For members


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.


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


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.


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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For members


How do I get my boat licence in Spain?

Have you ever dreamed of getting your boat licence in Spain and exploring its spectacular coastlines from the water? Here’s how to go about it, from what type of licence you need to how much it will cost you.

How do I get my boat licence in Spain?

Living in Spain you may have chosen like many foreigners do, to live near the coast in order to make the most of the great weather and the Mediterranean Sea.

You may be content exploring the coastline by swimming, stand-up paddleboard or kayak, but you may also want to explore further and get your boat licence.

Even if you don’t buy your own boat in Spain, you will still need a licence to be able to rent and drive certain boats while you’re on holiday.

How does getting your boat licence in Spain work and what type of boats do you need it for?

If you have a boat that is longer than 5 meters and is more powerful than 10 KW, it is mandatory to have a boat licence in Spain. It won’t be necessary for very small boats, peddle boats, kayaks or canoes.

There are several different types of boat licences in Spain, so in order to know which you’ll need, you’ll first need to know what type of boat you want it for.

The process is somewhat similar to getting a driving licence for a car, you will need to first take a course or some lessons, followed by an exam before you are awarded your boat licence. You can do this at many different sailing schools, located in marinas across the country.

You can visit the site to find your nearest sailing school, where you can take lessons, as well as the necessary exams.

READ ALSO – Brexit: UK nautical qualifications to be recognised in Spain by the summer

Different types of boat licences in Spain

Licencia de Navegación

The simplest type of licence in Spain is the Licencia de Navegación, which allows you to be able to drive small boats of up to six metres in length. You will only be able to sail in the daytime and can only go up to two miles from the coast or port.

In order to get this licence, you will have to take at least a two-hour lesson, where you will learn how to access channels through marked and unmarked beaches, regulations regarding maritime traffic and inland navigation in ports. This will be followed by a four-hour practical exam out on the water, showing the examiner how you can safely navigate and follow all the rules.  

The lesson will cost around €130, while the practical exam to obtain your licence will cost around €80.

Título de Patrón para la Navegación Básica (PNB)

The Basic Navigation Licence will allow you to drive jet skis, motor boats up to 7.5 metres in length and sailing boats up to 8 metres in length. With this licence you are allowed to go a maximum of 5 miles from the coast at any time, including at night-time. In order to get this permit, you will need to take a course, as well as a practical exam, like above. This generally costs between €250 and €350.

El Título de Patrón para las Embarcaciones de Recreo (PER)
The Recreational Boat Skipper licence is one of the most popular as it allows you to drive sailing and motor boats up to 12 metres in length. Your permit allows you to go up to 12 miles away from the coast and sail between the islands of the Canary and Balearic archipelagos too. The cost of this ranges between €500 and €700.

To get this licence, you will have to pass a multiple choice exam, undergo a 16-hour basic safety and navigation practical course and a theoretical radio operator course which will take around 12 hours.

Patrón de Yate

In order to get your Yacht Skipper licence, you will first have to have the Recreational Boat Skipper licence above. This permit allows you to operate sail and motor boats of up to 20 metres in length and up to 60 miles from the coast.

As well as already having a licence, to upgrade it to this one, you will need to do a theoretical exam, as well as 48-hour practical cruise test. This usually costs between €600 and €700.

Remember that as well as having your licence, you will need to take out adequate insurance to be able to drive a boat here.