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RENTING IN SPAIN

How much can my landlord legally increase my rent by in Spain?

What’s the maximum amount Spanish landlords can increase the monthly rent of tenants by? Is there any legislation in Spain to protect renters from spiralling inflation? And when is it not legal for landlords to put up the rent?

how much can landlord increasy my rent by in spain
Before the Spanish government put the cap in place, the average increase in rents in Spain was €53 more per month when tied to the 7.6 percent CPI rate. (Photo by Cristina Quicler / AFP)

In March 2022, the Spanish government introduced what was intended to be a short-term cap on increasing rent prices.

It was one tool in an arsenal of measures attempting to soften the blow of record inflation and skyrocketing prices affecting Spaniards, including a €16-billion subsidies package and a 20 cent per litre discount on fuel.

In Spain, when renewing rental contracts landlords have the right to increase the price of the rent according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the figured used to measure inflation.

The CPI rate effectively acts as an upper limit on how much monthly rents can be increased by for housing rental contract renewals, according to Spain’s current Urban Leases Law.

READ MORE: Rising inflation in Spain: Six cost-cutting ways to fight it

But with inflation at 7 percent in March (in July it increased to a staggering 10.8 percent, an almost 40 year high), the Spanish government were keen to stop landlords from trying to hike rents in line with the unnaturally high inflation rate.

Before the government put the cap in place, the average increase in rents in Spain was €53 more per month when tied to the 7.6 percent CPI rate.

That would add €636 more to rent bills over a year, an amount many in Spain cannot afford to pay.

How much can my landlord in Spain put up the rent?

To try and stop landlords putting up rents by 8, 9 or 10 percent (in line with inflation) the government introduced Royal Decree-Law 6/2022, a temporary limit on a housing rental contract clause that allows landlords to increase the amounts of rents to only 2 percent more than the price previously outlined in the contract.

The cap was initially intended to last until the summer, but with the economic outlook worsening since March, the Spanish government unsurprisingly decided to extend the measure until the end of the year.

The 2 percent figure is tied to the ‘Competitiveness Guarantee Index’ (IGC). The IGC is another economic measure published by Spain’s national statistic body, the INE, and its regulations have upper and lower limits, meaning that the index can never be less than 0 percent or more than 2 percent.

That means, even when the IGC exceeds 2 percent, as it has done recently, 2 percent is taken as a reference value as was done with relation to the rent cap.

READ MORE: How will rising interest rates affect my life in Spain?

Which rentals are affected?

The 2 percent limit includes all rental contracts signed under the Urban Leases Law 29/1994, effectively applying to all rental contracts signed from January 1st, 1995 until December 31st 2022.

It remains to be seen if the Spanish government will further extent the cap into 2023.

READ MORE: Renting in Spain: Can my landlord put up my rent due to rising inflation?

Is it always legal for a landlord in Spain to increase the rent?

Yes, but only in certain circumstances. Putting aside the economic turbulence, Spain’s Urban Leasing Law allows the monthly rent paid by a tenant to be updated in accordance with the IPC.

However, this can only be done if previously agreed between tenant and landlord and it must be clearly stated in the contract that the rent is subject to IPC changes.

In such cases, the lessor must wait for the first year of tenancy to have been completed for the IPC rise to be applied, and from then on only once a year and based on the most updated IPC amount. 

So if the tenancy contract was signed in February 2021 for example, the prearranged IPC update in the following years should also be in February.

Landlords can therefore not increase the rent several times a year or every month based on varying IPC rates.

But skyrocketing inflation has changed all that, for now. Due to the government decree, the maximum amount any landlord can increase the rent on a private rental is capped at 2 percent until the end of the 2022.

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MOVING TO SPAIN

How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive

One of the most common questions people moving to Spain ask is where they can rent temporary accommodation while looking for somewhere more permanent. This can be particularly tricky, but we've found some of the best places to look.

How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive

So you’ve sorted out your visas, you’ve done all your packing and have either sold or moved out of your home, but when you arrive in Spain you’re not exactly sure where you’re going to stay.  

Of course, it’s not the best idea to sign a contract ahead of time for a more permanent place before you’ve actually seen it in person. Photos don’t always accurately represent what the house or apartment looks like in reality and you won’t really be able to get a feel for the neighbourhood without being there. 

On top of this, rental scams are rife in some places in Spain, particularly in the bigger more popular cities like Barcelona. Often people will place an ad (which usually looks too good to be true) and get you to wire over a deposit to secure it in advance, but here’s the catch – the place doesn’t usually exist.

This is why it’s important to never hand over money to secure a place to live in Spain before you’ve actually seen it in person and you can get the keys as soon as you sign the contract.

But, finding a place to live in a new country can be difficult and it can take time, so while you look for somewhere, you’re going to need temporary accommodation for a couple of months. This can be tricky too because often temporary accommodation is geared towards tourists and you’ll be paying tourist prices too.

While Idealista and Fotocasa are two of the most popular sites to look for accommodation in Spain, when you only want somewhere for a couple of months, there’s no point looking there, as most places will have yearly contracts.

Keep in mind with short-term rentals for a couple of months, you’re going to be paying higher than the average monthly rent, however, for this, the apartments are usually fully furnished, including kitchen utensils, wi-fi already connected and offer you the flexibility of shorter contracts.

Short-term rental agencies

Specialised short-term rental agencies are the best way to go, which will allow you to sign contacts for less than the typical one year. These types of agencies are usually found in Spain’s big cities that are popular with foreigners, such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Trying searching in Spanish too by typing alquiler de temporada or alquiler temporal plus the name of the city or town you’re looking in. This way you may be able to find places that offer better value. 

Barcelona

In Barcelona, check out aTemporal an agency that started up precisely to fix the problem of trying to find accommodation in-between tourist accommodation and long-term rentals. They rent out apartments for anywhere from 32 days to 11 months.

ShBarcelona is another agency that specialises in these types of rentals and have properties all over the city.

READ ALSO – Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Madrid

In Madrid, try DFLAT, which was created by two professionals from the Instituto de Empresa University after discovering the difficulties professionals and foreigners found when looking for an apartment in Madrid. Sh also has a good branch in Madrid.  

Valencia

In Valencia, Dasha Living Space has both short and long-term fully furnished flats available and  Valenvi Flats also offers rentals for between three and six months.

READ ALSO – Moving to Valencia: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Airbnb

While the nightly rate of Airbnb apartments is typically too expensive to rent for a couple of months, you may be able to find some deals. Often when you input dates for a month into Airbnb, you’ll find that several places have a monthly discount offered. Also, some owners will do a deal for a couple of months. If it’s winter for example and they know they’re not going to get many tourists anyway, they may be willing to negotiate.

Vrbo

Like Airbnb, the properties on Vrbo are rented out directly by the owners. While the site is also mainly focused on tourists, some owners may negotiate outside of the tourist season.

Housesitting

If you’re willing to try something a little bit different, then housesitting could be the way to go. This is where you live in somebody’s house for free, in exchange for looking after their pets and their property.

Often people only need someone for a few days, but sometimes you’ll see house sits available for a month or longer. This is perhaps a better option for those who are flexible on where they might want to live and are trying out a few different places. It’s also better for those wanting to live in smaller towns or villages rather than the bigger cities, as there are fewer postings for these popular locations. Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House are good options. 

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