceedings within the near future i will contact without hesitation. Kindest Regards to you!
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You'e most welcome Teddy. Kind regards, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Susan Says:

    Hello, I am currently 7 months into an 11 month contract (although the contract was drafted in english not spanish - please comment on validity) and 2 months in arrears. I paid the usual months deposit and month in advance upon moving into the property. Further payments were made by bank transfer until 2 months ago when I lost my job and couldnt pay my rent. The Landlord is now threatening to change the locks and cut the electric off if I dont pay all the arrears in the next 10 days. 1. Can she do this? 2. What are my rights? 3. What procedure should she be following? 4. What should I do if she does change the locks while I am out? 5. What penalty would she face? I am genuine and want to remain in the property but am afraid I will be unable to met with his unreasonable timescale for the repayment. I want to reach an amicable agreement with the landlord but it seems she isnt interested. What can I do? Thank you in anticipation of your advice
  • Antonio Flores Says:

    Dear Susan, The landlord is not entitled to change locks or switch supplies of as this is considered to be a criminal offence. You should send the landlord a letter to the effect of warning him that if any of the above are carried out you will take legal action. If the landlord wants you out of the property he has to send you notice of payment and evictions and then file a Court case, which will take a few months. Even though you are bound by a contract generally speaking landlords prefer to settle the matter even of the lose a month or two than having to go to Court. I trust this is useful advice. regards Antonio
  • Katrinre Says:

    I have property in costa del sol, my tenant were late always on payment and now they left the property without paying 3 month rent and bills and they have another 6 month to their agreement. The agency did not do much to recover the money from them despite I am paying them management fee. Please let me know what I need to do, I am also late on my mortgage payment with bank, which is very serious.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Madam, In all honesty it is not an Estate Agency's job to recover unpaid rental. They simply cannot. As a Landlord you are legally entitled to claim from your now ex-tenant all the owed rental, that is the full 9 months. It us up to you to decide if you want to pursue them through the law courts to claim back the unpaid 9 month's rental besides legal interests. Regarding the arrears you mention it is indeed a very serious issue. We have a very long thread dealing with this matter: Bank Repossessions in Spain: A Legal Perspective - 25th June 2008 I believe the arrears should be your prime concern now and you should give them priority. Unpaid rental is second tier in comparison. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Hedgepog Says:

    My sister has a flat that she has been renting out successfully for several years through an Agent in a small town near Vera. In August 2009, after the property had been empty for a couple of months, her Agent said he was returning to the UK but a friend of his would take over the letting of the flat but that an elderly couple would like to rent the flat. My sister agreed to this. However the elderly couple have refused to pay rent, it also appears that they have changed the locks on the property. My sister sent another representative to talk to the 'squatters' and at this meeting they agreed to start paying rent for which my sister sent them bank details. However no money has been forthcoming. The 'squatters' are now claiming they have squatters rights and are refusing to pay. What should my sister do?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, I was wondering when I would be asked this question. With the ongoing credit crunch the number of reported squatters has soared in Spain. If you watch the Spanish news it's becoming all too common nationwide. The high levels of unemployment are driving people to take extreme measures with vacant properties. From a legal standpoint the problem is how long it takes to have them removed from the property, if at all. Art 202 of the Spanish Criminal Code rules on this type of crime. Depending on how clogged the law courts are it can take between 2-4 years or even more to have them removed, in which time the property may have been completely vandalised with even the fixtures being ripped of the walls, including floor tiles and pipes which are then resold. Let me add that if you are repaying a mortgage loan you will have to continue servicing it regardless. And it gets worse. There have been quite a few rulings recently of judges which have established that squatters cannot be removed from the property they are squatting as it's the only place they have to dwell in (!). So effectively it's as if some judges invited other would-be-squatters to follow suit in view of the impunity of their actions and complete disregard for our laws. Recently a luxury unsold development in Mijas (Costa del Sol) which had been repossessed from the developer by the lending banks was invaded by a huge family of gypsies (150 + !!) which literally stormed into the place swarming it: Gypsy families squat in empty Mijas apartments. The problem is that this trend is catching on with the financial crisis and more squatters are being reported. And the same as in England & Wales, the property becomes legally yours after uninterrupted possession (30 years) even if contested and in bad faith. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • roddie Says:

    Dear Sir I am using a Spanish Lawyer in Fuerteventura to try to evict a man who refused to sign the contract he was given. I had stupidly given him jey about 4 days befor e he got it. He paid some rent for a few months but now owes me over a years worth. I have been asked by the lawyer after many months to give them a form signed by me and apostilled by the foreign office. Is this a normal request, I am surprised it was not asked for immediately - not several months later. They have said to me the court has loads of cases and can give not time scale for the eviction. I am getting concerned the money send to them may have been a waste of time as inefficiency seems so rife. Yours Roddie
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dera Sir, I would imagine this "form" is the litigation POA your lawyer needs to represent you and have your non-paying tenant legally evicted. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • kelly Says:

    Hello. We have rented our house for 7 months to a couple. They have a contract saying that they are responsible to pay the utilities etc. They were told that they have to give 2 months notice if they want to leave before the end of the contract. They are always late with payments and will not pay the utilities. They say they are leaving with one months notice and are due to go in the next 2 weeks. They say take the money out of the deposit but the deposit will not cover what they owe and continue to build up debt. They lie that they have done a transfer and they havent. The agent only provided their passport numbers and we know they are going to another part of spain. We want to sue them but as they are leaving in 2 weeks time we will not have a forwarding address for them. Is it possible to issue a denuncia for unpaid rent and utilities that could be served by local police and they could see the tenants official id. more importantly could they make them give them their forwarding address which I believe to be in Malaga. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, Even if they do not have a forwarding address you can regardless issue legal proceedings against them. At some point or other they will have to enter or exit this country and may be stopped. In any case if they have assets abroad, i.e. in the UK, you can always place a charge against them following a Spanish ruling. Please contact us on your matter and we will advise further. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • kevin nicklin Says:

    hi raymundo we purchased an apartment in october 2009 and used a local lawyer to do all the work includeing any debt on the apartment and told there was none however we have just found out that the community administrators took 4751 euros out of our bank account the same month we have contacted them time after time and they refuse to talk about it the present administrators told us to ask the lawyer for a certificate of debt but he will not reply to me either by phone or emails how do i make him comply regards kevin
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Kevin, The last article my law firm has published has a section dealing with this: Buying Property In Spain Part I. Buying Resale: Avoiding the Pitfalls - 31st January 2010 4. Are There Charges, Encumbrances or Debts Against the Property? Additionally the above land registry information will describe the property (size, bedrooms, boundaries etc) and reveal if there are any charges or liens against it i.e. a mortgage, a right of way or even an embargo. However not all debts against a property are lodged at the land registry. This is an angle which your lawyer will cover as well. For example on buying a resale in a Community of Owners in Spain you will be held liable for all the debts of the previous owner in the current year in which you are buying it and also for the previous year, in other words, dating back two years. The new owner will also be held liable for unpaid utility services and local taxes. This is because these debts go against the property itself, not against the previous owner. So whoever owns the property will be held liable. Other local taxes levied by the Town Hall where the property is located may be left outstanding by the previous owner (i.e. IBI tax and Garbage collection). These may not be lodged either at the property register. It may be a good idea to hire Title Insurance just to play safe. There are companies offering you 20 years legal protection at very competitive prices. It’s well worth looking into. On buying a property a lawyer should request from the vendor a Certificate from the Community of Owner's administration signed by the community's president stating there are no debts/community charges against the property. On Buying a property in a commonhold you will be held liable for all debts against the property for the last 2 years. The fault isn't the vendor's, I'm afraid, it's your lawyers. You should confront him/her on the issue. I also happen to explain it on my article on Community of Owners in Spain: Comunidad de Propietarios: Avoid Problems with Your Neighbours in Spain - 26th June 2009 Owners’ Duties Section 9 rules them in detail. The main duty will be, of course, to contribute to the maintenance and financial upkeep of the Community of Owners. Failure to pay the community fees will result in the Community of Owners placing a lien against your property and possibly auctioning it off. This legal procedure in Spain works surprisingly efficiently. You have been warned! This important article mentions as well the endowment of the communities mandatory reserve fund, in accordance to each owner’s commonhold quota. The purpose of this fund is to create a financial pool for the maintenance and repair of the building i.e. façade’s flaked painting or lift repair work. This reserve fund shall be endowed with an amount not lower than five percent of its last ordinary budget. Its funds will be used as well to pay for the building’s insurance cover. On buying a resale in a community, the new owner will be held liable for the prior owner’s communities’ debts for the current year of transfer of ownership as well as the natural year immediately precedent (art 9 e). The property itself will be burdened with a lien for unpaid communal debts. Which is why under law, the signing of the deed of transfer of ownership requires a Communities’ certificate stating that communal fees are up-to-date for that unit, signed by the communities’ administrator. The purchaser can however waive this requirement voluntarily. Regards, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • David Says:

    I have a tenant on a rent to buy option, they have put down a large sum and pay the morgage for the next 2 years then due to compleat, if they defalt they loose everything. We are 6 months into the contract. They asked for 3 months grace on the rent as they say they a struggleing, i declined. They then sent me an email stating it was there intention to leve the property at the end of the month (whitch is when there next rent is due), i confermed my acceptance in way of reply email. They have no seeked legal advice and there rep has told them thy may as well stay in the house asit can take 2 yrs for me to force them out, meaning i now have to pay €1500 per month while they stay in the property ! Given the written conformation that they were going to leve the property does that nopt mean i can change the locs at the end of february ?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, I'm afraid you cannot change the locks, no, despite their e-mail confirming they would leave in advance. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Maria Says:

