The duration of a rental contract is jointly established by the lessor and the lessee. It may have a duration of a year, two years, five years, ten years, etc. Alternatively, it could just be valid for a number of months.

Something called the minimum guarantee period (Termini de garantia mínima) applies to rental contracts. It entitles tenants to extend (Prorrogar) their contracts to a minimum duration of 5 years, should they wish to do so. This means that every tenant is guaranteed that they will be able to stay in their home for 5 years, if they wish. Even if a duration of less than 5 years has been established in their rental contract,  they can extend it year after year until the end of the 5-year period guaranteed by law.

If a rental contract has been established for 5 years or more, it can only be considered to have concluded at the end of its entire duration period (as established in the contract itself). You are not obliged to stay in a home if you do not want to, but leaving before your rental contract ends might lead to disagreements with the lessor, who could seek damages from you for non-fulfilment of your contract.

If a contract does not specify how long it is valid for, it is considered to have a duration of 1 year.

Optional extension
(La pròrroga potestativa)

The type of extension referred to previously is compulsory for the lessor and applies to contracts with a duration of less than 5 years, which are automatically extended until the end of the 5-year minimum guarantee period.

We will now look at an extension that can take place once a contract’s minimum 5-year duration has come to an end or once the period of validity of a contract with a duration of 5 or more years has gone by. In such cases, the contract can be extended if:

1) The tenant wants to extend it.
2) The lessor is not opposed to extending it.

Duration of extensions:

A rental contract can be extended year by year or for up to 3 years. If the owner does not register any opposition straight away (i.e. when the contract ends) and an extension period begins, they must see out the full 3 years.

The tenant is not required to stay in the home for the 3-year extension period if they do not wish to.

The contract will be considered to have been automatically extended unless the tenant or the owner informs the other that they do not want that to happen.

If either the tenant or the owner does not want the contract to be extended, they must expressly inform the other of their wishes 30 days before the date on which the contract is due to end. It is advisable to do so in writing.