Over the last few years, Malaga has become increasingly popular for Europeans who want to live in the city permanently. If you’re looking for a base in the city, somewhere to call home or perhaps a source of holiday rental income, buying a property in Malaga could be the option for you. But if you don’t want the ties of ownership, another option are long term rentals in Malaga.
Just like buying a property, renting isn’t something to be undertaken lightly. Spanish rental law, like anywhere, has its own idiosyncrasies and regulations. But the good news is that it isn’t difficult to avoid problems and enjoy a trouble-free rental. All you have to do is take some basic and easy precautions and to help you do that, read our guide to long term rentals in Malaga, compiled by our property experts Andalusian Lawyers.
What’s in the contract?
The short answer is everything! This vital document should contain all the terms and conditions regarding your long term rental. All the clauses must meet legal regulations, but some of them can be freely agreed between tenant and landlord. Make sure you understand exactly what your contract says and what your obligations and rights are as a tenant.
How long can I stay in long term rentals in Malaga?
Under the law passed in 2019, you are allowed to stay in the rental for a minimum of 5 years (7 if the owner of the property is a company). You don’t have to leave the property before the 5 years unless (and this is the only reason) the landlord needs it for a close relative (spouse, child or parent) to live in. However, your landlord can only apply this rule after a minimum of 1 year of tenancy and must give you 2 months’ notice. This option must be clearly stated in the contract.
What happens after 5 years?
If your landlord doesn’t want to continue your tenancy, he/she must give you 4 months’ notice before the contract is due to expire. Otherwise the contract is extended by annual periods for up to 3 years.
How much notice do you have to give?
You must stay for a minimum of 6 months in the property and then give 30 days’ notice when you wish to leave.
Should I get a receipt for my rent?
Yes, definitely. Ask your landlord to give you a receipt for payment of rent every single month. A copy of the bank transfer may not be enough.
Can my landlord put my rent up?
During the 5 years’ rental, the landlord may increase your rent every year by the official rate of inflation (IPC in Spanish and published every month by the government). But both parties must agree this and include the agreement in the contract. This rental increase only applies to the 5-year minimum rental period. When this comes to an end, both parties must agree a new rental rate.
What about the deposit?
The deposit for long term rentals in Malaga is at least 1 month’s rent and cannot, under new regulations, be higher than 2 months’ rent. So, for example, if your rent costs €650 a month, your deposit will a minimum of €650 and a maximum of €1,300.
Who pays for general expenses?
Properties in Malaga are liable for taxes and fees including community charges (if your long-term rental is an apartment or part of the complex) and local council taxes. These are usually paid by the landlord, but both parties can freely agree that the tenant pays them. Make sure the contract states the final agreement. Tenants pay utility charges (water, electricity, gas, telephone, internet connection, etc).
Who pays for maintenance of the property?
Under Spanish law, the cost of maintaining long term rentals in Malaga is down to the landlord, unless you have caused the damage.
Who pays for improvements to the property?
If the landlord invests in improvements, he/she can charge the tenant for these in monthly installments but only after the minimum stay period of 5 years and for no more than 20% of the regular monthly rent. Again, this is open to negotiation and the law states that both parties can freely agree that the improvements made during the first 5 years can be charged to the tenant and without the limit of 20% of the rent. But this must be a clear agreement and written in the contract.
Can you do any work in the property?
If you want to make any improvements to the property, however small, you need written permission from your landlord. If you don’t get this, the landlord may cancel the contract and you could be obliged to pay to have everything returned to its original state when you moved in.
What happens if the landlord sells the property?
Under Spanish law, you’re protected and have the same rights and standing as a tenant if there’s a change of ownership to your long term rental in Malaga. For example, if it is sold to someone else or repossessed by the bank.
Do I have to pay a rental agency in Malaga?
If you use an agency or lawyer, you and the landlord may be liable for fees, for example, for finding the property and/or drafting the contract. Both sides (you and the landlord) must agree freely who pays for what. When you contact a rental agency, ask what their fees are before you contract their services.
Note that if the rental property is owned by a company, all costs for property finding and contracts are paid by the company.
What about an inventory?
Most long term rentals in Malaga come partially or fully furnished. Make sure the landlord prepares an inventory of all contents in the property, check it carefully and then attach it to the contract. Both parties should sign it.
How can I find out more?
For professional and impartial advice on rental contracts, get in touch with Andalusian Lawyers.