A rental contract (Contracte de lloguer) is a private agreement between a lessor (Arrendador), who is the owner of a property, and a lessee (Arrendatari), also called an inquilí or a llogater in Catalan, who rents the property from the lessor.

Rental contracts
(El contracte de lloguer)

A rental contract is a document signed by a tenant and an owner, which contains all the conditions of the agreement established between them. The owner (or lessor) may sign such a contract through a representative called an estate manager, who is responsible for managing the contract and collecting rent payments.

A rental contract must contain the following information:

  • The name and personal details of the lessor and the lessee.

  • The address of the home being rented out and the details of the building or estate in which it is located.

  • The duration of the contract.

  • The rent to be paid.

  • All the clauses (Clàusules) established by the lessor and the lessee.

Rental contracts must be established in writing, and should be registered and stamped at the chamber of urban property (Cambra de la Propietat Urbana) . They are otherwise considered to be unofficial, although they are still valid. Lessees are not actually required to register rental contracts, but doing so could protect their rights in the future (if the home they are renting becomes the property of a new owner, for example).

You will be asked for the following when signing a rental contract:

  • An identity document, i.e. a Spanish national ID document (DNI), a passport or a work and residency permit (NIE).

  • A copy of your employment contract and recent wage slips (in most cases).

  • A month’s rent in cash as a deposit (Fiança) , which will be kept in the corresponding chamber of urban property. An additional deposit (Fiança suplementària) may also be required if the lessor does not trust the lessee.

  • A bank guarantee (Aval bancari) or a personal guarantee (Aval personal) , also called an aval solidari in Catalan, from another person or organisation is often required, to offer an assurance that the lessee is able to make rent payments.

Asking for a guarantee is perfectly legal, although not compulsory. Owners ask for some kind of guarantee due to concern over the possibility of the tenant not paying their rent. If the tenant does not make such payments, the owner has to begin eviction (Desnonament) proceedings in court, a process that rarely takes less than six months and involves paying lawyers and solicitors.

Guarantees have the same duration as the rental contracts to which they are associated, plus an extra month or two to make sure that tenants have paid all their debts.

Economic conditions of rental contracts:

1. If a rental contract is established between two individuals without the involvement of an estate manager:

  • You will have to pay two months' rent in advance, in cash. Half of that sum serves as a deposit, while the other half is an advance payment of the first month's rent.

2. If a rental contract is established via an estate manager:

  • You will have to pay three months'rent in advance, in cash, when signing the contract. A third of that sum serves as a deposit, another third is an advance payment of the first month’s rent and the final third is usually the estate manager's fee.

The owner will return your deposit at the end of the contract, provided that you have not caused any damage in the home. To avoid misunderstandings, it is a good idea to make an inventory (Inventari) describing the condition of the apartment and its furniture when you move in. Both you and the owner should sign the inventory, which will be used to check for possible damage at the end of the contract.

Before signing a contract:

Check the condition of the home. Look for cracks or damp patches, and find out if the home receives natural light, if it is well ventilated, whether its water comes from a tank or from the mains network, etc.

Check the status of the home’s water, gas (natural or butane) and electricity supplies (Subministraments) . If they have been activated, make sure that the most recent bills have been paid. If they have been paid, it is a good idea to ask for a copy of them.

If the home's supplies have not been activated, you, as the tenant, will have to go through the procedures for activating them. In order to do so, you will need the home's certificate of habitability (Cèdula d’habitabilitat), a document which the owner is legally obliged to provide you.

Signing a contract means that both you and the lessor accept its conditions and clauses. It is advisable to read contracts carefully before signing them. If possible, ask for advice from an expert, such as an estate agent (API), or from a municipal consumer information bureau (Oficina Municipal d’Informació al Consumidor, OMIC) .

Guild of Estate Agents of Barcelona:

Municipal consumer information bureaux (OMICs):

Once you have signed a rental contract, you are entitled to have the keys to the home. When the contract ends, you must return the keys to the owner and leave the rented apartment in the condition in which you found it when you moved in.