    I rented a flat in Marbella a few weeks ago. The washing machine was not working and the water keeps pouring down from the toilet. Before I moved in, the owner promised to buy a new washing machine and call a plumber to repair the toilet. It was almost a month ago and nothing happened although I contacted the owner several times about it. What can I do? What will happen if I refuse to pay the rental fees until these problems will be solved?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear María, There's a nice blog post written by Antonio Flores summarizing what I've been hammering on this thread for years now: Expat Legal-Gossip Gathering Pace (Part 1) - February-27, 2010, Quoting an excerpt: Spanish Rental agreements 1.My tenant is not paying, I will change the locks: FORGET IT, you can end up in the gallows for this because it is trespassing. 2.My tenant is not paying; I will cancel the electricity and water supplies: CAREFUL, doing this is punishable under the Spanish Criminal Code as it is considered to be coercion and/or harassment. 3. My landlord has not made some repairs I have asked him to do so I am deducting the repair costs from the rent. NO, if you do this you can get evicted. Rent has to be paid every month, religiously, and if you want to ask him to carry out remedial work on the property you have to notify him formally. They are 2 separate issues and cannot be mixed up because the law has established this. 4. I have an 11 month contract which I am told is short term and so I will be able to kick the tenant out on expiration of the term: FALSE, all residential rental contracts can be challenged and extended up to 5 years, optional for the tenant and mandatory for the owner. A registration certificate with the local Town Hall will suffice to invoke this. 5. My contract is in German so it is not valid: A very common fallacy. Any document which can be translated by a registered or certified translator or interpreter is valid in a Court of law. Your case would be number three. At no time can you withhold part or all of the rent so as to offset it against a potential loss or lack of performance of the landlord. Your landlord is obliged to repair both as it affects the habitation conditions of the dwelling in compliance with art 21 of Spain's Urban Tenancy Act which presumably rules your tenancy if it was done after 1994: Artículo 21. Conservación de la vivienda 1. El arrendador está obligado a realizar, sin derecho a elevar por ello la renta, todas las reparaciones que sean necesarias para conservar la vivienda en las condiciones de habitabilidad para servir al uso convenido, salvo cuando el deterioro de cuya reparación se trate sea imputable al arrendatario, a tenor de lo dispuesto en los artículos 1.563 y 1.564 del Código Civil. La obligación de reparación tiene su límite en la destrucción de la vivienda por causa no imputable al arrendador. A este efecto, se estará a lo dispuesto en el artículo 28. 2. Cuando la ejecución de una obra de conservación no pueda razonablemente diferirse hasta la conclusión del arrendamiento, el arrendatario estará obligado a soportarla, aunque le sea muy molesta o durante ella se vea privado de una parte de la vivienda. Si la obra durase más de veinte días, habrá de disminuirse la renta en proporción a la parte de la vivienda de la que el arrendatario se vea privado. 3. El arrendatario deberá poner en conocimiento del arrendador, en el plazo más breve posible, la necesidad de las reparaciones que contempla el apartado 1 de este artículo, a cuyos solos efectos deberá facilitar al arrendador la verificación directa, por si mismo o por los técnicos que designe, del estado de la vivienda. En todo momento, y previa comunicación al arrendador, podrá realizar las que sean urgentes para evitar un daño inminente o una incomodidad grave, y exigir de inmediato su importe al arrendador. 4. Las pequeñas reparaciones que exija el desgaste por el uso ordinario de la vivienda serán de cargo del arrendatario. The problem you have is that you moved into the property with these problems ongoing. Normally all Tenancy Agreements have a clause whereby the tenant acknowledges that the dwelling is in perfect condition to live in. Meaning there are no problems. You should have specifically worded into your Tenancy agreement there were outstanding problems which the landlord was obliged to deal with and carry out the remedial work. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Maria Says:

    Thanks for your answer! May I have another question? Yesterday when I got back to the flat, the electricity was turned off and I have found a bill in the post box and according to it the owner hasn't paid for 4months. I rented the flat 1month ago and the rental fee has to be paid till this Friday, but I'm fed up and want to move out. Does this mean that the contract is no longer valid and I can leave without notifying the owner 30days in advance? (And without losing my deposit?) Maybe you should write an article about the rights of tenants... Thanks again!
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear María, I guess you are right. You are not the first one to ask me for such an article, I'll just have to write it! I think you should advice your landlord you are bound to file a denuncia for coercion against him if the electrical supply has been cut-off because of unpayment. Maybe that will save you all the trouble of actually having to file it and you are promptly refunded by him. If you want to leave the property you will still have to give 30 day's formal notice (registered letter i.e. burofox) is advisable as evidence. Your landlord has clearly breached the Tenancy agreement. You should have your 2 month's tenancy deposit refunded, yes. Regards, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Tim Harrison Says:

    Hi, I have read all the comments on your forum and they make very interesting reading. I realise I have made some mistakes but so has my landlord. I'm renting an apartment for 750€ a month and during the recent heavy rain storms the ceiling came down flooding half of it and causing damage to both the apartment and our own property. An insurance assessor promptly arrived and agreed the damage was caused by the flood and valued our costs at €2,000, (the ceiling fell on my computer and phone). The assessor went on to explain that his company wouldn't pay our claim as it had happened many times before and so wouldn't be covered. He suggested that we came to a rent agreement with our landlord instead. I now realise it was a mistake but I only paid €500 rent that month and said the rest would be paid once repairs were made and compensation made for my losses or our losses were taken from any future rent. He refuses to pay or accept any blame whatsoever, repairs have not taken place and half the flat is unusable. He now insists I leave at the end of the month but if do this I know I will never receive my compensation. What is my best option to resolve this? Many thanks in advance Tim
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, As explained in post 76 above, it is the duty of the landlord to carry out all the necessary remedial work on the property to make it fit for human dwelling. The fact your roof has fallen renders that part of your dwelling uninhabitable. Your landlord should repair it under the the Urban Tenancy Act (Art 21). Regarding your desktop and your phone your landlord is not liable to pay for these. Yours faithfully,
  • sunshine Says:

    Dear Sir, Recently one of our apartments suffered a water leak from the property above The tenants are now saying that their personal property was damaged and that they will not pay the rent until they are compensated for their loss. Our apartment has some damp now because of this leak and they also want this fixed. However I do not see why I should pay for the repairs or their loss as the problem was not down to me. The other problem is is that I cannot get hold of the owner of the other property to make a claim against him. Can my tenants legally withold the rent? Can they ask me to pay for their belongings? Do I need to fix repairs that were not my fault? How do I make a claim against my neighbour? What if i cannot find my neighbour or he has no insurance? Can i ask my tenants to leave? thanks
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, You do not have to compensate your tenants for their loss. You are however obliged legally to carry out the repairwork (damps) as per my prior posts. Your tenants cannot legally withhold the rent. Yes you can file a claim against your neighbour because of this. Hopefully he will be insured. Yours faithfully,
  • Unregistered Says:

    i have a very similar problem. my neighbours rented their property and when the tenants left they left a bath overrunning which then caused a leak into my apartment. My apartment was being rented at the time and my tenants are refusing to pay rent until i (or someone) pay them for their loss.. they want to claim nearly 1200 euros in damages for various things though i think they are just making up these figures as they cannot produce recipts. their rent is only 350 a month and they have not paid anything for nearly 3 months. however my neighbour has no insurance and says its not his fault. i really dont know what to do , i need the rent to help towards my mortgage and cannot afford to pay the tenants and i dont see why i should - shouldnt they have their own insurance? can i hold my letting agents responsible as they got me these tenants and they should make sure the tenants pay the rent to me, but they wont help either. what can i do? please help!!
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, You cannot be held liable for this accident. You tenant cannot expect you to pay for their material loss. As per my reply above, you would however have to carry out the remedial work neccessary on the property to make it once again fit for habitation as per art 21 of Spain's Urban Tenancy Act. At no time can your tenants withhold the rent to offset their material loss. Nor can they ask you to offset the two month's rental deposit against their loss either. You can always claim against your neighbour for this accident. Hopefully they too will be insured. Actually it's you as a landlord who should have home insurance, not your tenants. At no time can your letting agents be held liable for this unfortunate accident. They are completely unrelated to the accident. Estate agents cannot be held liable either for non-paying tenants, sorry. Please read the following article which may be of help next time you let the property: Non-Paying Tenants? No Longer an Issue – 23rd October 2009 Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • john Says:

    thanks for your quick reply, the property was repaired as soon as possible at a cost to me. I was hoping to recover this from my neighbour but he has no insurance. I do have insurance for my home and the contents but they say I need to claim against my neighbour, they also say they do not cover my tenants. My tenants are still demanding money from me and will not pay the rent. please can you let me know.. - How do I make a claim against my neighbour for the costs incurred by me if he has no insurance of his own? - can my tenants make a claim against my neighbour for their loss? - my other tenant (in another property) does have renters insurance so I know it exists so if my tenants in this case did have renters insurance could they claim on that? - what is my next step if they still refuse to pay? thanks again
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear John, You are welcome. Replying to your queries: 1 - How do I make a claim against my neighbour for the costs incurred by me if he has no insurance of his own? In that case you would have to sue him directly as he's the one at fault. Prior to that it is advisable to hire a law firm to sooth the way leaving litigation as a last resort. Normally a settlement can be reached which satisfies both parties waiving litigation altogether. 2 - can my tenants make a claim against my neighbour for their loss? It would have to be you. 3 - my other tenant (in another property) does have renters insurance so I know it exists so if my tenants in this case did have renters insurance could they claim on that? Of course, as per my replies above. 4. - what is my next step if they still refuse to pay? thanks again As highlighted above, you ought to hire a lawyer who will try to reach an amicable settlement with your upstairs neighbour. Should this not be achievable, you would then have to decide if you want to litigate against them. Yours faithfully,
  • Unregistered Says:

    Hi everyone, This is a different take on what you're talking about, but I need some advice/help. I'm currently living in a rented apartment in Madrid. I handed in my notice in January and my landlady refused to help. She would tell me one day that I could move out no problem, then another day that I couldn't. The thing is, I stupidly paid my deposit directly to her and not to a third party, therefore she has refused for the past 3 months that I cannot have my deposit back. (I need it to place a deposit on a new flat). I DID sign a contract, but my landlady told me I would receive a copy of it when I gave her a photocopy of my passport. I never did this as I wanted my contract before giving her personal details such as my passport. My question is this - I am not going to pay rent for a month, to make up the money I will lose by her not returning my deposit to me, and then just move out without telling her. Is this stupid? What can she do in this situation? She has no way of tracing me and I literally have no other choice. I am so stressed and I have tried so hard to be helpful to her, but still, she refuses to cooperate. Help! Thanks :)
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, I understand your plight. When I was also an undergraduate student in Madrid landlords never missed out on the opportunity of taking advantage of poor students which by definition are broke. I guess things haven't changed much over time. As per my post here you cannot legally withhold the rent against the owed deposit. But you already knew this. What you are really trying to ask me politely is if it's worthwhile for your Landlord to sue you for one month's rental. In short no, unless you are on a luxury accomodation. But if you are the average hard-working peniless student you can be almost certain they will not pursue you for one month's let. It is not worthwhile for them. It's like killing a fly with a machine gun. Good luck. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Unregistered Says:

    Thank you very much. This is very helpful: I feel a lot less worried about the situation, now that it's unlikely there will be police waiting to detain me at the airport the next time I try to leave Spain. Thanks again!
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You're welcome. The Police do not detain you for debts! No-one is sentenced to jail on owing money in Spain. Another matter is that if you are sued you may be brought into custody to be trialed. But as if I've written it's hardly worthwhile suing you only for a month's let. The expenses far exceed any potential reward and besides the plaintiff must pay in advance these fees to their lawyer and court agent. The risk-reward ratio quite simply doesn't warrant takig action unless we factor in emotions i.e. your landlord despises you and will sue regardless. Yours faithfully,
  • Minerva Says:

