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Renting in Spain when you have a pet: What are my rights?

There are millions of petowners in Spain, many of whom often wonder what the law states with regards to renting a property with their furry friends

Renting with a pet in Spain
Image: Adriana Morales / Pixabay

Spain is a country of pet-loving people, and it seems that almost everyone here has either a dog, a cat, or a budgie cage on their balcony.

In fact, there are a whopping 13 million pets registered in Spain and around one quarter of all Spanish households have one or more pets. Ninety-three percent of these are dogs while six percent of these are cats. The other one percent includes smaller animals in cages. 

Pets have become even more important during the pandemic, keeping so many people company when they can’t socialise or go to group activities like they once could. In Spain, a dog became even more sought-after, when the confinement rules prohibited residents from leaving their houses to even go for a walk or exercise, unless they had a dog.

The number of pets in Spain has risen by around 40 percent in the past five years alone, meaning there are now more pets in Spain than children under 15. 

READ MORE: Why Spain now has ‘more pets than children aged under 15’

Many foreigners choose to move to Spain with their pets, and after all the paperwork, the pet passports and the necessary vaccinations, one of the primary concerns for pet owners is, how easy is it to rent with a pet in Spain?

Despite the number of people that own dogs or cats in Spain, it can be difficult to find a landlord who is willing to allow pets. Landlords are often concerned that pets may cause damage to the property, particularly to the furniture, if the property is furnished. They may also be concerned about noise and how this may affect neighbours.

Can a landlord really prohibit you from bringing a pet to live with you?

Property rental site Idealista says that neither the Horizontal Property Law, the Civil Code nor the Criminal Code, specifically state that you cannot own a pet in a rented property.

The site explains that the Urban Lease Law however does state that “housing leases shall be governed by the agreements, clauses and conditions, determined by the will of those involved”.

Even though this law doesn’t specifically prohibit pets, it means that you must abide by the rules and clauses that you agree upon with your landlord in your contract.

So, if your landlord has included a clause prohibiting pets in their property, then you won’t be allowed one. Sometimes a landlord will specify which types of pets they will allow, for example, animals in tanks or cages are fine, but they won’t allow bigger pets who can roam freely around the house.

On the other hand, if there is no specific clause banning pets, it means that you are free to have one, even if it’s not specifically mentioned.

There can sometimes be another hurdle to overcome besides the landlord though, which is the community association, who look after the building, in case the property is in an apartment block. So, even if your contract doesn’t state anything to the contrary, you may want to check with the association first, just in case.

What happens if I bring a pet into the property anyway?

If you decide to bring a pet into your property and go against what the landlord has stated in the contract by prohibiting them, then the landlord has the right to terminate your contract and you and your pet may have to find somewhere else to live.

If the rental contract doesn’t state that you can’t have pets and you have one, most of the time it will be fine. The only time you can run into problems is if the animal causes a nuisance because of noise or damages the property or communal areas. In this case, and if the landlord finds out, or if neighbours report you, the landlord also has the right to evict you.

If you are lucky enough to find a property with landlord who accepts pets, it’s worth holding onto it, as these are hard to come by. The landlord will also be happier having long-term tenants than being forced to find new ones every year. 

READ MORE: Travel between EU and UK: Pet owners warned about four-month waiting period

*Tip: Spanish property search engines such as Idealista or Fotocasa include a ‘pets allowed’ filter – se admiten mascotas – which can help you to dig up the rental properties that allow you to move in with your furry friends. 

What if I’m a landlord letting out a property?

As a landlord, you have a legal right to prohibit pets from living in your property, however you must make sure to include this in your contract, otherwise, tenants are allowed to have them. 

Under article 4.2 of the Urban Lease Law tenants are obliged to abide by agreements, clauses and conditions stated in the contract, so make sure it’s clear. 

There may be some benefits to allowing pets in your property, however. Tenants often have a hard time finding properties that will allow pets, so when they do find one, they are much likely to stay longer and be better, more loyal tenants if they can keep their furry friends with them. 

Member comments

  1. I would like to challenge the statement in the beginning of this article:
    “Spain is a country of pet-loving people”.
    I am in tears almost every day when I walk my dog in the campo or in the national parks.
    People have dogs in chains or small cages that the poor creatures never get out of. They dogs walk around in their own poo and are never taken for a walk. Often I see them being fed a ton of food (and water) every 2 weeks. Then they are just sitting there without any contact to another living being for 2 weeks, until the owner comes by for 10 minutes again.
    I have talked to some expats here that are also aware of the problems. Some of them have tried to report it with the result that the police came and shot the dog. I dont know what is worse. I have never seen such cruelty to dogs anywhere in Europe and I have been most places. Some places in Italy are about the same. However imporoving. Here there seems to be no hope.
    I have been here in Spain for 2 months now and could easily point out more than 100 of these dogs. I have stayed near Cortes de la Frontera and now near Alozaina. Whoever wrote this article should take a walk and see for her/him self.
    Best regards
    Stig Günther (Denmark)
    PS: I can provide pictures and video if you need to see it for yourself.

