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PROPERTY

Tenant or landlord: Who pays which costs in Spain?

Whether you’re a landlord or a renter, knowing which costs you’re responsible for is essential before signing a rental contract or when unexpected expenses arise.

Tenant or landlord: Who pays which costs in Spain?
Photo: Michal Jarmoluk/Pixabay

Even though Spanish consumer groups and property experts generally agree over what constitutes a cost for the arrendatario (tenant) or the casero/arrendador (landlord), contract is king in Spain.

So if your contrato states that you’re responsible for paying a certain expense, then that’s what’s legally binding.

If you’re a tenant that means going over your rental contract with a fine-tooth comb. Not every property-related cost is included in rental contracts in Spain and not every landlord is trying to take you for a ride. But you should at least be able to recognise the costs you should not be paying for before signing on the dotted line.

And if you’re a landlord, it’s just as important to get the necessary protection from potentially irresponsible tenants who don’t take care of your property.

What is vital is that both sides negotiate and reach a compromise without it turning into a heated argument. These are the general standards for who pays what in tenant-landlord scenarios in Spain.

General bills

Electricity, gas and water are expenses that the tenant is responsible for as they are the ones making use of these services and it’s their consumption that influences the final cost. This includes internet bills unless otherwise stated in the contract.

Rubbish

Some town halls in Spain charge residents a flat annual fee for their rubbish collection (recogida de basura/residuos).

Spanish consumer watchdog OCU and property portal Idealista say that this is a cost that the landlord is responsible for paying, partly because it’s a fixed fee.

But some Spanish law firms argue that if tenants are the passive recipients of this public service then they should be footing the bill.

Either way, in most cases the fee is €50 to €100 so ask yourself if it’s really worthing fighting over it. An easy solution could also be to ask at your town hall who they deem responsible for paying.

Community costs

If the property is in a complex with communal spaces such as gardens and swimming pools then gastos de comunidad can easily amount to €100 a month.

The general consensus is that the landlord handles this cost even though it’s technically the tenant who enjoys them (it’s easier to simply raise the rental price to account for these extra perks that come with the property).

IBI property tax

Spain’s version of the council tax is in the vast majority of cases paid by the owner.

READ MORE: How to pay less Spanish property tax

Insurance

Logically, each party is responsible for insuring their own belongings if they want to get reimbursed in the event of a burglary, fire or other incident.

Photo: Fran1/Pixabay

Repairs and replacements

If the washing machine, boiler, floor, walls or another important element of the property stops working or is damaged it’s the landlord who has to pay, unless it’s a small fix or he or she can prove the breakdown was caused directly by the tenant.

Those two exceptions pretty much explain what the tenant has to pay – minor replacements like changing a lightbulb or repairs caused by their own clumsiness.

Wear and tear, or deterioro por uso in Spanish, is always a grey area on rental contracts.

You can read more about it in article 21.4 of the LAU (Spain’s Rental Law) but there’s still room for interpretation over what constitutes ‘small fixes’.

In most cases, Spanish law tends to favour landlords in wear-and-tear cases so one of the best ways a tenant can protect themselves is to make a photo-based inventory of all the small imperfections their let has as soon as they move in and to share it with the landlord.

That will serve as evidence and will help in cases when the broken item was already in partial disrepair before they moved in.

It may also be advisable to add a clause in the contract which illustrates what constitutes a small repair.

Damp

Is it due to the tenant’s misuse or is it caused by a construction problem that the building community has to handle? Or are both sides responsible in their own way?

This will determine who is liable to pay for any water damage or damp that the property may develop.

If the problem started in another property then there are two other parties that could be potentially responsible for footing the repair bill.

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PROPERTY

Ten ways under-35s in Spain can get help to buy a home

Buying a home is particularly difficult for young people in Spain, with low wages, job instability and rising property prices making it a pipe dream for most. But there are several schemes throughout Spain to help make it a reality.

Ten ways under-35s in Spain can get help to buy a home

Many young people in Spain who can afford to move out of their parent’s house cannot yet afford to buy their own home, with down payments and securing a mortgage two of the biggest problems.