    "I have a tenant with whom my wife signed a lease for an unfurnished two bedroomed apartment just over a year ago. It was an eleven month lease although the tenant expressed a desire for a longer lease and a wish to stay for at least 24 months and so an extra clause was built into the lease permitting an automatic extension on the lease up to 22 months. The possibility of purchase after this time time was discussed but not written up legally. Although I have had no problems with my tenant, my situation in the interim has changed. I initially included a clause in the lease to say that there were were "no grievances against the property" which might cause a tenant difficulties and that all payments against the community expenses were paid. As it turns out I have been unable to pay the community expenses to the amount of approaching 5000 euros. I was actually aware of this when I signed the lease with my tenant but did not see it as a possible interference. As a result of non-payment of this debt, my tenant has been approached by the Community lawyers (V and V Advisors) , threatened, and had rights to areas of the urbanisation restricted. My tenant has suggested that our original lease is not legal and she is maintaning that the original rent is no longer binding as the original lease was signed in good faith with certain understandings. She claims the original lease has been rendered void (by myself because of my knowing of ongoing and permanent debts against the property which would (and does) affect the rights of the tenant with the community) and thus, she says, the original lease never was binding since I as the Landlord was aware that the original agreement was invalid since I knowingly signed subsections whilst being aware of them to be of the contrary. My tenant has offered a lower rent:800 euros due to the disparity between what was initially offered as part of the rental agreement and what is now available. As far as I am concerned, the problems between the community and I have occurred after the contact and do not have anything to do with the the present contract with the original for the monthly rent of 900 euros which I am still expecting. As the owner of the property, I am requesting the continuation of the 900 euros the tenant has paid for the past 12 months since I have my own obligations in the form of mortgage etc. I am attempting to catch up with the community fees although I do realise that there is a considerable disparity between what I have pa¡d and what is actually owed. In the meantime I have been told that access for my tenant will continue to be be restricted. A.D. King Please advise Andrew King c/o
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, Your tenant must continue paying the €900 agreed as per the binding contract signed. However, you have breached the contract as per the signed clause on signing a Tenancy agreement with them as there are outstanding debts (community fees) against the property which impact on the tenants quality of life. It is up to your tenant to terminate his tenancy ahead or else you can both reach an appropriate settlement and add it in writing as an annex to the Tenancy agreement. i.e. to offset the tenant being barred of communal facilities out of no fault of his own you agree to lower the monthly rental €200 as compensation. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • ricky Says:

    Hi Raymundo we recently rented a property 5 bed with pool 4 bathrooms when we moved in the pool was un clean and 2 out of the 4 bathrooms where not useable our land lady said that these problems would be sorted out as soon as we paid the full deposit. We asked various people for advice the who said to us not to pay the deposit till work was completed which we did still no work carried out so told to withhold the rent mean while the water was turned off as there was 2 outstanding bills owing we suspect the landlord has done this as the meter is still there were do we go from here ?? help please.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi Ricky, You've been well advised. A tenant should always demand from the landlord that all outstanding issues be repaired prior to them moving in. i.e. green swimming pools, flaked painting, household appliances in disrepair, gardens in poor state etc. Normally all Tenancy agreements have a standard clause whereby the tenant acknowledges the property is in perfect conditions to be rented and lived in. Once you sign this clause any issues which were not resolved prior to you moving in, despite promises from the landlord, can actually be blamed on yourself to wear and tear unless of course you took the precaution of wording these issues highlighted in the snag onto the Tenancy agreement. i.e. a retention is practices on account of the green swimming pool with the landlord undertaking the obligation to have it repaired. My advice would be to always make sure to do a snag prior to both moving in and signing the Tenancy agreement. Once you've verified all issues have been solved by the landlord at your entire satisfaction only then sign the rental contract. Regarding shutting you off the water supply for whatever reason, i.e. landlord not paying it. I copy you in my last unpublished article: Renting Property in Spain: Common Mistakes to Avoid (Part I) - 12th May 2010 Levante Lifesyle Magazine Renting Property in Spain: Common Mistakes to Avoid (Part II) - 16th June 2010 Levante Lifesyle Magazine 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Renting Property in Spain Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt 22nd of April 2010 I thought it would be a good idea to summarise in an article the most common faults that both landlords and tenants make on letting out property in Spain. Some of these slip-ups can cost landlords dearly and may even lead them to being prosecuted criminally in Spain by their tenants. E.g. Many problems stem from the fact that landlords don’t fully grasp the legal implications of renting a property out in Spain. What renting entails is losing possession of the property which means you can no longer enter the property if it is not with the permission, preferably in writing, of your tenant, regardless if they are up-to-date with the rental or in arrears; that is not an issue. Landlords cannot enter their own property even if it’s just for “inspection” purposes without the said permission. There are many more misunderstandings and blunders that I could have listed although for simplicities’ sake I’ve decided to leave them out to keep this article reasonably short. Landlord’s top five mistakes Many expat landlords are unaware of the different mechanisms in place to secure rental income and often fail to implement them in their rental agreements which can leave them unprotected if the tenant does not, or cannot, pay the rent. These mechanisms are explained in my article.- Landlord: Keys to Successful Rental Income – 31st January 2008. Most of the blunders made by landlords are related to their tenants becoming non-paying tenants. This can understandably exert great pressure on landlords, especially if they are relying on the rent to offset it against their mortgage repayments, which can easily lead them to take rash decisions that may come back to haunt them later on in life- 1. Shutting off utilities (water & electricity). Landlords often feel the urge of doing this on their tenant missing out on their rental. If you happen to do this your tenant can report you to the police. Doing this may be labelled as either coercion or harassment or both. Your tenant can prosecute you criminally on doing this. So you may want to think twice before doing this. If the utilities are in the name of the landlord and he stops paying them on purpose to mount pressure on the non-paying tenant he can equally be prosecuted as it’s equated to shut-off the utilities physically. 2. Changing the locks. Same as above, it may be regarded as either coercion or harassment or both and you may be prosecuted criminally for this. 3. Evicting non-paying tenants with the assistance of “friends”. Landlords may feel tempted to take justice in their own hands and “break in” the property assisted by some square-jawed tattooed acquaintances from the local pub. This is seldom a bright idea and may land you and your “friends” in a Spanish jail for unlawful entry (trespassing). The only way to evict your tenant is to hire a lawyer and initiate a formal eviction procedure through the law courts. New laws have been enacted to help speed-up the eviction procedure. But on average it is still taking 5-9 months depending on how clogged law courts are. 4. Entering the property to perform a “routine check”. “It’s my property and I will enter it when I please.” I’ve often heard this line from disgruntled landlords who just cannot believe they are forbidden from entering their own property in Spain if it’s not with the prior –written– permission of their tenant. You simply need their permission following Spain’s Urban Tenancy Act regardless if they are paying the rent or not. 5. Eleven month contracts are short-term and watertight. Erm, I’m afraid not. This single blunder is responsible of many legal problems at a later date. What qualifies a rent as either a short or long-term one is not the fact that it’s labelled one way or the other. What matters really is that the tenant and his family are not using the property as their main residence and this must be expressly built and worded into the Tenancy agreement so it’s truly a short-term tenancy. Tenants can successfully challenge at court short-term contracts of 11 months morphing them into long-term ones (5 years). During the next 5 years you will be unable to recover possession of the property whilst the tenant pays being forced to rent it out. The new Express Eviction Law has now amended this and allows landlords to introduce clauses that waive the statutory long-term requirement of 5 years i.e. a clause whereby it is stipulated that the property will be needed for the landlord’s own use or for that of his family. However, if after 3 months’ time the landlord or his family have not taken possession of the property, he will be forced to re-install his ex-tenant and award him a suitable compensation to offset the expenses of the move. Luxury rentals are excluded from this protection as Spain’s Tenancy Act does not rule them; luxury rentals are ruled by the will of the parties. Tenant’s top five mistakes To be fair to landlords tenants also make their fair share of mistakes.- 1. A verbal Tenancy contract is better than a written one. Erm, no. I really don’t know where tenants get this idea from. In Spain verbal contracts are as equally valid as written ones. The problem lies when there are disagreements. It’s very difficult to prove what was actually agreed in a verbal contract i.e. landlord pays for the utilities. It’s in the best interests of both tenant and landlord that rental agreements are always put in writing. Tenants have a right to demand having a verbal contract put in writing by their landlord. 2. I can always offset the 2 months let deposit against my unpaid rental. No you cannot. That two month’s deposit payable at the on start has its own purpose and at no time can be used to make up for any shortfall on the rental. 3. I can always leave the property ahead giving 30 day’s notice. Yes you can but you will be held liable to pay for the remaining months you agreed to rent. i.e. say you signed an 11 month contract and on the third month of the let you give notice that you will be leaving ahead of the expiration of the agreed rental. You may leave ahead but you will owe the let for the remaining 8 months despite you giving notice, it is unrelated. Some landlords will pursue you legally if you fail to pay the balance owed and yet others will turn a blind eye thinking it’s hardly worthwhile the legal hassle. Obviously depending on the sum of money owed it may be more or less worthwhile to pursue you legally. Whatever the case may be, you ought to know that legally you owe the outstanding months and if you decide not to pay them you are taking a legal gamble that may or may not pay off. 4. Deducting damages from the rent. All tenants feel tempted to fall for this one. Classic examples of this would be: i) After heavy rainfall I’ve had this terrible damp patch with an aggressive mould growth which has cost me €300 to be removed. Plus my new laptop got damaged as a result (€1,000). I’ll deduct the €1,300 from my let to make up for both. ii) The washing machine broke down and cost me €150 to repair. iii) My landlord is not paying the community fees and as a result I’m now being disallowed from using the complex’s facilities i.e. swimming pool. I’ll just pay €300 less a month to offset for this. Cont'd below
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    I could put more real-life examples of the queries I’ve received over the years but I think that’ll do for now. At no time can a tenant decide unilaterally to pay less rent or withhold part of the rent to offset against these unforeseen damages or expenses. First of all some damages have to be paid, under law, by the tenant himself; especially those relating to the normal wear and tear on renting out a property (Art 21 of the Urban Tenancy Act as well as Arts 1563 and 1564 of the Spanish Civil Code). It is seldom a good idea to practice retentions or withhold amounts when you feel it’s appropriate without having the landlord’s agreement. This may even be a cause for legal eviction as you are effectively breaching the signed Tenancy agreement. 5. The property is being repossessed and I’m being asked by the lender to vacate it. Actually you don’t have to in long-term tenancies. Following Art 13 of Spain’s Tenancy Act it allows tenants to stay in the property until they complete 5 years providing it’s a long-term tenancy. This is true for urban rentals signed after the 1st of January 1995. The bank after repossession takes on the role of landlord. Lenders on repossessing the property must respect by law outstanding tenancy agreements. The tenant must continue paying the rent to the new owner, the bank. Obviously both tenant and bank are free to decide that it may be better to reach an amicable settlement to leave the property ahead of the 5 years. i.e. they can decide on a suitable compensation for all the hassle involved, say 6 month’s tenancy, plus the expenses of the removal. There’s freedom to agree. In Conclusion Spain’s Tenancy laws are biased towards tenants for historical reasons that need to be addressed immediately. The Government has taken notice of this pro-tenant bias and are regularly passing new laws, i.e. Express Eviction Law, with the aim of streamlining rental procedures. There is much to be accomplished still if Spain’s rental market is to become as strong and relevant as that of fellow European countries. Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. Related articles: Rent-to-Buy Or How To Profit From Spain's Market Downturn – 5th November 2009 Express Eviction Law Passed by Congress – 30th October 2009 Non-Paying Tenants? No Longer an Issue – 23rd October 2009 Comunidad de Propietarios: Avoid Problems with Your Neighbours in Spain – 26th June 2009 New Express Eviction Law: Much Ado About Nothing -13th July 2009 Paying the Rent Late Twice will be Cause of Eviction – 4th June 2009 Spanish Express Eviction Law Pre-Approved – 24th December 2008 Landlords Afraid of Non-Paying Tenants Take Pre-emptive Measures -16th September 2008 Landlord: Keys to Successful Rental Income – 31st January 2008 How to Evict Non-Paying Tenants – 17th December 2007 Related legal services offered by Lawbird: Tenant Eviction for Spanish Property Drafting of Tenancy Agreements Lawbird Legal Services is a law firm with broad experience in Litigation, Corporate and Spanish Property Law. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Ken Says:

