WE have discussed the regulation of the rental contract in Spain on several occasions. The rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. Length of the rental, minimum period and tacit redirection. And more recently, the possibility of requesting a reduction due to the Covid crisis. In today’s article we address a situation unknown to many people. The landlord’s right, in case of need, to reclaim the possession of the rented property.
RENTAL HOUSING: A COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP
In Spain there are approximately more than three million people living in rental housing. Conflicts between landlords and tenants are very common. The repairs of household appliances, the return of the deposit, eviction due to non-payment, etc. There are many points of friction that arise on a daily basis between them. Over the years, the law has added mechanisms to provide tenants with more security and stability. However, many people are unaware that, under certain circumstances, the landlord has the right to reclaim the possession of the rented property.
REGULATION. ARTICLE 9.3 LAU.
Article 9.3 of the LAU (Urban Leasing Act) allows the landlord to reclaim the possession of the rented property under certain conditions:
– At least the first year of the duration of the contract must have elapsed.
– The tenants must be notified two months prior.
– The need to occupy the property must be for the landlord himself or for close family members.
– This option must have been explicitly indicated in the contract.
The family members must be relatives in the first degree of kinship by blood or adoption. The spouse is also included in cases of separation, divorce or marriage annulment, when there’s a final judgement.
It is also important to stress that this right only applies to individuals and not to legal entities (real estate companies, corporations, etc).
WHAT IS MEANT BY CASE OF NEED?
Situations can be so different from one another that it is necessary to consider the personal circumstances of each case. In general terms, it is important to underline that ‘need’ does not mean something forced, obliged or imposed by unavoidable reasons. Although when moving from another city, such need is presumed, it is not essential. It should not be forgotten that art. 19 of the Spanish Constitution proclaims the right to choose one’s residence freely.
If the landlord or his family members fail to occupy the property three months after the tenant has left it, the law foresees consequences. Within a period of 30 days, the former tenant may choose between these two options:
– Being reinstated in the property for a new period of up to five years. The previously existing contractual conditions must be respected. In addition, the tenant may also demand a compensation for the costs of relocation.
– Being compensated with a monthly payment for each remaining year up to five years.
But the landlord won’t face these penalties when he has not been able to move into the property due to force majeure.
THE LEGISLATOR DOES NOT HELP: CONSTANT REGULATORY CHANGES
Different legislative modifications passed over the last few years (between December 2018 and March 2019 there were three amendments) have created an array of regulations that complicate the situation. Depending on when the lease was signed, the wording of art. 9.3 LAU and the requirements needed are very different.
If you are a landlord who needs to reclaim the possession of the rented property, or a tenant who has been notified to vacate your house in two months, at White & Baos we will study your case and offer you expert legal advice. Contact us.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys information relating to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Abogado)
White & Baos.
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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