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Renting a property in Marbella

Renting a property in Spain is a good way to get to know the country and to decide which area you would like to live in. Let us know what you require in a property, number of bedrooms, garden, communal swimming pool, close to shops or a particular school and your budget and we will find you some suitable properties to view.

The properties that we have to rent are marketed as furnished or unfurnished, short term or long term. If the property currently has a tenant we will be clear about what (if any) furniture or appliances will remain in the property. Since the 1st of June 2013, all properties offered for long-term rental (rather than holiday lets) are required to have an energy efficiency certificate (CEE) and this shows how energy efficient the property is.

To secure a property it is usual to pay 1 months' rent and then to pay a bond of between 2 and 6 months' rent in addition to between 1 and 6 months' rent up front before moving in to a property. Different owners require different bonds and we will negotiate all the terms for you. You may also be asked to provide:

  • Evidence of employment or ability to pay the rent
  • Tax identification number (if you are working)
  • Passport or ID
  • References

Short-term (under 12 months) and holiday lets (under 3 months) are regulated in Spain and landlords must be licenced. Spain is a popular holiday destination, which means that there are many properties available at all prices. However, you may find that affordable short-term accommodation is in short supply in popular areas or during the high season (typically summer, school holidays and Christmas).

In Spain, a tenancy agreement (contrato de arrendamiento) is valid whether verbal or written. We will have a contract drafted which both parties agree to and sign. Typically, a long term contract will be for 12 months, renewed annually although longer periods can be agreed.

Tenancy Agreements in Spain

The 11-month property rental contract. Antonio Flores from Lawbird 20/01/2016

This title of this post infers the existence of a type of residential rental contract that lasts for 11 months, no more but no less. And to a certain extent, if you had just landed in certain parts of Spain and you’d met up with property professionals (real estate agents mostly) there would be no reason to not believe that an 11-month contract –short term or holiday rental- is distinct from a 1-year plus contract –long term-.
At the same time, there appears to be an informal network of non-legal practitioners who are routinely consulted by people with legal problems and have, by reiteration, created parallel pseudo laws (and even case law) that, quite simply, do not exist in real life. And the 11-month contract is one ‘legislative’ creation of these “Costa” lawmakers as it does not exist as a standalone contract type. 
The following bullet points will help understand the current situation with urban rental contracts:

  • There are only 2 types of urban rental contracts: residential rental contracts and non-residential rental contracts (which include short term/holiday lets, commercial, etc.).
  • Duration of residential rental contracts can be freely agreed between the parties. If the agreed term is below 3 years, the contract will be automatically extended on expiration of contract term unless the tenant submits notice of termination of contract with at least 30 days.
  • The above rule is mandatory and cannot be waived by the parties by private agreement.
  • Many residential rental contracts are disguised as short term, and consequently many short term contracts will be treated as residential by the Courts.
  • The Spanish Supreme Court has stated that irrespective of the name given to the contract or the term agreed by the parties, if the tenant had a requirement for a habitual and family domicile to take care of his/her permanent and essential needs (and that of the family), the contract will be deemed residential and therefore the 3-year rule will apply.
Likewise, the short-term nature of the contract refers to not the duration but to the reason and purpose of occupation of the property, it being determined by its brevity.
Means to prove that a short term contract is in reality a residential one are, for example, the tenant(s) having a job wherever he/she lives or running a company, children’s school enrolment, registration with the Town Hall (‘empadronamiento’) etc.
The above article was written by Antonio Flores who is the head lawyer at Lawbird, a Spanish law firm who specialise in property and litigation.