    I am a property owner and about to start a new agreement with an agent for them to rent out my property on short-term (landlord/tenant) lets to tenants that they source. Having previously experienced a agent go bust on me losing rent and deposits that they held, I requested that this new agreement allow all tenant deposits and ‘last-month’ rent to be held by me rather than the agent. The agent have said that they cannot do this because it is a legal requirement in Spain for deposits to be held by the agent. Is this correct? What if there were no agent the landlord/owner would hold the deposit.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, There is no such legal requirement in Spain. Deposits are normally held by the landlord. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Suziegirl Says:

    Dear Sir I do hope you can give me some advice. Almost 3 years ago, I rented my property in Catalonia, out to my 'friends', as they were friends, we did not sign contracts, and I did not ask for a deposit, however now they are 3 months behind with the rent. Could you please advise me my legal position and what steps I should take to get them removed from my property. Kindest Regards
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Madam, A verbal Tenancy agreement is just as valid in Spain as a written one from a legal point of view. It takes on average between 4-9 months to have them removed depending upon just how clogged the law court ruling the case is. Regardless if the tenancy is short or long-term one, you will need to have them legally evicted. I take for granted your tenancy agreement had no arbitration clause. In which case you would have to hire a litigation lawyer to initiate a formal eviction procedure. You cannot evict them on your own or else they could file a report against you before the Spanish police which could lead to you being sentenced to prison. You cannot change the locks or shut-off the utilities; you may be reported to the Police as it’s a criminal act. Please read my article above. I take the opportunity to offer your our legal service on Tenant Eviction for a Spanish Property: Who is it intended for: This service is provided to landlords that have a non-paying tenant in their Spanish property (either a dwelling or commercial premises). What does the service include? • Analysis of the case and legal advice. • Preparing and filing your suit. • Dealing with court proceedings. • Attending judicial hearings and submitting evidence. • Claiming unpaid rents before the Spanish Courts. • What are the steps? How much does it cost? i) Non-luxury rental: • €1,300 plus 16% VAT in legal fees • Plus a further €600 for the court agent’s fees. ii) Luxury rental (those that exceed €3,500 a month): • €1,300 plus 16% VAT in legal fees • Plus a further €600 for the court agent’s fees. • 10% on all the recovered amounts (i.e. rental arrears). We will first try to reach an amicable agreement. If this fails, we resort to taking legal action. It generally takes less than 9 months on average to have the tenant evicted. If you are interested in hiring this legal service, please e-mail me. We act nationwide. As from The 1st of July 2010 professional VAT will be raised from 16 pc to 18 pc. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Bill Johnson Says:

    I am intending to seek, through the courts, the eviction of various tenants from a single residential property I own on the Costa del Sol. The property has been occupied by a family, children and related in-laws. When applying to the court for eviction of everyone, is it compulsory to name each and every individual within the demand or is it sufficient to just name only the principal family member on the Tenancy Agreement in order to have everyone removed. Thank you for your consideration and anticipated response.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr Johnson, It is unnecessary to name everyone, yes. I take the opportunity to offer you our Tenant Eviction Service. Should you be interested, please contact us. Yours sincerely,
  • Unregistered Says:

    hi i was wondering if anyone could help? a friend of mine rented their apartment out to a couple. they lived there for around 3 years, the contract was for 11 months each time and then at the end of those 11 months a new 11 month contract was put together. at one point during their stay my friend lowered the rent for them so a new 6 month contract was drawn up from feb 2009-sept 2009. after that period the tenants started paying the full rent again. however from sept 2009 - feb 2010 no new contract was drawn up and the tenants left in feb 2010, giving my friend 1 month´s notice. now these tenants have not paid the electric bill from jan 2010-feb 2010 (it may also be from dec 2009 too) so they owe her money for the electric bill. she has asked them for the money but they have not contacted her and she has not new address for them. legally does she have any rights in terms of getting the money back? and if so how can she do this? i wasn’t sure as they did not have a contract showing that they lived there, however there is a concierge in the building and neighbours who will confirm they lived there and email messages from my friend and the tenants. thanks in advance for any advice.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, It doesn't matter if they did not have a written contract, they will be held liable for these outstanding utility bills regardless. A verbal Tenancy agreement in Spain is just as valid as a written one although for obvious reasons, such the problem you highlight, it is not recommendable. The problems rather are: 1. Is is worth all the hassle and expenses of hiring a lawyer to pursue 2 or 3 month's electrical bill? How much are we talking of? €400? €600? 2. You need to find them (address) 3. Do they actually have assets in Spain or elsewhere? Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Unregistered Says:

    thank you for such a quick reply. to answer your questions, they do not have assets but do work full time. on the old contract she has their passport numbers and poosibly their NIE numbers so i guess she could find them through that? just another question for you, if she were to go through the courts what would happen? would the tenants just have to pay back what they owe her? or would they be charged more? once again thanks for such a quick reply.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You are welcome. As per my post above exactly of what amount owed are we speaking of? Yours faithfully,
  • Unregistered Says:

    You are welcome. As per my post above exactly of what amount owed are we speaking of? Yours faithfully, very similar to what you said, around 400-600€
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    I would honestly just write it off being such a small amount. Your friend can offset this loss against the 1 or 2 month's tenant deposit they had. Pursuing this amount through the law courts in my opinion is not worthwhile as the expenses incurred would outstrip the reward.
  • Unregistered Says:

    thanks again for the reply. i will inform her. just if she were to go ahead, what would happen to the tenants. would they just have tp pay back the amount or would they have to pay her legal fees and compensation?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You are welcome. It can be requested from the judge ruling the case to have the legal fees awarded but it depends solely on him. There is no guarantee on this point.
  • Colin Says:

    Hi, Can you help us? Due to the credit crunch we have been unable to pay our rent. My landlord will not consider an amicable agreement and came by the house today to say we had very little time to pay what we owe him. We have received no court papers or any sort of formal demand to pay, indeed I have no idea of the exact amount the landlord believes we owe him. I know what we believe we owe him but there appears to be a discrepancy in this figure. The house is in the Catalonia countryside and we do not have a postal service to the house, I have an Appartado de Correos that the landlord is aware of, no papers have been received there. If he has taken eviction proceedings that we did not know about can these be overturned and if not what can we do? I believe we should be able to pay the full amount we believe we owe to the landlord within the next 3 weeks. Your advise would be invaluable to us now.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Colin, To have you evicted from the property this can only be done through a formal legal procedure which implies you receiving a registered letter from a law court informing you of the impending court case being held against you. Whether you receive this letter or not will not stall this procedure. This letter is received at the property being rented. To stall the eviction procedure, if it really has been filed, you can lodge the back rental at the law court where the court case is being dealt with. If there is no case against you you can lodge it in the bank account of a Notary as proof of payment. In both cases if you bring up to date the owed rental they cannot evict you. In Spain late payment is enough cause to have you evicted. You will not be able to follow the above strategy a second time if it happens and you will be evicted regardless. More on this: Paying the Rent Late Twice will be Cause of Eviction – 4th June 2009 Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Colin Says:

    Dear Raymundo Thank you for the quick reply. 3 questions: 1) how do I find out if there is a law case filed? 2) How do I find out how much money I need to lodge with the Court or Notary.? 3) How long do eviction processes now take in Spain?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi, You are welcome Colin. Addressing your legal queries: 1) how do I find out if there is a law case filed? You would need to appoint a lawyer to find out on your behalf. As I wrote above it is almost certain you wil lreceive at that property you're renting a recorded delivery letter from the law court that you must sign upon receipt. 2) How do I find out how much money I need to lodge with the Court or Notary.? It will be in the lawsuit filed against you (if there is actually one). Your appointed lawyer can find out the exact amount to cancel the legal proceedings. 3) How long do eviction processes now take in Spain? Tricky question. There's anew law that was passed late last year which aimed to speed things up. It would seem that in some parts of Spain it is working remarkably well whilst in others it's as usual. On average they are now taking between 5-10 months dependent on just how clogged the law court dealing with it is. Let me know if you need us to represent you on this matter, we act nationwide. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • David Says:

    Hi, We have tenants renting our property in the Estepona district of Costa del Sol on an 11month agreement. They are 3 months in arrears with rent + utilities. I had heard about a change in legislation "15 day eviction notice" - could you explain if this is correct and what costs we would incur to start eviction proceedings. We have tried to find an amicable solution but I don't believe the tenant is working so may never be able to pay. Is there a fast way to evict them? Thx
  • Colin Says:

    Hi can you give me an idea of what it would cost for you to represent us?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear David, The legislation you mention was brought into place late last year. The results are very uneaven, in some parts of Spain its has reduced drastically the timelines (3-5 months) yet in other parts of Spain it is still taking 10 months on average. More than the law you mention, what has really made an impact in some parts of Spain has really been Law 13/2009 which has streamlined vastly litigation procedures. Regarding the law you mention, dubbed popularly as the "Express Eviction Law": New Law Attempts to Speed up Eviction of Defaulting Tenants in Spain - 24th December 2009 Express Eviction Law Passed by Congress -30th October 2009 New Express Eviction Law: Much Ado About Nothing -13th July 2009 Spanish Express Eviction Law Pre-Approved - 24th December 2008 Regarding the law I mention, Law 13/2009: Unclogging the Judicial System (Part I) - 15th February 2010 Unclogging the Judicial System (Part II) - 15th March 2010 I strongly suggest you read my detailed articles (and the ensuing thread with queries) which aim to spell out the myths on rentals & evictions in Spain: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Renting Property in Spain – 22nd of April 2010 How to Evict a Tenant who is not Paying the Rent – 17th December 2007 Regardless if the tenancy is short or long-term one, you will need to have them legally evicted. I take for granted your tenancy agreement had no arbitration clause. You can browse our forum on similar cases: Landlord / Tenant Issues In which case you would have to hire a litigation lawyer to initiate a formal eviction procedure. You cannot evict them on your own or else they could file a report against you before the Spanish police which could lead to you being sentenced to prison. You cannot change the locks or shut-off the utilities; you may be reported to the Police as it’s a criminal act. Please read my article above. We can offer you our Tenant Eviction for a Spanish Property: Who is it intended for: This service is provided to landlords that have a non-paying tenant in their Spanish property (either a dwelling or commercial premises). What does the service include? • Analysis of the case and legal advice. • Preparing and filing your suit. • Dealing with court proceedings. • Attending judicial hearings and submitting evidence. • Claiming unpaid rents before the Spanish Courts. • What are the steps? How much does it cost? i) Non-luxury rental: • €1,300 plus 18% VAT in legal fees • Plus a further €700 for the court agent’s fees. ii) Luxury rental (>€3,500 p/m): • €1,300 plus 18% VAT in legal fees • Plus a further €700 for the court agent’s fees. • 10% on all the recovered amounts (i.e. rental arrears). We will first try to reach an amicable agreement. If this fails, we resort to taking legal action. It generally takes less than a year on average to have the tenant evicted. If you are interested in hiring this legal service, please e-mail me. We act nationwide. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Colin, It would cost as follows: €1,300 plus 18% VAT in legal fees Plus a further €700 for the court agent Yours sincerely,
  • Maura Says:

