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What are Spain's rental rules for friends or family staying over?

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What are Spain's rental rules for friends or family staying over?
Got a relative visiting for a day? Helping a friend out while they find a place of their own? Here's what you need to know about the visitor rules in rented properties in Spain. Photo: Nicole Michalou/Pexels

Are you allowed to have friends or family members stay over at your rented property in Spain for a day or two, or longer still? This is what Spanish law says.

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As anyone who has rented a property knows, the type of landlord you get can be a bit of a lottery. This is no different in Spain.

Some are very hands-off and prefer to leave you to own your devices (provided you pay the rent every month, of course) whereas others have a tendency to show up unannounced, or demand certain things, or refuse to do other things such as repairs.


Some landlords wouldn’t have a problem if your sister stays with you for a couple of weeks, whereas some might consider that subletting (regardless of whether you charged them) and try to end the contract.

READ ALSO: Where can I rent a studio for a good price in Spain in 2024?

But what does the law say about visits?

Spain’s rental rules for friends or family staying over

So, can a landlord actually ban you from having friends or family stay over at your rented accommodation?

As is often the case when it comes to Spanish law, the short answer is: it depends.

Put simply, a landlord can theoretically restrict guests access to the rented property if it’s specifically outlined in the rental agreement and it is reasonable to do so. Any restrictions on guests and visits must, above all, be balanced between the interests of the tenant, who is enjoying his or her space that they pay for, and the interests of the landlord, who wants to maintain order in his or her property.

That is to say: read the small print of your rental contract carefully, because if a landlord includes a clause banning visits or overnight stays, you could be breaking the rules.

READ ALSO: Is subletting legal in Spain?


Law on Urban Leases (LAU)

However, technically speaking, Spanish law does not establish any specific rule on visits in rented accommodation, which is why it comes down to the rental contract itself.

Spain's Law on Urban Leases (La Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos or LAU) does outlaw sublets, however, something that, depending on the length of your friend's stay in their property, some landlords might consider.

According to BPM Abogados, "the Law on Urban Leases (LAU) strictly prohibits the partial or total subletting of the property or the transfer to third parties free of charge without the landlord's consent, but there are some exceptions. It is possible for a third party to move in with the tenant:

  • Provided that he/she is part of the tenant's family unit, either by blood or by affinity.
  • When a third party is economically dependent on the tenant. This exception would include domestic servants or employees of social assistance programmes.
  • When between the third party and the renter there is a relationship of stable affective marital cohabitation."

Though it seems unlikely a landlord would cancel a contract over friends or family staying over for a few days, if it was a period of several weeks or months, some landlords could theoretically be within their rights to do so if there's a relevant clause in the rental contract.

However, again, this is legally ambiguous. According to Idealista, Spain's main property portal, even specific non-visit clauses in private rental contracts can be superseded, legally speaking:

"It is possible to agree on the prohibition or restriction of visits in a rental contract, but this clause is not permanent, as the Spanish Constitution, in Article 18, protects personal and family privacy, as well as the inviolability of the home. Therefore, a tenant can withdraw from such a waiver at any time, without negative consequences.” Arguing that with your landlord, however, might be tricky.

READ ALSO: What will happen to rents in Spain in 2024?


But Article 18 states that "the right to honour, to personal and family privacy and to one's own image is guaranteed. The home is inviolable. No entry or search may be made without the consent of the owner or a court order, except in cases of flagrant offences."

This implies, Idealista states, that "even if a clause is included prohibiting guests from visiting or sleeping in the rented property, this restriction is voluntary and temporary, subject to the will of the tenant. The best thing to do in this case is to follow common sense."

However, like before, if the visit lasts for weeks or months it could be considered illegal subletting and landlords would be within their legal rights to terminate the contract.

All that said, it seems that landlords are able to ban visits and guests if it is expressly stated in the contract. However, legally speaking, these clauses could theoretically be superseded by the Spanish constitution. 

To avoid getting mired in legal technicalities, it is advisable to communicate openly with your landlord so as not to have any misunderstandings. And if it's just a short visit from a friend or family member and you're landlord is unlikely to find out about it, then it's probably worth just going ahead with it.


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