According to FotoCasa six in 10 young people in Spain between the ages of 18 and 34 have tried to buy a property, but without success.

The Emancipation Observatory of the Spanish Youth Council (CJE) adds that currently in Spain 59.2 percent of young people rent, while only 17.4 percent own their own property and pay a mortgage. Data shows that most Spaniards aren’t able to buy their own property until they are 41 years old. 

Luckily there are now several government schemes across the country that aim to help young people get on the property ladder. Here are 10 ways that under-35s can get help to buy their first home.

Buying a home in a rural location

The Spanish government introduced a subsidy of €10,800 for those under 35 who wish to purchase a property in towns or villages with less than 10,000 inhabitants, in a bid to help solve the problem of declining rural populations, as well as the issue of young people not being able to afford to buy a home. This is available until December 2022 and can be applied for through the authorities in your region. 

Andalusia

Andalusia announced its ‘First Home Programme’ earlier this year, which is independent but runs parallel to the State Housing Plan. It includes aid of up to €10,800 for the acquisition of habitual residence for young people under 35.

Castilla y León

Those in Castilla y León can apply for aid if they want to live in the province of Soria. Aid is available up to 50 percent, up to a maximum of €5,000 to buy in rural areas within the province. People up to the age of 36 can apply. Find out more on how to apply here

Canary Islands

Young people from the Canary Islands can apply for a housing benefit in 2022 of 20 percent of the cost of the property up to a maximum of €11,000. You are eligible up until the age of 36. Find out more about the aid here

Galicia

Galicia is giving assistance to those wanting to buy in the historic centres of towns and cities. Those aged 35 and under can get up to €12,800 to help them do this, which in turn will help to revive and rejuvenate the oldest parts of the region. You need to apply here before November 15th in order to be in with a chance. 

Madrid

In July 2022, the government of Madrid announced an aid package for young people aged 35 and under. The banks, along with the government of Madrid, will grant mortgage loans for amounts greater than 80 percent and up to 95 percent of the value of the property, provided that the purchase price doesn’t exceed €390,000.

READ ALSO: Why Madrid is now the easiest place in Spain for under-35s to buy their first home

Murcia

The government of Murcia guarantees an aid package of 20 percent, up to €10,850 for those up to the age of 35 who want to buy their own home by getting a mortgage loan. Find out more and apply for the aid here

Valencia region

In Spain’s Valencia region, the Ministry of Housing and Bioclimatic Architecture aims to help make it possible for young people to buy a home who might not otherwise be able to, as well as help towns and villages that are at risk from de-population. The amount each applicant can get will be 20 percent of the value of the price of a house, up to a maximum of €10,800 per person. The cost of the property cannot exceed €120,000 and it must be your main and permanent home. It is available to those up to the age of 35.

READ ALSO: How young people in Spain’s Valencia region can get €10k to buy a home

Aid for large families

Large families or familias numerosas as they are called in Spanish are defined as families who have four or more children. Large families can also benefit from state aid when buying a property, which is €10,800 as long as it does not exceed 20 percent of the property price. When buying a property, these families can also get help by benefiting from a discount on the payment of the Property Transfer Tax (ITP), up to four percent on second-hand purchases. 

Aid for renting

If you can’t yet afford to buy your own property, there are several benefit schemes for young people to be able to move out of their parent’s home and be able to rent instead. The Bono Alquiler Joven allows those between 18 and 35 to get €250 per month to go towards rent and is available across the country. There are various other schemes in different regions too. Find out more and apply here

Be aware, most of these schemes are only available for certain amounts of time and strictly for those who do not already own a property. There may also be prerequisites on the amount of time you have lived in each region. For example, those wanting to benefit from the aid package in Madrid must have lived in the region for the two years leading up to their application.

There are also certain limits as to the amount you can earn in order to be eligible for the benefit. In Valencia, your income must be equal to or less than three times the IPREM (€6984.24 per year for 2022).

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