    Hi, please could you tell me how this new law of eviction will help me, i'm a pensioner and have moved to Andalusia to live, and rented my piso as i am unable to sell it at the moment, in the costa brave, the tenant a young girl of 18 has not paid rent after the first month and is into the deposit money, so at the end of this month she will start to owe money, she is advertising a room to let, she has undesirables in there she is leaving rubbish in the enterance hall, and she has a rabbit on the balcony, the elderly couple upstairs to her are very concerned, what can i do?
  • Anthony Thomas Says:

    Hi there, I have read with interest your articles as well as the various blogs and would be interested to have your legal point of view. I am an Englishman owning several properties, one of which I have rented out on a room to room basis, usually to young Spanish guys working in the building trade. Each occupant has a separate but simple occupancy agreement ( anything from a three month to two year arrangement) . They all share the facilities within the property. I now realise, the effort in collecting rent, especially when nobody is at home and maintaining the property is just not worth the trouble. Please correct me if I am wrong, I understand the easiest way to get rid of the whole lot of tenants in one attempt is to have the one regularly consistently bad paying guy evicted on breach of agreement which would mean he would have to leave the entire property empty for me to repossess. The other tenants automatically being evicted under the same ruling. I had thought that I would have to take action against everyone individually but I´ve been led to believe I only have to get rid of one to get rid of them all. And with this particular guy´s bad payment record he does represent the easiest one to go against with my strongest chance of legally winning his eviction. In theory this sounds like an ideal solution to get everyone out of my property in one simple action, so I can put it on the market, but in reality, would it actually work. My only concern is that all the other men are paying on time and meeting their obligations with regard to keeping the property clean and in good working order, one particular guy has been in the property for a few years. Are there any laws that the other guys might evoke to protect themselves - I suppose I should be aware of this in advance.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi, please could you tell me how this new law of eviction will help me, i'm a pensioner and have moved to Andalusia to live, and rented my piso as i am unable to sell it at the moment, in the costa brave, the tenant a young girl of 18 has not paid rent after the first month and is into the deposit money, so at the end of this month she will start to owe money, she is advertising a room to let, she has undesirables in there she is leaving rubbish in the enterance hall, and she has a rabbit on the balcony, the elderly couple upstairs to her are very concerned, what can i do? Dear Maura You can start taking action against her to have her evicted for late payment or non-payment. This new law works very well and some parts of Spains and yet in others it has barely made a dent on the eviction timeframe. In the few parts of Spain where it has worked remarkably well more than it being related to this new Express Eviction law it is really to the improvements brought about by key Law 13/2009 (and also here) which has made an impact streamlining the procedural procedures on evicting non-paying tenants cutting down timelines in some cases to a mere 5 months or less from start to finish. Yours sincerely Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • B.J. Says:

    Dear Sir, I have just, by accident, come across this website and evidently you are more than knowledgeable on the affairs of eviction and tenant/landlord rights. I am wondering if your law firm has any experience in acquisition through adverse possession or Usucapíon by prescription as I believe it is referred to here in Spain. My case is quite complex and I shall try to keep details to the briefest. Like numerous properties in Andalucia in the ´campo´ regions that are occupied with dubious title, I have occupied the same private property publicly, continuously and conspicuously for almost 25 years since 1985. In1995, my occupancy was legally challenged in court claiming that I was a ´precarista´(unlawful occupier). The plaintiff was unsuccessful in proving their case and I was absolved of all charges and awarded costs in my favour. Since this time I have occupied the same property in the same conspicuous manner with all bills and services being met timely and without question. My neighbours will verify my continued, unbroken, occupation of the property and good character during the whole 25 years. I understand here in Spain there are various criteria to establish possession via Usucapíon, within appropriate prescribed time limits and under varying circumstances - Spanish Civil Code, Titula XV111 arts. 1940,1941,1957 etc. My question is, as my occupation has not been successfully challenged for more than 25 years, can I initiate a procedure to acquire possession though Usucapíon or do I have to wait upon a further challenge that may never materialise. If successful, is title awarded or is just continued right of occupation granted. Do I need the services of a ´specialist´ law firm or is this something your own law practice would consider; and if so, what could be the likely costs involved. I would be happy to identify myself in due course to your law firm, but for the moment and for obvious delicate reasons, I would prefer to remain anonymous; this I am sure you understand. B.J.
  • fleur Says:

    Hi I have had major problems with a landlord which are still going on. I rented a house which had never been lived in and was to be rented unfurnished but with a sofa. I turned up with my removal man and they were still putting in lights! No shelves in cupboards, no fixtures in bathrooms etc. etc had a fight on my hands to get this resolved. Sofa had come from the basura so i had to buy one. I asked for the meter to be read and put on the contract but this was never done. I found out later that this was because the utilities were still on builders rates and the house (one of 3 on a plot) did not have the 1st Occupation Licence. Had lots of problems - I had to pay for repairs and deduct it from the rent as the 2 owners could not be bothere and told me to get on with it. They never finished fencing between the property that they had promised when the other house became occupied. The owner or someone given a key by the owner, had been in my house when i wasn't there. The 2 owners had turned up at the house one day and tried to force their way in until they realised i had a guest. They have turned off the utilites in the past and more recently because they wanted me to leave and have turned up banging on the door demanding rent which had already been paid into the bank. In February they turned the electric off (I now know they wanted the houses empty as we wouldn't pay made-up bills and they didn't want to pay the builder for it) so they pretended it had been turned off. An electrician friend of mine sorted this out as they had just hidden the fuse - but i had to pay to stay elsewhere for a week and all my food was ruined. Electric then went off again about 2 weeks later by voluntary request from the builder to Endesa. I had to make emergency arrangements (paid for of course) and lost yet another fridge full of food. I had changed the locks after i discovered someone had been in the house but when I went back to get some things the locks had been changed to the door and gates. With a lawyers letter I had them changed (210 euro) and removed some of my things but many of me possessions were missing. i went back again (after reporting this to the police) and the locks have once again been changed. I have had to keep chasing the police as i want to find out what has been done with my things but they are now saying it will go to court as the owner has given another version of events and said all the things in the house where his. The last remaining things in the house cannot now be removed by me so i am looking at having to make another denuncia for them but i'm getting nowhere. the rent was last paid in the middle of february and the electric went off shortly after that. the police don't seem to get it that i am not going to now pay rent for a house that does not have electricity and should never have been rented in the first place. i want my things and have paid out a lot of money through this unfortunate business. What do you recommend i do now? sorry it's so long-winded but this is a very short version of events!
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi BJ Interesting legal query, we don't get many of those. I believe you have to wait 30 years to claim ownership of this real estate. Unless you tell me that you purchased it from someone acting in good faith, or it was given or transferred to you by someone who you thought was the rightful owner at the time. You would need both good faith and just title (Art 1940 of the SCC) to take ownership of the property rightfully after 10 years of continued and uninterrupted possession; but you seem to be lacking both elements following what you write. If you just walked into this derelict property 25 years ago and took material possession of it you will need to complete 30 years before it can be lodged under your name following Common law. So you would still have 5 years to go. If you've been sued that would interrupt the timeline. However, fortunately for you, as you won the civil case it will not prejudice your continued possession of the property having no effects at all in the time elapsed already (25 years). Yours sincerely Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Fleur First of all a house without a Licence of First Occupation (LFO, for short) cannot be rented, it is illegal. The whole point of a LFO, as its own name indicates, is a legal check to verify the property is apt for human dwelling. Another matter is if the competent Authorities choose to disregard existing laws and do not clamp down on such common -albeit illegal-practices. Stemming from the fact the property has no LFO you get all the typical associated problems: you are on builder's supply (which can be shut off at anytime without giving prior notice and without any legal recourse), lack of fixtures and finishings etc. I wrote an article on LFO's. Please read it, specifically the drawbacks of living in a property without lacking a LFO. The Licence of First Occupation Explained - 29th January 2009 Regarding your landlords, they cannot shut off the utility to coerce you as it would be a pursuable Criminal act for which they can be prosecuted. In your case you are on builder's supply therefore there are no utility bills. Please read the following article: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Renting Property in Spain - 22nd April 2010 The above article explains legally how a landlord cannot enter his own rented property which would be regarded as illegal tresspassing (which can be criminally prosecuted on the tenant reporting it to the police). He needs the tenants permission (preferably in writing) to visit his own property. Yours sincerely Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Fleur Says:

    thanks for the response and I appreciate that I was niaive in the beginning but I think the majority of people going to rent a property would never dream of thinking the owner was renting it illegally. The owners are a pair of cowboys - well known for it locally but, of course, people don't tell you things until they've got to know you. They have clearly broken the law in a number of ways and i now have 2 denuncias against them with the prospect of having to go to court to get any further forward. As they have now changed the locks again with the rest of my furniture still in the house it looks like I now have to make a 3rd denuncia for the rest of my things. i have receipts for some of the furniture and the lock i recently paid for which they have removed (stolen!) but i would like the police to do something about it rather than produce a few bits of paper on the promise of a court case whenever. what do i have to do to get the police to do something about this? they were the ones who told me to change the locks to get my things out as i had the right to do so but they haven't backed me up. has anyone else had a similar problem?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi Fleur You are welcome. If Police are seemingly dragging their heels on this matter maybe its time fo you to consider using the leverage of a Spanish lawyer to assist you. Btw I forgot to add that changing the door's locks is also coercion. It's also explained in my above article. Sincerely Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • B.J. Says:

    Hi Raymundo, Thank you for your rapid response. Reading what you have said, I feel we fulfil the criteria for possession following a 10 year period, despite actually living continuously for 25 years. My main concern, is cost. Are there any guidelines laid down for legal fees for this type of procedure. Also, if acquisition was successful and title changed, would this represent a transfer where the authorities may apply taxes . A sale purchase situation wouldn´t exist but transfer would. Nowadays, everything revolves around costs, so before proceeding further it would be interesting to have an approximation of expenses to see if I can contemplate such an action. If valued, even in this down market, I believe the property could be worth, perhaps in the region of four to five hundred thousand euros. Thank you for your interest. B.J.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi BJ Before speaking of costs lets continue debating on whether is is a viable option or not. May I ask why is that you think you fulfill the 10 year criteria rather than the 30 years one? Regards
  • B.J. Says:

    Hi Raymundo To answer your question. I purchased the land on which my house is built on private contract in 1984 in my own name. The parties to the selling side of the contract are today prominent business people of reliable character and the intermediary agent is still in business today. Prior to escritura for the land purchase an off-shore company was established in which I was the beneficial owner. This move was not done to create anonymity for me but was a recommended method of property ownership in the 1980´s. During the following years I was completely open about my connection with this company, communication with local as well as state authorities, including Tax Authorities, Foreign Investment Authorities, Local Town Hall, Sevillana, etc.etc. as I did then and continue to do today. A dispute arose between me and my administrators which could not be easily resolved; this resulted in non-communication from the early 1990´s until the present time. During this time of incommunicado my administrators have tried unsuccessfully to have me removed from what I consider, my own property. My wife and I have resided peacefully and continuously for almost 25 years with all bills and expenses arising in Spain being paid on time. Of course, the property remains registered in the name of my company but with only expired POA I have no authority now to transfer title and the chances of obtaining a new power is highly unlikely. By law, the identity of Beneficiaries of off-shore companies cannot be disclosed by administrators, nominees, trustees or the like. Only by Supreme Court order can identities be revealed and only in extremely serious cases. In my case the administrators are still active and still opposed to me and my family´s occupation – hence my query on acquisition by adverse possession (Usucapión). We have signed testament from our neighbours to verify our continuous occupation as decent, respectable members of our community, some neighbours having occupied their homes equally as long as we have, and in one case even longer. Good faith is evident. Just title can be derived from first purchase contract to verifiable evidence of incorporation of my company by the written documents of the acting lawyer. I hope this provides a deeper insight into my case upon which you can consider. Regards, B.J.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi BJ Just so you know, new Money Laundering provisions passed on earlier on this year now force company administrators, amongst others, to disclose who are the real and ultimate beneficiaries of opaque holding company structures i.e. offshore ones. Your case is different than what I initially thought then. I now believe you would comply with the requirements set forth in Art 1940 of the SCC. Our legal fees would be that of a litigation procedure. We can discuss further offline or online, at your choice. If it's the former write me an email to my attention: Regards Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • B.J. Says:

    Hi Raymundo, Thank you for your response. I haven´t got back to you earlier as I have been reviewing the various options and my own financial predicament. If, we do pursue the possibility of acquisition by adverse possession I will make contact with you as suggested via your direct email address or call to make an appointment. In the meantime you made mention of ( to quote your words) “new Money Laundering provisions passed on earlier this year now force company administrators, amongst others, to disclose who are the real and ultimate beneficiaries of opaque holding company structures i.e. offshore ones”. As disclosure by the administrators or nominees of my beneficial interest in my off-shore company would an enormous aid in proving my case, I have searched for information on this matter and I can find nothing. What, and who´s legislation should I be searching under ? I have searched under “new money laundering provisions 2010” both in English as well as Spanish and variations on this phrasing but find no references to the legal requirement of administrators to reveal identities of real and ultimate beneficiaries. I should like to check this legislation out if possible. Thanking you in advance of any information you can provide. Regards, B.J.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi BJ You have it all here: Regards
  • A. Smith Says:

    If the rental address on a contract is incorrect, would this deem the contract invalid and jeopardise my chances of evicting non paying tenants if it went to court? Thank you in advance.
  • B.J. Says:

    Hi Raymundo, Returning to my issue of Usucapión and your response dated 3rd August. Perhaps you can expand a little on what the actual procedure for Usucapión follows. Presumably it must be a court case or hearing of some sort before the judiciary and my claim would be one of seeking an order for recognition or granting of title under adverse possession. Presumably myself being the claimant , obviously I must produce evidence of just title and good faith both of which I feel I have enough to satisfy the legal criteria – but the question is – is the procedure one of reviewing all the available evidence in the presence of several judges, or a review board, does the procedure take place in a court room, locally or regionally and are the arguments, if any, of opposition taken into account even if the criteria is met satisfactorily before the law. I suppose what I am asking is if under Spanish law all criteria is met can the opposition´s arguments be disputed or even denied entry into the procedure. Because rightful title is being sought in compliance with Spanish law and if these legal conditions are met, opposition should not be a consideration factor – hence ´adverse possession´ and does the procedure follow a court room scenario. Thank you in advance for your considered opinion. Regards, B.J.
  • Captain Says:

    Hi I am in a complicated situation and need some advice. I am currently renting a property in Spain to use as a holiday home. The rent is negligible but I take responsibility for paying all the bills and taxes. I have a five year rental contract of which I am now 18 months into. I also own the furniture and have refurbished the house. I have been informed by the owner that he wishes to sell the house however I have since discovered that the person who I thought was the owner is actually his son, the owner is the father but he died some time back and the family have not yet gone through the process to inherit. Is my tenancy still legal and how would some one in the prospective owner position (the son) evict me? To really complicate matters the son signed a contract saying that he would sell me the house, would this still be relevant and can I force him to still go through with the sale based on the terms of the contract should he inherit.
  • Alan Upton Says:

    Hi. I have a property in Denia Spain. The people have not be paying the rent. The Contract came to an end 1st of October 2010 they just moved out and have gone. I'm not worried aboput the rent its just I want to know under Spainish law can I change the locks, they have probably gone back to Holland but as you can probably understand I want to change the locks soonest because I do not know what they have done with keys they never gave them back to my agent there. Kind Regards Alan upton
  • Unregistered Says:

    Hi, We have rented our property in Mallorca for 18 months now. For 12 weeks we had no running water (on and off) we were without water for almost 10 hours a day (the water is community not mains supplied, to which our Landlord pays for the community charge). Due to this we have not paid rent for 2 months as for these two months we could not shower, flush the toilet, wash clothes etc. We now have running water again so we have started to pay the rent again. We offered to pay 50% of the rent for the two months but the Agent would not accept this only offering a 20% reduction. We are unable to agree a figure so the Agent has said they will cancel the contract and Evict us via the courts. Are they able to do this? Many thanks all
  • K.C Says:

    Hi,i have rented out my flat to tennants on a one year contract, it came to an end 30/08/10, they will not move out and had paid no rent for Sept & Oct.I sent them a letter through a Spanish lawyer to pay up by today.They have paid 1 months rent today, but i want them out now and sell my flat. Can i still evict them as they have no new contract ?
  • Josh Says:

    i just but a house about a year ago and i am renting out one of the rooms but the stoped paying me rent and they are on a month to month lease can i tell them that there lease is going to be up at the end of the month and have them removed if they dont leave cause they lost there job and cant pay and i do not have the money to pay for a eviction
  • Zena Says:

    Hello, my partner has been running a bar in Spain for 5 years. He originally signed a contract with two other people. This contract has three years to run. The other two people left the bar, taking as much money as they could 2 years ago and went back to England. They are hostile and would not co-operate by removing their names from the contract. This means that it is impossible to sell the bar. My partner has struggled on for the last 2 years to keep the business running. The bar is now losing money and he can no longer pay the rent. He wants to leave. The landlord has two months security payment. Can he have his name removed from the contract so that he is no longer held responsible for any future debts. All other bills have been paid up to date. Also because of the problem of two other people still being on the contract, could they just be sent eviction letters for non-payment of rent. I'm assuming this would be a sort of formality to give the landlord the right to move into the property.
  • Janice Says:

    Why anyone would buy a property in Spain is beyond me. We bought our house in 2003 and have no end of problems with non-paying tenants, we have not had to evict, but I fear we are at this point now. The law should be changed to protect the innocent. We have bend over backwards to help our tenants, maintained and decorated, negotiated, waited, but still no respect from these non-paying low-lives. We moved to Spain, hence the house, but when we run out of money we returned to the UK to get jobs!!!!!! Problem solved a? The tenant excuses are typically pathelic, I could write a book on it. Sorry no sympathy from any tenants on the posts above - have not read them all - but I find it quite boring..... usually delay tactics - goes downhill every time! If you are a tenant reading this and think "hey that is not fair" then don't follow the sheep - be DIFFERENT - think to yourself my rent is important. We are in a financially delicate situation, this lady could ruin us. I won't let her. Too Strong. My advice to everyone is steer clear of spain and if you do buy a property, be rich enough not to have to rent it out. If not, then don't buy! My next goal is to pay off half the mortgage even if I have to work 55 hours a week with two jobs to pay the mortgage and to start putting away funds for a mortgage pay back in an account I can't touch, because if I could, I would, we are already in debt. My house in Spain is causing me severe anxiety and is affecting my quality of life ( 8 years of renting out) and I want to change this situation how ever hard I work. So my advice, to EVERYONE - folks tread carefully, tenants meet in the local bars and discuss the laws and know their rights - it is not good. Rent out only, if needed, desparately, and if you do rent out, talk to a solicitor about all of the above posts - have every scenario covered. Protect yourself to avoid this delayed eviction process. I don't want anyone to go through what we have been through, or will be going through....Good luck guys!
  • george_p Says:

    Hello i need help ASAP, i am renting a flat in barcelona, i made last july a short 3 months contract (between me and the landlord, no agancys involved) and i paid in advance these 3 months plus a deposit, after that i agreed with the landlord to stay more and each month i was paying the rent (without taking any official receipt just some times on a piece of paper with a signature). All this time i was always on time and never cause any problems. This month because of a delay i had from my job i havent pay the rent yet (8 days delay) and i got an email from her that i have to leave the flat tomorrow!Does she has the right to move me out?I am asking because i dont know about the contract i have it was only for three months and i never typically renewed it. I appriciate your help, thanks a lot!
  • vickmaid Says:

    My parents have a property in spain which they let out via a rent to buy agreement which was supposed to be completed on 1st May. The tennants left the propery in February, having left unpaid rent and bills and have said they now do not wish to exercise their right to buy the property. They are blaming this on some damp in the basement which they have given us no opportunity to fix (if indeed there is a problem) and are now saying they wish to claim their 20,000€ deposit back - do they have a case and will this be a costly process? Your help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Patricia Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, According to the information that you have given in your post, we understand that the tenants do not have the right to request the full deposit back as they have unpaid rental bills and subsequently part of the deposit will cover the unpaid rental fees and pending utility bills. In reference to the damp issues they are claiming and using as reason to vacate the property, the procedure should have followed these steps: They notify you of the existing problem so you can take appropriate action ( you express that this has not happened ), then you send out a surveyor or expert technician to evaluate the problem and confirm its existence, and then consider the reasons that have caused the damage and agree who will be held responsible for the repairs according to the contract, and then finally carry out the repair. If the tenants have failed, as you say, to inform you of the aforementioned problem, there is nothing they can claim in this regard. If you wish you can send us a scanned copy of the contract by e-mail (contact details on so we can give a more specific answer. Regards,
  • henry Says:

    hi i was born in spain and lived in uk sinse i was 2.. cant speak spanish with spanish with a passport..i inherited a flat in madrid in1998 since then i have been spending about 4 short breaks a year up until 2 years ago when community tax went up and the repairs to the outside building went up , so i decided to let a friend live there to pay the 300 euros a month to cover the costs now this is paid and the works done i want to sell and gut the flat to decorate which is all dirty now my so called friend say he not going and he not paying the future community either he say i not welcome in flat he said he call the police if i go there its a 2 bedroom and one room is mine with my things there for when i stay at flat .. there was no tenanancy agreement he paid cash which i paid communnity charges he is using my water not paying nothing towards nothing now he seems he can live there 4 nothing until the goverment evict him .. can i move in my home i have the keys if he dnt like it he,,ll have to go or will the police tell me to go please help
  • Samantha Uwing Says:

