Spain has recently updated its urban lease law to prohibit certain clauses found in rental contracts. While these types of provisions are now prohibited, many lease contracts still contain them. For such contracts, these provisions will be null. It is important to know them when you see them.
Duration of the Lease
In the wake of COVID-19, many lessors have tried to convert vacation rentals into more permanent residencies with vacation rental time periods. These time limitations are generally null and void. Renters for contracts of less than five years have the opportunity to extend their lease regardless of constraints the lessor places in the contract. Furthermore, leases with no specified timeframe default to a year-long lease with a possibility to extend for up to three years.
Some lessors have tried to insert clauses that establish a minimum amount of time for the tenant to stay in a property without incurring a penalty. Spanish law however, allows a tenant to cancel a lease after 6 months of living in the property. In the event that a tenant tries to cancel a lease before this 6-month period, the penalty can be no more that 1 month’s rent for every year of the contract that will not be fulfilled.
Any landlord that wishes to increase rent over the course of a lease, must say so in the contract. What’s more, the increase must be tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Any provision that calls for an increase beyond this amount is null and void.
Landlords may not request a deposit that is greater than 1 month’s rent except in certain circumstances. An increase may be requested when the contract is extended and even then, the tenant may request a reduction to one month’s rent. Other guarantees are less certain. Generally, no landlord can request more than the equivalent of two months’ rent unless the lease is for more than 5 years.
As stated before, many of these provisions can still be found in existing rental contracts. Because these clauses may still be used by landlords against tenants, it is ever more important for tenants to know their rights and be on the lookout for these unlawful provisions.