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Why you should think twice about buying a car in Spain, even if it’s second hand

A combination of supply and demand problems caused by the pandemic and a lack of microchips is making cars much harder to come by in Spain. Here's why you should perhaps consider holding off on buying that vehicle you had in mind for now.

Why you should think twice about buying a car in Spain, even if it's second hand

Getting your hands on a car – new, second hand, or even rental – is becoming much harder and more expensive in Spain.

The car industry has been hit by a perfect storm of conditions that have made new cars harder to come by and, as a result, caused prices to rapidly increase. 

According to Spain’s main consumer organisation, Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU), the microchip crisis affecting the entire globe, combined with an overall increase in the price of materials needed for car manufacturing and increased carbon emissions legislation has created a shortage of new cars in the country.

New cars

With less cars being manufactured, prices of new cars have gone up: a recent OCU report reports that new car prices have increased by 35 percent, higher even than Spain’s record breaking inflation levels in recent months. 

READ ALSO: Rate of inflation in Spain reaches highest level in 37 years

It is a shortage of microchips and semiconductors – a global problem – that has caused car production in Spain to plummet. In the first eight months of 2021, for example, production fell by 25.3 percent compared to 2019.

This is not a uniquely Spanish problem, however. The entire world is experiencing a shortage of semiconductor microchips, something essential to car manufacturing as each car needs between 200 to 400 microchips.

France’s car exports, for example, have fallen by 23.3 percent, Germany’s by 27 percent, and the UK’s by 27.5 percent.

Simply put, with less cars being produced and specialist and raw materials now more expensive, the costs are being passed onto consumers the world over.

Equally, these industry-specific problems were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.The average wait for a car to be delivered in Spain is now around four months, double what it was before the pandemic, and depending on the make and model you buy, it can be as long as a year.

Car dealerships across Spain were forced to sell cars during the pandemic to stay afloat, and now, when consumers want to purchase new cars, they don’t have enough to sell and can’t buy enough to keep up with demand due to the materials shortages that have kneecapped production.

Second-hand cars

With the scarcity and increased prices in the new car market, the effect is also being felt in the second-hand car market too. With many in Spain emerging from the pandemic facing precarious financial situations, then compounded by spiralling inflation in recent months, one would assume many would go for a cheaper, second hand option.

Yet, even second-hand prices are out of control. In Spain, the price of used cars have risen by 17 percent on average so far in 2022.

Cars 15 years old or more are 36 percent more expensive than they were in the first half of last year. The average price of a 15 year old car is now €3,950 but in 2021 was just €2,900 – a whopping increase of 36 percent.

As production has decreased overall, purchases of used models up to three years old have declined by 38.3 percent. Purchases of cars over 15 years old, on the other hand, have surged by 10.4 percent.

If you’re looking to buy a second-hand car in Spain, keep in mind that the reduced production and scarcity of new models is causing second-hand prices to shoot up.

Rental cars

These problems in car manufacturing have even passed down to car rentals and are affecting holidaymakers in Spain.

Visitors to Spain who want to hire a car will have a hard time trying to get hold of one this summer, unless they book well in advance and are willing to fork out a lot of money.

Over the past two years, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shortage in rental cars in Spain. However, during peak holiday times such as Easter, the issue has been brought to the forefront.

It’s now common in Spain to see car rental companies hanging up signs saying “no hay coches” or no cars, similar to the no vacancy signs seen in bed & breakfasts and hotels.

READ ALSO: Why you now need to book a rental car in advance in Spain

While all of Spain is currently experiencing car rental shortages, the problem is particularly affecting areas of Spain with high numbers of tourists such as the Costa del Sol, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries.

According to the employers’ associations of the Balearic Islands, Aevab and Baleval, there are 50,000 fewer rental cars across the islands than before the pandemic.

In the Canary Islands, there is a similar problem. Occupancy rates close to 90 percent have overwhelmed car rental companies. The Association of Canary Vehicle Rental Companies (Aecav) says that they too have a scarcity 50,000 vehicles, but to meet current demand, they estimate they would need at least 65,000.

According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), fewer than 20 million foreign tourists visited Spain in 2020 and revenues in the sector plummeted by more than 75 percent. While numbers did rise in 2021, the country still only welcomed 31.1 million foreign visitors last year, well below pre-pandemic levels and far short of the government’s target.

Many Spanish car rental companies have admitted that the fleet they offer is down to half after selling off vehicles in the pandemic due to the lack of demand.

End in sight?

With the microchip shortage expected to last until at least 2023, possibly even until 2024, it seems that the best course of action if you’re looking to buy a new or used car in Spain is to wait, let the market resettle, and wait for prices to start going down again.

If you’re hoping to rent a car when holidaying in Spain, be sure to book well in advance.