    Hello I am a tenant and my owner has told me that he is going to put the property on the market. I received a phone call from an agent saying they wanted to come in and do a viewing. I said No because I was going to be out and they said not to worry they had keys! I said that I didnt want them to go in and that they were not allowed to do so by law and if they did I would report them. I have now received an email from the owner saying I had no right to not let them in and that I was preventing him from selling etc etc, basically not a nice email! My contract does not expire for another 7 months and to be honest I dont want a constant stream of "viewers" Can I refuse to let them in, even if I am there and can I change the locks as I am worried they may try to come in when I am not there. I am also concerned that other people may have keys but if I change them am I obliged to give a copy to the owner? Again I am worried that if I did he would only send it to the other agent again. Thank you from a concerned tenant.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Samantha, Welcome to the belegal forum. You can actually change the locks and you are not in the obligation to give it to the owner. The owner does not have the rigth to access the property while the rental agreement is in force. Standard rental agreements establish that the owner can access the property sometimes in order to check how is the property and if it is being well looked after, but only if the tenant has been notified of this visit beforehand. It is very unusual that a rental agreement indicates the tenant must let the owner get in the property in order to show it to prospective buyers. Regards,
  • Andrew Says:

    Hi - we have recently rented a property on a 1 year contract. Although the property is nice and has also been improved by us - being completely repainted it is turning into a bit of a nightmare. We have a crazy old lady in the rear of the property who complains if we use the kitchen light - we have a new born baby so do need to make milk at all hours of day and night. The verbal abuse is fairly constant and distasteful - the other neighbours have said to ignore it but it is concerning. The baby will cry more as it grows and she will no doubt become more abusive with that sound. Additionally neighbours next door have started having flamenco parties - they seem less that willing to stop these and my feeling is that they and their guests are actually dangerous, the police are less than responsive to help. It is time to cut our losses and risks and just move on - what is the best option to break a 1 year contract 3 months in. I am very tempted to just say we can't afford to pay the future rent however of course all current rent would be paid so the landlord would not be out of pocket. I am a little annoyed the landlord did not mention the crazy lady at the rear - it seems the other people in this block know about her very well and no doubt that is one reason this property was available.
  • Stuart Griffiths Says:

    I paid a deposit and one months rent. but the agency never gave me a contract and a refusing to fix appliances in the aprtment, due to this i am a month behind rent and said im not going to pay until i have a contract and things are fixed. They said they will send someone round to get me out where do i stand?? Many thanks
  • NickC Says:

    Hi belegal team. We're a small property management and lettings agency on the Costa Blanca. One of our tenants, now on the second 11 month rolling contract in a furnished 3 bed, is two months behind with the rent and is refusing to pay utilities (which they agreed to do as part of the tenancy agreement). I have noted your comments about the 'futility' of pursuing tenants for debt recovery. However, my question is this, which follows on to your reply to Samantha above. The tenancy agreement expires at the end of this month. Can the owner (or ourselves as letting agents) have legal access to the property once the agreement has expired and remove any of their effects or do the tenants have any legal right to remain in the property. I am taking a conciliatory approach to resolving this amicably with the tenant, although they no longer answer my calls, do not reply to my texts or letters delivered to the property. Any advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks. Nick
  • Patricia Says:

    I paid a deposit and one months rent. but the agency never gave me a contract and a refusing to fix appliances in the aprtment, due to this i am a month behind rent and said im not going to pay until i have a contract and things are fixed. They said they will send someone round to get me out where do i stand?? Many thanks Dear Mr. Griffiths, Hello, Verbal rental agreements are valid by law, so the fact of not having a contract in writing does not allow you to retain the rental fees and consider the rental to be void . Therefore, our advice is that you continue paying your rent as normal, in order to avoid them being in a position to file an eviction order at the courts of justice. Please be aware that you can only be forced to leave the property through a court order. Initially, you should have made sure that all appliances worked well before you entered the rental, as they may now claim that the appliances have been damaged by a bad use on your side, thus considering you responsible for the repairs. We see here two options: 1. That you send the rental agency a registered letter ( Burofax ), ideally prepared by an expert solicitor, claiming the rental contract in writing that indicates the initially agreed rental conditions and that they repair the damaged appliances, warning them that if they fail to do it before a fixed date, you will deal with the repairs yourself and deduct the expenses from the rental fees ( make sure you can prove that the appliances were already broken when you entered). 2. The other option that you can consider, in order to avoid future problems and turning your rental into a nightmare due to a tight relationship with the landlord, is to leave the apartment, cancelling the rental and obviously losing your deposit, however, making a written agreement with the rental agency that indicates keys have been returned and that no additional sums will be mutually claimed by either party. Should you intend to keep the rental, we strongly advice you not to retain the rental fees and be up to date with the payments. Regards,
  • no name Says:

    i have posted a comment with no reply is there any one their to answer as the replies have stopped or is there another site
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello, Please let me know what is your query. The forum is active and the questions are being replied by forum members. Regards,
  • henry Says:

    hi patriccia i wrote a comment on your forum today with no name . as i can see your active here is my query.i inherited my flat from my mother in madrid 1999 I have a spanish passport but can not speak the language and it remained up until 2 and a half years ago a holiday home. where i visited 4 times a year for a break and to pay my community charges. since then the charges went up from 50 euro to 220 per month as there needs a lot of work on the out side of the building pipes,render and a new roof, so i thought by letting it out to a so called friend from africa would help with the costs. there was no written agreement as long as he paid the community which concludes his water and he pays for the electic gas and phone landline now the works is finished i want it my flat back and six months has passed he refuses to go and threatens with the police if i enter the flat my room is there with all my things i have read up on the legal proceedings and it looks like i am stuck what can i do . i have the e mails saying he wants to go but he says he cant find no where and now i am not getting a penny , surely he is robbing me ,can you help as what i can do
  • dana Griffin Says:

    Hello, I am renting a house for 12 months and pay rent so far for the last 5 months. The house was rented "furnished" but all the furiture was in disrepair so the landlord removed it. He also does not provide gardener or pool maintenance, even though that is part of the contract. He agreed to reconsider rental price in light of these things, but then told me he would not lower the rent. I have not paid the utilitiy bills from the landlord (I am supposed to per the contract), as I feel that I cannot use the furniture and do not get the services per the contract, so the landlord should have to then pay the utilities (they are about 150 euro a month, whereas the rent is 2100). He is threatening getting the government involved. I do not want to go through any evitction proceedings and would prefer moving out instead. My questions are 1. can I be released from the contract before the year term is over, without having to pay the remainder of the year (I have been here 5 months)? 2. does the landlord have the upper hand here and can actually start eviction for non-payment of the utilities even though the rent is paid? Many thanks for your help on this matter!
  • Patricia Says:

    hi patriccia i wrote a comment on your forum today with no name . as i can see your active here is my query.i inherited my flat from my mother in madrid 1999 I have a spanish passport but can not speak the language and it remained up until 2 and a half years ago a holiday home. where i visited 4 times a year for a break and to pay my community charges. since then the charges went up from 50 euro to 220 per month as there needs a lot of work on the out side of the building pipes,render and a new roof, so i thought by letting it out to a so called friend from africa would help with the costs. there was no written agreement as long as he paid the community which concludes his water and he pays for the electic gas and phone landline now the works is finished i want it my flat back and six months has passed he refuses to go and threatens with the police if i enter the flat my room is there with all my things i have read up on the legal proceedings and it looks like i am stuck what can i do . i have the e mails saying he wants to go but he says he cant find no where and now i am not getting a penny , surely he is robbing me ,can you help as what i can do Hello Henry, Please accept my apologies for this late reply. If there was no written rental agreement and he has not been paying a rental fee for that time, there is no evidence of a rental taking place. Therefore, you can finally evict him by court order being the first step to go to your property with the police to draw up a report indicating that there is someone living in a property that you own. You will have to prove ownership by providing with a copy of the property deeds. After that,a legal process will take place and a judge will issue a court order of eviction. Regards,
  • Lynne Hopkins Says:

    My tenants have a 22 month contract on rent to buy but they have not paid rent for 6 months. They have left the property and have not been in Spain for 7 weeks. I have emailed them several times with no reply. I have been told that they now work in Switzerland for DOMO Holiday company and have taken a rented apartment in Zurich. They have left behind 2 dogs that I have had to have taken away. I have also emailed DOMO who confirms they work there and asked them to pass on a message for them to contact me. I am yet to hear anything. I have entered the house to look for dog food and have now changed the locks and also thrown away food from the fridge. What else can I do. what can I do now.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Lynne, We recommend you to write a letter to the tenants informing that you are taking possession of the house as it is evident it has been abandoned; you can mention that you found the house door to be open and two dogs were left without food so you had to take care of them and even find them a place where they can be take care of. Then wait for a few days to hear from them. After that there are two possibilities: • That you appoint a Lawyer to start an eviction process based on the nonpayment of the rent. However, please note that this implies time and legal fees, and that the Judge will have to authorize the final eviction by court order. • Once you have solid evidence of the actual vacancy of the property (even if the tenants have left personal belongings in the house ) , you can claim before the courts of Justice to repossess the property, mentioning the door was left open, leaving the house in danger of being assaulted and available to burglars and exposed to crime, therefore requesting to change the locks so as to avoid further evil. This is the quickest alternative as well as the cheapest, though it could bring problems if the tenants had just left the property for a few weeks without the intention to vacate it on a permanent basis. I hope this answer is of help. Best Regards
  • Minerva Says:

