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Stricter requirements and screenings: Why it’s getting harder to rent in Spain

Demand for apartments to rent is growing, especially in Spain’s big cities, but it is also becoming increasingly difficult to find one due to strict rules and prerequisites.

Stricter requirements and screenings: Why it’s getting harder to rent in Spain
Why renting is getting harder in Spain. Photo: Jilbert Ebrahimi / Unsplash

The apartment is not open to people who work remotely, you need a contract of at least €2,100 per month, you need to be over 35 years old, you need an annual income of over €25,000 and you need to prove you’ve been working non-stop over the past two years.

These are just some of the unrealistic demands agencies and landlords and have been asking tenants recently across Spain. 

Increase in cost

According to the latest data, the average price of rental housing in Spain was €1,169 per month last month in September 2022, which represents an increase of 3.85 percent compared to August.

The values ​​vary depending on the city. In Barcelona, it stands at €2,312, in Madrid at €1,776 and in Valencia and San Sebastián above €1,300.

The price stood at €11.2 per square meter which is, 6.4 percent more than in 2021 and not far from the peak, which was seen two years before that.

In the case of Madrid city, the figure for September stood at €16.3/m2, which marks a year-on-year increase of 10.8 percent; and in Barcelona at €17.8/m2, with an increase of 20.3 percent. 

According to the housing website Fotocasa prices in the capital of Madrid have reached “historic highs”, and not only in the centre but also in the outlying municipalities.

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

Waitlists

The increase in demand for places to rent means that there are now long waitlists in some cities in Spain. People are missing out on rentals if they can’t make the viewing straight away.

And when they are able to get to a viewing, they’re having to make a decision on the spot and sign right away, because if they take a few days to think it over, they will lose out.

Agencies are also reporting that many young people are signing rental contracts without even going for viewings as they’re too worried they’ll miss out.

This is not just happening in places such as Madrid and Barcelona, but also in nearby commuter towns or even small towns nowhere near these hubs, such as Ferrol in Galicia.

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

More requirements

The greater demand for homes means that landlords can afford to become more choosy and are adding more and more requirements for people to be able to rent their properties.

Some of the most common demands are that tenants must demonstrate job stability, have a minimum level of income, be of a certain age and be willing to put down a considerably large deposit. But more and more requirements are being added by landlords all the time.

In Madrid for example, tenants are being asked for salaries of around €2,100, proof of work life in recent years, renters insurance and real estate agency fees.

According to the tech website Xataka if your rent is €1,776 per month and you add the agency fees and a one-month deposit, this would rise to €5,300, which you would need to pay out at the start. Many people are unable to spend these large sums all at once.  

READ ALSO: How to rent a property in Spain without a job contract

Not everyone is eligible  

Reports in the Spanish press have said that some landlords are going even further and discounting some tenants from the outset.

Examples include that they need be over 35 years old, that they pay the IBI (yearly property tax), which in Madrid is an average of €439 and they are prohibiting people who work from home.  

Many of these are increasingly difficult, especially for those who are not allowed to work from home, as many remote jobs increased during the pandemic.

Some potential renters are even having to undergo interviews and send in CVs to rent an apartment, a practice which has become common in places like New York, but up until now was very rare in Spain.

Looking ahead to 2023  

To help with the costs of inflation and to stop landlords from increasing rental prices as much as they want, the Spanish Government established a limit of a two percent rise.

This, however, is a temporary measure, and people are concerned as to what will happen afterward if inflation continues.

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RENTING IN SPAIN

Spain to keep limiting rent increases throughout 2023

The Spanish government has agreed to continue limiting the amount landlords can increase the rent of tenants by a maximum of 2 percent throughout 2023, shielding renters from rising inflation.

Spain to keep limiting rent increases throughout 2023

Pedro Sánchez’s government made the announcement on Tuesday after receiving the support of Basque nationalist party EH Bildu, a necessary step for Spain’s General Budgets for 2023 to be approved.  

Spain’s ruling Socialists first introduced the rent increase cap in March 2022, which was meant to be a temporary measure to protect the 30 percent of people in Spain who rent from spiralling inflation. 

Prior to that, many landlords had the right to increase the price of the rent on a yearly basis based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the figure used to measure inflation.

The CPI rate effectively acted as an upper limit on how much rents could be increased if agreed to or mentioned on the contract.

So if inflation was at 9 percent and it was time to renew a rental agreement for another, landlords could in many cases increase the rent by 9 percent.

READ MORE: When is it legal or not legal for a landlord to increase the rent in Spain?

This clause in Spain’s Urban Leases Law is currently not applicable given the extension of the 2 percent increase limit.

According to ministerial figures, 3.5 million rental agreements in Spain are currently subject to potential increases.

The measure, which was due to expire this December, will be in place until December 31st 2023.

READ ALSO: Stricter requirements and screenings: Why it’s getting harder to rent in Spain

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