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Your guide to long term rentals in Malaga

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 the rental market like in Malaga?

In 2024, the Malaga long-term rental market is one of the tightest it has ever been. High demand and low supply mean that there’s little available property on the market. This situation has existed since 2022 and as a result, rental rates are high.

According to the online property portal Idealista, rental prices in Malaga in May 2024 stood at an average of €14.50 per sq. m. The figure is 35% higher than May 2021 when the average square metre cost €9.40.

In 2024, the most expensive areas to rent in Malaga were the city centre (average €15.70 per sq. m) and the East (e.g. Pedregalejo and El Limonar, €14.90 per sq. m).

living room in typical rental flat in Malaga

How can I find a rental property in Malaga?

The short answer is “not easily”, but the good news is that it isn’t impossible to find somewhere to rent, especially if you’re prepared before hand.

Online portals

Many property portals offer platforms for owners and estate agents to advertise their homes. There isn’t really much difference between them, although you might find a property is cheaper on one than on another.

Need to know about online portals

  • Agents advertise on them as well as private owners, but it might not be obvious they are agents (and will charge a fee).
  • Photos may not be real or accurate so don’t be surprised to find that the property is very different from its photos when you view it.
  • All offer comprehensive filters so that you can narrow down your search.

The largest portals for rental properties

Idealista – easily the largest and with an English-language version

Fotocasa – second largest and with an English-language version

Habitaclia – slightly smaller selection of properties and with an English-language version

Pisos.com – English-language version

En Alquiler – English-language version

Short-term furnished rentals in Malaga to move into now

If you need a rental property immediately or want somewhere to live while you explore the city and decide which area is right for you, Homelike offer short-term furnished rentals in Malaga.

Renting a furnished apartment in Malaga in the short term is the right choice if you’re looking for convenience and flexibility. It also means you avoid the hassle of buying, transporting, and setting up furniture. Everything you need—from sofas to kitchenware—is already in place, so you can dive right into enjoying your time in Malaga.

Homelike offers a wide range of properties, catering for different budgets and preferences, making it easy to find somewhere that feels like home from day one. Whether you’re staying for a few months or planning a longer stay, Homelike has got you covered with flexible rental terms and a variety of options to choose from.

Property finders

Also known as personal property shoppers, these people are experts in an area and work for you rather than an agent or owner. They usually charge a set fee rather than commission on a sale.

If you decide to use a property finder, make sure you have an exact list of what you’re looking for in a rental property and understand the fees (and what they include) from the start.

Estate agents

Not all estate agents handle long term rentals in Malaga so you may need to visit a few to find one that does. Expect to pay one month’s rent or 10% of the annual rent as fees. Be aware that the amount may not include IVA (VAT) at 21%.

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.

Tips for finding a rental property

As the potential occupier in a long term rental in Malaga, it will help if you have the following:

Flexibility – visits may be arranged within the hour, so you need to be contactable by phone and have an open timetable.

Patience – last-minute cancellations of visits are common. 

Open mind – try to look past the less appealing aspects and think of a property’s potential.

Perseverance – the market might move fast but finding and moving into a rental can take time.

Preparation – have your personal paperwork in order. For example, a copy of your employment contract, proof of income, bank statements etc. Your future landlord will want to see proof you’re solvent and can pay the rent every month.

Things to bear in mind in Malaga rental properties

In a fast-moving market, you may only see the property once before you commit to a rental. As a result, you may not see its shortcomings or ask the right questions until it’s too late.

To avoid future disappointments and inconvenience, use the following checklist:

  • Lack of lift – older buildings may not have a lift. Weigh up the advantage of exercise against carrying up heavy shopping, a suitcase…
  • Street noise – bars, cafés, clubs stay open late in Malaga and noise carries. Check what’s outside the property and visit in the evening to check noise levels.
  • Neighbour noise – check noise levels inside too because walls can be very thin. 
  • Photoshopped property – online photos don’t always reflect the quality and state of property.
  • Holiday lets – find out how many properties in the building are holiday lets. When they’re occupied, the building can be busy and noisy at all hours.
  • Pets allowed – many landlords don’t allow pets or they may not be permitted in the building itself.
  • Community rules – some buildings have strict regulations about what you can do and when. Read them to make sure there’s nothing that doesn’t work for you.
  • Quality – often missing from many rentals in Malaga, in fittings, appliances and furniture.  
  • Orientation – if you want sun in the winter, choose a south facing property.
  • Communal areas – check out the entrance, corridors and any communal areas. Clean and tidy indicates a well-run building.
  • Ventilation in the bathroom – if there isn’t a window, is there an air vent?
  • Heating/ air-conditioning – homes in Malaga are cold in the winter and hot in the summer. What provisions does the property have? Find out if it’s your responsibility to clean and maintain heating and air-conditioning systems.

Your Malaga rental contract

The following information lists the most common FAQs about a long-term rental contract in Malaga. Note that your contract will be in Spanish, so if you’re not fluent or don’t understand every clause, get a good translation. Never sign anything you don’t understand 100%.

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.

handing over key for long term rentals in Malaga

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 I have to give?

You must stay for a minimum of 6 months in a long term rental in Malaga 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 €800 a month, your deposit will be a minimum of €800 and a maximum of €1,600.

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 I 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 status 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.

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 or get professional advice about long-term rental contracts in Malaga?

For professional and impartial advice on rental contracts, get in touch with Andalusian Lawyers.

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