    Dear Patricia: I have been unable to pay my November rent because I Have been expecting (for two months now) a bank transfer. I paid my October rent in smaller amounts during the month. I have asked my landlords to use my deposit (it is an unfurninshed apartment) in the meantime. There is now 300 euros owing. I have said that I will either pay in full in early December (new date for transfer is now December 4th) or give notice to vacate on December 31st. On November 16th, I received two garbled e-mails giving me "notice" to vacate on December 15th. The first said that the apartment was rented from nthat date (for 6 months). The second contradicted the first and said the apartment had been "sold to a family member from the UK". I returned the e-mail restating my original agreement. Today, the following was dropped off at the gate of my urbanisation: Total arrears: 300 euros You have been given notice, in writing on the 16th November to VACATE the apartment on the 15th December 2011, all legal as you understand. We are not interested in youtr letters in which you clearly have been misadvised regarding the "legalities" you have stated. (I wrote to inform them that they could not simply take the law into their own hands - there have been previous threats and I live alone.) There follows a list of the "itinery": (I think they mean inventory!) all are appliances, and by the way, no inventory was ever given to me. What I find quite incredible is that attached is a tiny "article" from one of the local free newspapers and of four short paragraphs which says (in summary) the following: Landlords can now evict non-paying tenants in just 10 days. After a change in the eviction process, landlords will no longer have to take the case to a judge, a process which often took many months. They will now be able to get tenants out in 10 days after giving an official written warning. Etc. This, they claim in the letter is a statement regarding the "LAW" which was passed some months ago. They are also insisting that I must give them a date "in the next 10 days" for the apartment to be "checked". I am sure if this law could simply allow any landlord simply to evict a tenant owing 300 euros and who has made every attempt to pay up to now, it would be posted on the front page, not tucked into a tiny column somewhere inside a newspaper. There is nothing about this on the internet, I've read nothing about it, and even a friend who knows about these things says she knows nothing about it. Times are desperate, and I do sympathise with their difficulty (or did until the threats started), but this would mean thousands living on the street! Surely not? Can they get away with this? What happens if I stay put? Should I write a registered letter stating my intention to either pay (in full or at least part) or leave at the end of December as I have written above? Finally, at the gate there is also an Aviso from Sevillana which almost certainly means that they have not paid their electricity bills (all in their name). I have let them know it is there (two days now) but although they were clearly here this morning, they did not pick it up. I believe all the above is considered "coercion" and that criminal charges may be faced if I am left without electricity (for which I have paid on the date the bill was received every month without fail). Incidentally, in almost three years the rent has never been even a day late. We do not have a contract. The original signed contract stated that community fees would be paid by the landlords: they have never pàid despite a court order to do so: they owe over 7000 and my access has been severely restricted. I said I would sign a contract IF they would pay what they owed and my rights restored. They have not. Q: What can I do? Many, many thanks.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Minerva, Please read my comments: 1. You cannot use the deposit to cover the payment of monthly rental fee. This is a clause normally established in a rental contract. Deposits are put down to cover the repairs, pending utility bills and other expenses that have to be covered once a tenant vacates a property, but under no circumstance cover an unpaid monthly rent. 2. The eviction legal process is now shorter, that is true, but not as short as 10 days. A new Law was approved last month that simplifies and reduces the time for tenant eviction processes. It is the Law 37/2011 of 19th October 2011.This new regulation reduces the timeframe and speeds up the process, allowing the landlord to evict the tenant in 3-4 months, as the dates and options are established in the court notification from the beginning, whereas in the past the process had longer stages. Once the claim has been presented in court, the courts will take a few weeks before they send you the notification. The notification will indicate various options for you: You are given 10 days to either pay the due rent or contest the claim by opposition and allegations; if you do not take any of these options, you are given a date for the court hearing and a date for the eviction. It will be in all probability that the 4th of December you will still be in time to pay the due rent, and you are telling us you will have the money by then. You can read the full text of the Law here: 3. We recommend you to send them a registered letter ( burofax ) telling them you will pay the due rent in an exact date or you will vacate the property. This document will be useful in a hearing, as there is your intention and promise to pay. 4. We advise you to take legal advice about the electricity issue; if you pay the utility bills, and the owners do not pay, thus leading to the electricity supply being cut off you can take legal actions as they are not complying with their obligation to provide with the dwelling they rented out to you in good conditions. Also the fact that they do not pay the community is stopping you from enjoying the dwelling you rented, so you can also claim this from them ; for instance, as you may be stopped from using communal elements, like the swimming pool, tennis courts, communal parking, etc 5. Verbal contracts are legal as long as the tenant is paying the rent every month, so a rent can be proven. I hope this information has been of help. Best Regards,
  • Anthony Says:

    I have an apartment in Madrid which i have rented in 2011 for 1 year (contract ends in April 2012). The tenant stopped paying the rent in September, invoking personal problems and demanded extra time to resolve his financial issues. Everytime i approach him, the same story: he needs more time. I cannot wait anymore and i want to start the eviction process. How long do you think it will take with the new law that was passed in October 2011? Also, if i have a document signed by him in which he acknowledges the debt, can i hope to recuperate the amount? Advice will be much appreciated
  • Anthony Says:

    Is this forum still active?
  • aflores Says:

    Hello Anthony, It is indeed active, you can write here or email me on
  • Jose Ferrer Says:

    Dear Sirs. Could you please explain the way, assuming there is one, to effect an eviction notice in the absence of a rental contract. Many thanks in advance.
  • Patricia Says:

    Dear Mr. Ferrer, A rental agreement can be regarded as valid even in absence of a written rental contract providing that you can show evidence of the rental; for instance e-mails between you and the tenant/s, bank statements that show regular transfers from the tenant or invoices if payments were made in cash; declarations by neighbours indicating the tenant lives in the building and in that particular dwelling, as well as any other type of evidences accepted by law. In this case, you could start the corresponding legal actions to start a tenant eviction process that finally led to the eviction notice that you mention if your tenant stopped paying the rent. Please read the following article that outlines the steps to be followed and aspects to be taken into consideration when you need to start an eviction process: Hiring the services of a solicitor is highly recommended in these cases as they will advice on the validity of the evidence and take care the of the legal issues. If you wish you can send me e-mail on Patricia at and I will be able to study your case and advice how to proceed further. Best Regards,
  • andy Says:

    hi patrica my landlord in barcelona insist i pay my rent on the 1st of each month the problem is my wages dont clear till around the 6th so for the last 3 months im getting charges from my bank.the agent wont change the dates so i have to travel 50km round trip to pay the agent in cash each this normal or can i ask the bank to repay the direct debit again on th 6th
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Andy, According to the Urban Rentals Law, that is, Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos, article 17, the payment of the rent is agreed by both parties and unless otherwise agreed, the payment will be made each month and shall be effective within the first 7 days of each month. This means that unless you indicated in writing that payment should be made on the 1st of each month, you are free to pay on the 6th. There is nothing to worry about if you can prove you pay your rent every 6th. I recommend you to talk about this with the rental agent so the landlord is informed of your circumstances and the direct debit is arranged to be charged after the 1st each month. Regards,
  • Farid Alsaati Says:

    Dear sirs. i want to evict the tenant who not pay for 4 monthes. do you have some to help me. in Miraflores /Fuenjirola. with best regards and thank Farid
  • Marta Says:

    Dear Mr. Alsaati, We recommend that you take action as soon as possible, as by experience, getting a tenant to pay an outstanding debt or getting them out of a property can be a difficult and long process. For more details on our service please reffer to the e-mail which I sent you this morning. Best regards, Marta
  • Denise Says:

    Hi Patricia, hope you are able to help. My partner and myself own an apartment in north costa blanca. We have rented it to a girl and her son since June and her contract runs out in April. She has paid all the rent and bills up to date until this month, although always paying late and not all in one go. This month she is 3 weeks late with rent and bills and for the last week and a half is not answering phone calls, text messages, emails etc that we have left for her. We have also been to the apartment but she is either never there or she doesnt answer the door. We would like to resolve this amicably with her, however as she wont phone us to arrange to meet we dont know what to do. We have also seen what we believe to be a cannabis plant growing on the undercover balcony which I dont believe is being used for medicinal purposes. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Denise, You can consider the tenant eviction after the first unpaid monthly rent. However, the only way to evict a tenant that does not pay the rent is by court order. Usually, the process takes about two months. Some landlords will send a registered fax to the tenant ( out of court) claiming the payment of the rental debt, and if there is no reply from the tenant within a month, the landlord can request the eviction process at court takes place and the tenant will have to leave the property even if he finally pays the due rent. That means that a landlord has two options, depending on the final intentions; If the intention is to recover his money and keep the tenant in the property, he can send a registered letter and immediately after file the eviction process; if the tenant pays within the month, the tenant will remain in the property as the process will be finished. If the rent is not paid, the landlord can start the eviction process. That is, If the landlord preferred that the tenant leaves even if the due rent is paid, he will have to wait for a month since the registered letter is sent. I recommend you to hire a lawyer that can prepare the Registered letter, after reading the contract and confirming when the tenant is defaulting on payments. Please contact me by email if you wish to discuss further. You will find my email by clicking on my profile. Regards,
  • Captain Says:

    Hi I am in a complicated situation and need some advice. I am currently renting a property in Spain to use as a holiday home. The rent is negligible but I take responsibility for paying all the bills and taxes. I have a five year rental contract of which I am now 4 years into. I also own the furniture and have refurbished the house inc wiring and plumbing. I have been informed by the owner that he wishes to sell the house however I have since discovered that the person who I thought was the owner is actually his son, the owner is the father but he died some time back and the family have not yet gone through the process to inherit. Is my tenancy still legal and how would some one in the prospective owner position (the son) evict me? Even if the rental contract goes on beyond 5 years. Also am I entitled to be compensated for the work I have done or can I take it all with me (i.e. strip the house when I leave? Thanks
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Captain, If the rent was agreed as a short term rent or holiday rent, the Urban Rentals Regulations ( LAU ) are not to be considered in the determination of rights and obligations of the parties, but the signed agreement. Also, the situation is different if the contact was signed with the gentleman that passed away or with his son. In the first case, the fact that the landlords died does not change anything, unless he was the usufructuary of the property but not the owner. If he was the owner, the contract remains valid until the agreed date of expiration and this misty be respected by the heirs. However, if your landlord was a user, that is, he had the usufruct of the property, the contract would be terminated and the legitimate heirs could evict the tenant right away. I recommend you not to make any payment to the landlord´s son until he proves his title as heir or that he is the administrator of the inheritance. In the meantime, it is advisable that you to deposit the rent at the courts, that is, depositing the fund in the courts bank account, so you can prove your will to pay and not failing to meet your obligations. If the contract had been signed directly with the heir, the same is valid but it is important to determine the type of contact is it ( holiday or permanent dwelling ) so you know what are your rights and obligations (the conditions appearing in the contract or the LAU ). At this point, it is better that you ask a solicitor to check you rental contract to find out that information and advice on the course of action to be followed. Regards,
  • Silver Says:

    Do you provide services or representation in the Canary Islands? Specifically Lanzarote? Regards Silver
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Silver, We do provide legal services nationwide, however, we recommend to hire a local lawyer for tenant eviction processes. Regards,
  • martin Says:

    I did a silly thing and moved into a flatshare without a contract. It turns out that my flatmate/landlady who has the tenancy with the buildings owners is completely mental and all of the last 7 people (including the two of us hoping to move out) have had problems with the deposit (we we're not supposed to answer the door to anyone, but we do now). Can she evict us immediately at any time without a contract or is there still a legal process to follow (if we have bills etc to prove we have been living there). I don't want to stay here any longer than I need to but I'd like to get my deposit back before I go.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Martin, I assume the property you are renting is located in Spain and that the person that is subletting the property is doing it without the owner´s consent. This means that you can scare her off telling her that if your deposit is not returned, you will notify the owner and the tax Office so she reacts. If this fails, you could take legal actions to cancel the verbal sublet agreement though ,depending on the amount of the deposit, it may not be worth it as this can cost you more than the due deposit. Regards,
  • bripoole Says:

    Hi My mother needs to evict my brother from her home in Mallorca, he has no rental agreement and has already been served with a notice to quit and hand over the keys to the notary who served him, he replied 'i will give the keys back directly to my mother' which he has not done, this was over a month ago now Any advice in how we should progress?
  • AnnaP Says:

    Hi. I'm hoping you can advise me. I have been renting a room in an apartment since February 2018. There is no contract. I have paid my rent every month through this past August. I paid either in cash directly to the landlady or into her account. I was let go from my job in August and have been unable to pay September and October's rent to date, but am working on getting money sent to me from the US (my security deposit from my last home in the US, actually, that is still owed to me and will pay for everything). What are my legal rights in this situation? I know that with a contract she would need to wait until 2 months go by unpaid before starting legal proceedings, but she has been receiving the rent in cash without a contract. Any insight would be very appreciated.
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