In lease contracts, one of the most common sources of conflict and problems is determining who should repair what is broken during the rental term. In other words, the repais during a lease contract.
What does the law say about leases?
The law governing urban leases in Spain is the Urban Leases Act, Law 29/1994 of 24th of November. In relation to repairs and maintenance obligations of properties, the law says in it’s Article 21, titled: Conservation of the property, that:
.- The Landlord (home owner) is obliged to make all necessary repairs to keep the house in habitable conditions; to be able to use it for the use agreed. Unless when the deterioration or repair is attributable to the tenant.
If the work to be performed cannot wait until the termination of the contract, and has to be carried out during the lease. The lessee (tenant) is obliged to bear it, even if it is very annoying or even if they cannot use part of the house. Article 21 says that if the duration of the works to be done takes more than twenty days, the rent to be paid shall be decreased in proportion to the part of the property that the tenant cannot use during the repairs.
.- The article also states that ” minor repairs due to the ordinary deterioration caused by the normal use of the property shall be borne by the tenant”.
This last part referring to “minor repairs” to be paid by the tenant, is the source of many problems between landlords and tenants, as it is difficult to determine clearly what is meant by small repairs due to the regular use.
The jurisprudence. Court precedents.
A recent article from the legal magazine ‘SEPIN’, illustrated some recent court decisions from Spanish courts, and what they understand can be considered as small repair due to ordinary use, to be paid by tenants:
.- Malaga Provincial Court in its judgment of 06th of October 2011, said that it is a small repair arranging for a coffee machine to be installed in the premises, and the tenant must therefore pay for it.
.-Provincial Court of Madrid, said that the humidity caused by poor sealing of the bathtub is not the responsibility of the landlord and the tenant has to repair and pay for such work, considering it as minor repairs resulting from normal and ordinary use, according to its judgment of 29th of June 2009.
.- The Provincial Court of Valencia, understands that it is the responsibility of the tenant repair the boiler, as it reparation is due to the ordinary use of it, and should be considered as small repairs, in its judgment of 15th February 2003.
However, if you are signing a lease or rental contract, it woudl be interesting to negotiate and correctly word the property contract. And perhaps you could expressly agree what must be repaired by each of the parties. Becuase these repairs can be significant, costly, and provoke conflict between the parties to the contract.
If you need legal or court advice on a lease, whether refer to a home, business premises, etc., please contact us.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
Spanish Law firm solicitor attorney barrister.
Alicante, Denia, Costa Blanca Marina Alta
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