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Renting in Spain: Can my partner move in with me?

The Local Spain
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Renting in Spain: Can my partner move in with me?
If you move in a boyfriend or girlfriend for a considerable period of time without telling the landlord, you could be open to accusations of subletting. Photo: Soroush Karimi/Unsplash.

You've moved to Spain, met someone, fallen head over heels and want to move in together. Is it as simple as it sounds? Not exactly, and keeping your landlord in the loop could save you problems down the road.

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As with anything when it comes to renting property, in Spain or anywhere in the world, things can be a little unpredictable and communication is key. The rules can be a little cloudy, confusing even, and some landlords might say one thing while others say something entirely different.

To all intents and purposes, we must bear in mind that the contract holder, ie. the tenant, can essentially use the property as they like. Of course, this is within reason, and given that you don't break the law or any sneaky clauses included in the contract that explicitly outlaw guests or anything like that.

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

So, in theory, a tenant should be able to move in their partner if they wish. However, it's not entirely that simple. In this situation it is always logical to inform the landlord of the situation first. This is mainly due to the issue of subletting.

According to Spain's Law on Urban Leases, rented properties cannot be sublet without the consent of the landlord, although temporarily sharing a home with a partner, or even giving a bedroom to a friend to help them out could, in theory, considered subletting a room if money is exchanged.

Put simply: if you move in a boyfriend or girlfriend for a considerable period of time without telling the landlord, you could be open to accusations of subletting, which in turn could give the landlord the legal right to terminate the contract then and there. Hardly ideal.

READ ALSO: Is subletting legal in Spain?

According to Article 8 of the Urban Leases law:

Article 8

Assignment of the contract and subletting:

1. The contract may not be assigned by the tenant without the written consent of the landlord.
2. The rented accommodation may only be sublet in part and only with the prior written consent of the landlord.

Given these potential consequences, it seems reasonable to communicate openly with your landlord and seek the best way to proceed together. In the case of a couple, this could theoretically be done by including them in an addendum to the pre-existing contract.

Often, landlords will request an increase in rent, or, at the very least, an increase in your share of the utility bills as there will now be two people consuming twice as much energy.


What about a shared flat?

Where things become a bit trickier is in a shared flat. Again, as always with these things, communication is key and it will always depend on what has been agreed in the contract. But in a shared flat, the problem mainly lies in the fact that the expenses (and space) are shared.

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

So say you live in a 3 bedroom flat, for example. Normally the fees and bills would be split evenly three ways, but if one of the tenants brings their partner to live in the apartment, their use of water, electricity, wifi, and so on, means logically the distribution of bills should change to reflect that.

On the other hand, there may also be disagreements over the use of common areas or cleaning, or just a more general lack of privacy that means your flatmates may be unwilling or even refuse to allow your partner to move in. Remember, it's not always about getting your landlord on side; in some cases, convincing your flatmates could be the more difficult part.


Can the landlord increase my rent if my partner moves in?

In a standard tenancy agreement, no. However, it is possible that a clause has been included in the contract that states something about a third person moving in as a cohabitant. However, although this is common practice, it has no legal basis according to Spanish property site Alquilino.

This is essentially because rent can (in theory) only be changed according to the provisions of Article 18 of the Urban Leases Law and at no time is anything mentioned with regards to subletting or third-parties changing rent price agreements.


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