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RENTING IN SPAIN

Where are the cheapest places in Spain to rent a two-bedroom flat in 2022?

How much does it cost on average to rent a two-bedroom home in each of Spain’s 50 provincial capitals? What are the cheapest and most expensive cities? And how much have rents gone up since inflation began to rise exponentially in Spain? 

Where are the cheapest places in Spain to rent a two-bedroom flat in 2022?
The cheapest coastal cities to rent a home in Spain are Huelva and Almería. Photo: Antonio Espa/Unsplash

Renting a two-bedroom apartment in Spain cost on average €690 a month in early 2022.

For those whose rental contracts are linked to Spain’s Consumer Price Index, the average rent for a normal Spanish home was €731 a month in April 2022, €41 more, as landlords can often increase rents in accordance with rising inflation.  

READ ALSO: Can my landlord in Spain really put up my rent due to rising inflation?

There are however huge differences in rental rates between Spain’s 50 provincial capitals, which can add up to thousands of euros a year. 

Spain’s leading property search portal Idealista has compiled data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute to show where tenants can expect to pay most or least for a two-bedroom home. 

The most expensive cities to rent in Spain are San Sebastián and Bilbao in the industrial Basque Country of northern Spain, where average rents are currently €901 a month. 

In third and fourth position are Barcelona and Madrid with €875 and €848 a month respectively.

Then Palma, the capital of the popular holiday island of Mallorca (€795 a month), the Basque capital of Vitoria (€774/month), Pamplona in Navarre (€689/month) and the eastern coastal city of Valencia (€689/month). 

Rents in cities popular with tourists such as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Alicante, Málaga and Cádiz have average rents for a two-bedroom home of between €640 to €580 a month. 

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, there are very reasonable rents to be found in the provincial capitals of Spain’s interior, such as Teruel, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Zamora, or Palencia, or in the green Galician cities of Ourense or Lugo in the northwest corner of Spain. 

In such cities, you can expect to pay from €425 to as little as €371 a month in rent, less than half the rate of big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao.

The cheapest coastal cities to rent a home in Spain are Almería and Huelva at an average €504 and €477 a month respectively. 

Below is Idealista’s breakdown of rent prices in Spain’s provincial capitals, showing the updated average rent in April 2022, the increase caused by the CPI rise and the average cost for renting a two-bedroom home in January 2022.

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PROPERTY

How to turn a bar, office or shop into a residential property in Spain

Commercial properties in Spain can be a lot cheaper than residential ones, but it’s not as straightforward as buying a former restaurant, office or shop and moving in. Here are the steps to follow and what you need to be aware of.

How to turn a bar, office or shop into a residential property in Spain

One of the tricks budget property hunters in Spain have been using in recent years is buying a local (commercial property), oficina (office) or nave (industrial unit) and transforming it into a vivienda (residential property) to live in or let out. 

It’s a trend that’s roughly doubled in big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona in the last five years. 

Buying a commercial property can work out to be 50 percent cheaper than a flat or house in Spain and there can be other advantages such as it being more open plan than Spain’s typical corridor-themed apartments as well having more money to invest in the renovation. 

Is it possible to turn a commercial property into a residential property in Spain?

Yes, in theory it is, but it’s not always possible. The rules relating to a change of property’s usage from commercial to residential or vice versa are determined by each municipality in Spain, so before you rush to buy un local, you have to do your homework first and be aware of some of the most common pitfalls.

It could be that the limit of residential properties per hectare has been surpassed already, or that without some major changes the property doesn’t meet the standards of size, rooms, space, height, layout, ventilation, air extraction or light of the town or city hall. 

It isn’t the most straightforward process and depending on the property and the individual municipal rules in place, it might just not be possible to live in the property or rent it out to others.

Living in a commercial property is illegal and may cause you problems such as not being able to activate water and electricity or register your padrón at the town hall.

Despite all the paperwork needed, flipping a bar or office and turning it into a home usually works out cheaper than buying a residential property in Spain. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP)

Don’t be discouraged however, as in many cases it is possible to change the use of a property from commercial to residential and in regions such as Galicia authorities are currently facilitating the process to address the matter of empty abandoned stores and the lack of well-priced accommodation for young homeowners.

What are the steps to follow in Spain to change a property from commercial to residential?

Check the statutes of the community of owners: In order to make any changes within the community of neighbours, permission must be requested in advance. Beforehand, you can ask the comunidad president for a copy of the community statutes to see if the change of use from commercial to residential is mentioned.

READ ALSO: ‘La comunidad’ -What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

Request permission from the town hall: After getting the green light from la comunidad, you have to go to the ayuntamiento (town hall) of the town where the property is to find out if it’s possible to add another residential property to the finca (building). 

Even if this is confirmed, it doesn’t certify that the change of usage from commercial to residential is allowed, for which the town hall will ask you to provide an architect’s proyecto técnico or feasibility report based on municipal urban laws. You will only be allowed to swap from commercial to residential if the project meets the safety and habitability requirements of the Technical Building Code (Código Técnico de la Edificación).

Get the Building Licence: Known as licencia urbanística or permiso de construcción in Spanish, this is an official document required by the town hall for you to carry out a construction or renovation project. In other words, you’ll need this municipal authorisation to begin work on your future residential property, whether it’s major work or minor . 

Get the Certificate of Habitability: Once the renovation work is complete, you’ll need the cédula de habitabilidad to be able to move in or let the property out . The conditions for this are regulated by each regional government and again it’s an architect who must prepare a technical report in order for a town council technician to issue the certificate of habitability.

The certificate we need for the change of use is that of primera ocupación (first residential occupation), which has to include the usable surface area of ​​the home, rooms, address, location, maximum inhabitants etc.

How much does it cost to transform a commercial property into a residential one in Spain?

If for example it’s a 80m2 property with two rooms, the total would be about €50,000, according to property websites Idealista and Habitissimo, with the bulk covering renovation costs (€500/m2= €40,000) and the rest going to cover permits, architecture costs and taxes.

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