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Is subletting legal in Spain?

The Local Spain
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Is subletting legal in Spain?
Will you get into trouble if you sublet in Spain? Photo: John Tekeridis/Pexels

Subletting is a common practice in Spain, particularly in tough economic times. So is it legal? Whether you’re a tenant looking to sublease or you’re looking for a room in a flatshare, here’s what you need to know.

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Subletting is the practice whereby someone rents a property and then rents all or part of it out to someone else. This is very popular in Spain, particularly in flatshares in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona.

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But is it legal?

Whether you’re a tenant looking to help makes ends meet by renting out one of your rooms or you want to rent out a room from someone else, there are a few factors you need to consider beforehand.

The short answer is that subletting is not legal in Spain.

According to Article 8 of the Urban Leasing Law (LAU), only partial subletting (the subletting of rooms) is allowed, but only when you have express written permission from the landlord.

Therefore, if it’s not written in your contract that subletting is allowed, you must assume it’s illegal. In this case, if you still want to sublet a room, you must contact your landlord first to get permission.

Be aware that if your landlord agrees to the sublet and you do get written permission, they have the right to increase the rental price by 10 percent.

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

The law also states that the price of the sublease can never be higher than the price of the entire lease. This means that if you have permission from the landlord to rent out a room, you can only use it to help you pay the rent, not to make a profit.  

Even if you’re not making a profit, you must still legally declare the amount you are earning to the tax authorities. Failing to do this could mean having to pay hefty fines.  

The sublease of an entire home is not allowed in Spain according to the LAU and will not be considered legal.

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I want to rent a room, what do I need to look out for? 

If you’re looking to rent out a room in a property and are worried about the legalities of subletting, there are a few things you may want to check out before signing the contract.  If the person you’re renting from is not the property owner, you will need to make sure that they have written consent from the landlord in order to rent you the room.  

If they do have permission, you’ll want to check out the original contract they have with the landlord to see the duration of the lease. This is because when the lease of the entire property is up, this will also terminate any subleasing contracts and you will no longer be able to continue living in the property unless you sign a new contract with the landlord yourself.

READ ALSO: Renting in Spain: Why it’s become very hard to find a flat to share 

What if you’re a landlord worried about a tenant subletting your property?

As a landlord, there are reasons to be concerned about illegal subletting. The main one is that you don’t know who or how many people will actually be living in your property and you don’t have any paperwork that proves it either. This could affect your housing insurance or contents insurance.

Another concern is the wear and tear of the property. If the rooms in your apartment are being rented out continually to different people for several months at a time, this is going to wear out the furniture and the paintwork a lot quicker.

If you discover that your tenant has been subletting your property without your prior written consent, then you legally have the right to terminate their contract and ask them to leave the property. 

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