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Renting in Spain: What's the maximum amount a landlord can ask as a deposit?

The Local Spain
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Renting in Spain: What's the maximum amount a landlord can ask as a deposit?
For many tenants, showing proof they have a stable job means they can negotiate not having to pay a guarantee into the bank. Photo: Ibrahim Boran/Unsplash

How much can landlords in Spain require from tenants to pay as a deposit or guarantee when they rent out their property? Are two months of “fianza” deposit legally allowed as is becoming increasingly common?

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Renting a home in Spain can have its challenges for both landlords and tenants. 

Homeowners want a trustworthy long-term tenant that will pay on time and not damage their property, whereas renters need to provide guarantees that they are solvent. 

The solution to this is in the vast majority of cases the payment of a fianza, a deposit paid to the landlord that would cover the cost of any damages caused by the tenant and paid back if there is no need for any repairs at the end of the tenancy. 

Then there’s the aval or garantía adicional, a guarantee which is usually deposited in the bank by the tenant, a sum which is only available to the landlord in the event of non-payment of rent. 


Some landlords will instead prefer to ask tenants for their nómina, proof of a fixed contract with monthly earnings.

All this can represent a fair amount of money for tenants to cough up, as fianzas or avales are usually equal to one or more months’ rent. 

So what does Spanish law say about the maximum amount that landlords can ask from tenants as a deposit?

According to Spain’s Urban Leasing Law, landlords can only request one month’s worth of rent as a deposit (fianza) and in fact must as it is legally required.


Spain’s Consumer Affairs Ministry also clarifies that the maximum amount that can be required as guarantee for rent payment (aval) is two months of rent. 

Landlords can also ask for a maximum of one extra month’s rent payment in advance, usually only requested from prospective tenants to guarantee their intention to move into the property. 

That means that as a maximum amount of rent a landlord can require from a tenant at the start of their contract is four months’ rent: three months of rent (one for fianza, two for aval) and the first month's rent. 

Although the legal limit already represents a sizable amount of money for tenants, there are reports of landlords asking for up to five, six or more months' rent in advance in Spain, something which is not legal and such extortionate clauses in rental contracts can be punished in a court of law. 

As for requiring a nómina or declaración de la renta (annual tax declaration) from budding tenants, there is no mention of this in Spain's Urban Leasing Law and therefore cannot be deemed illegal. 

For many tenants, showing proof they have a stable job means they can negotiate not having to pay an aval as they technically can offer a greater guarantee that they are solvent, although this system is frustrating for Spain’s self-employed. 

Unfortunately, Spanish banks charge interest to the tenants for keeping their aval open, even though it’s money that’s just sitting in an account and can’t be accessed, so once your landlord knows you pay on time it’s advisable to try to negotiate the end of this guarantee.




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