Letting – retting contract: basic advice

We have a neighbor who rented his house in Spain and his tenants only paid for the first month’s rent; they also owed the payments of water, electricity, etc. It took a lot of money and time (over a year), to evict them but they took the house apart and never paid for the owed money or the damages caused. Our neighbors say that after that experience they will never again rent their property and do not recommend that anyone else does it either. In our case, for personal reasons, we would like to and need to rent our apartment in Calpe, although we are a little scared, Could you give us some advice as to what precautions we should take and what we should do?

Dear reader,

Thank you for your E-mail.

It is true that letting a property for living purposes or for other uses, does have a risky element involved, just like any other business. It is also true that there is what we might call professional leasing persons who jump form rent to rent leaving debts and problems everywhere and who from minute one have no desire whatsoever to fulfill the contract. So letting without taking the necessary precautions could be dangerous.

But it should be noted that this risk can be minimized or guaranteed in a way that in the event of a breach of the contract by the tenant (lessee) you as the landlord owner (lesser) can be compensated for any pending debts and any damages caused to your property.

Leases of property, such as your apartment, are regulated by Law 29/1994 of 24 November, of Urban Lettings ( Ley Arrendamientos Urbanos), and the eviction process is regulated by the Spanish Civil Jurisdiction Law ( Ley Enjuiciamiento Civil) Code which has been recently changed to make this procedure faster, some cases could be also considered as a criminal offence.

We will try to provide you with some basic advice in answer to your query and in order for you to protect your interests in advance. Though we can not guarantee that your tenant (lessee) will pay and complete the contract, we can advise you on the steps that you should take to improve your position in case of problems with your tenant.

1 .- Although you can find templates for Leasing- Letting Contracts in Internet, from friends, books, etc., we advise you contact a lawyer who specializes in these matters and can draft a contract for your specific circumstances and those of your tenant. A good contract can save you money, time and headaches in case of problems. As we say in Spain better safe than sorry or as we may say in English there is no use in crying over spilled milk.

2.-Make a detailed inventory of the contents of the house, if possible, with reference to models and types of electrical appliances and furniture etc. you can even include pictures and set a price for each item to prevent its damage or disappearance during the rental period or to be able to claim for them if needed.

3 – It is very convenient to agree with your tenant that the payments for utilities such as water, electricity etc. are set as direct debit from his/her bank account since if this is not done and you continue paying for them by direct debit from your account, you will not be able to stop paying even if your tenant does not pay you, since you could be accused of blackmail.
That is, the situation may be that the tenant does not pay you at all, but you have to continue paying the utilities and consumptions for your tenant.

4.-Check out the credit of your tenants (lessees), request copies of their ID, NIE and passports, copies of their payroll, pension payments, account balances, verify if they have other properties such as cars, houses, etc. that could be enough to cover his / her potential liabilities.

If your tenant does not have any other assets, it is very important to request the signature of a guarantor (a person or persons of known solvency) so that in the case of the tenant not complying, the debt can be directed against the guarantors who should have also signed the contract.
Another possibility is to ask your tenant to provide you with a bank guarantee at the time of signing the contract as collateral for its contractual obligations.

We understand that it might be more difficult to rent your property if you ask for all these requirements, because not everyone is willing to accept these conditions, but if you take the proper precautions, you would be sure that if the tenant fails, you will have a good chance to obtain sufficient and appropriate compensation and what unfortunately happened to your neighbor will not happen to you.

Following these steps and particularly by negotiating a good contract, you can rent with security and guarantees.

Should this be your case, or the case of someone you know, we will be more than pleased to assist you.

*The information provided on this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

White & Baos Abogados & English Solicitors
Tel: 966 426 185
E-mail: info@white-baos.com
(Located at the Glorieta Square end of Marques de Campo)
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