Rental claims in Spain affect landlords as well as tenants and both parties need to be able to count on expert legal advice when facing litigation. At Costaluz Lawyers, we provide this advice and have a solid track record of successfully defending the interests of both tenants and landlords.
In this guide, we look at our services for tenants and landlords, claims on rental contracts and eviction procedures.
Our services for tenants and landlords
We offer comprehensive services for both tenants and landlords. They include:
- Advice on drafting the rental contract (for landlords) and review of a proposed rental contract (for tenants).
- Review of any rental contract in case of dispute.
- Advice on the best course of action to achieve the desired result.
- Communication with the other party throughout proceedings.
- Assistance and advice on rental claims if legal action is the only way forward.
Is your landlord putting your rent up? Find out your rights
Claims on rental contracts
Disputes over the contract form the basis of most rental claims in Spain. If you have agreed a solid contract in the first place, then it is unlikely you will have grounds for dispute in the future.
However, there is always the possibility that one party will misinterpret a clause or willfully choose to disobey its conditions. For example, a landlord may refuse to carry out essential maintenance or a tenant fail to pay the agreed annual increase.
Renting a property in Spain? Find out how we can help you get the best deal as tenants
How to resolve a claim on a rental contract
The first step is to send a written communication to the other party advising them of the need for action. As in the above cases, the tenant would write to the landlord to request the repair and the landlord would write to the tenant informing them of the forthcoming increase in rent payments. It’s a good idea to send a reminder within 7 days of the first communication.
If the other party takes no action, consult a lawyer specialised in rental claims in Spain. Your legal expert will advise on the next course of action depending on the terms of your contract.
Using a lawyer’s services at this stage will undoubtedly save you time and money and ensure that you comply with your contractual obligations.
Thinking of buying to let? Read our guide to taxes on rental property in Spain and find out what services we offer landlords in Spain.
Rental claims for evictions
Evicting a tenant if you’re a landlord or facing eviction if you’re a tenant should be the last resort in a rental claim. If you take expert legal advice, your lawyer will carry out all necessary measures including mediation and negotiation to ensure that eviction is the only remaining solution to the problem.
Note that eviction proceedings are lengthy and costly for both parties. Note too that if you’re a tenant and are evicted, you are still liable for outstanding rental payments.
Causes for eviction
Under Spanish law, eviction is only possible if the tenant fails to make rental payments. As a tenant you are legally obliged to pay for the rental on the monthly basis and if you do not, your landlord may start legal proceedings to evict you.
That is why it’s important to continue to make monthly payments regardless of other disputes. For example, if your landlord refuses to pay for his part of essential maintenance, you should not keep back rental payments in lieu.
There are four main causes for eviction in Spain:
- Non-payment of rental – the tenant fails to comply with monthly payments.
- End of rental contract – the tenant fails to leave the property when the contract expires.
- ‘Precarious’ eviction – the landlord gives permission to someone (e.g. a relative) to live in the property and they refuse to live when the landlord withdraws that permission.
- Squatting – an unauthorised person occupies the property.
When to start eviction proceedings
Spanish law allows eviction to start as soon as the tenant defaults on a monthly payment, i.e. after one month of not paying. However, eviction is a costly process that can be lengthy so we would advise waiting at least two months before you initiate the procedure.
It’s also worth negotiating with the tenant who may be defaulting on payment because of illness or unemployment and be in position to pay later in the month.
If you are a landlord
- Your lawyer files a legal claim against your tenant in the courts nearest the property. Within 30 days of admitting the claim, the designated Court sets a date for the trial and a date for the eviction.
- The Court sends the claim to the tenant who must pay the outstanding rent within 10 days of receiving the claim.
If you’re a tenant
When you receive the claim against you for the Court, you have three options to avoid eviction:
- Pay all the outstanding rent within 10 days of receiving the claim.
- Pay all the outstanding rent before the trial begins.
- Make a counter claim (you need a lawyer for this) within 10 days of receiving the claim disputing the landlord’s claim and refusing payment. In this case, you will face the landlord at the trial.
If you do nothing, there will be no trial and you will face eviction on the date set by the Court. However, even if evicted, you will still be liable for payment of the outstanding rent
Cases for eviction even on a full payment
Despite paying your outstanding debt, you may still be evicted if:
- The landlord has already filed a claim against you.
- The landlord requested payment by burofax or notarised document and you failed to answer it within 30 days.
Time period for eviction
The wheels of Spanish justice tend to move slowly and in eviction cases, the exact length of time will depend on the judge, courts and notification times. Expect the process to take at least four months and possibly as many as eight.
Cost of eviction
As a landlord
You have to pay legal costs and for the locksmith to force the lock (and then change it) on eviction.
As a tenant
You are liable for all costs associated with the trial, your legal fees and the outstanding debt.
Make a successful rental claim
Our years of experience have shown us that successful rental claims for both parties, landlords and tenants, always start with professional legal advice. If you have a claim, get in touch with our expert team for a no-obligation chat to find out which is the best course of action for you to follow.