04.11.2023 12:00

Spanish Lease Agreement: What To Do If The Tenant Does Not Pay Rent For An Apartment In Spain

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If you have properties in Barcelona, perhaps a holiday home that you don’t use all year round, you should know that a great way to earn extra money is to rent it out. While renting a property means extra money, more and more landlords in Spain have problems with their tenants who violate lease agreements. What happens if the tenant does not pay the rent in Spain? Non-payment of rent is one of the problems that is becoming more and more serious. In some of the worst cases, tenants can owe money for years. This means that evicting the tenant is your only solution. What can you, as a landlord, do if tenants don’t pay rent?

Eviction Of A Tenant In Spain

According to the Spanish Consejo General del Poder Judicial (General Judicial Council), there were 11,571 evictions in Spain in the second quarter of 2021, which is more than in the previous quarter (10,961) and for the same period last year (7096).

What Should You Do If Tenants Don’t Pay Rent?

A Warning Call

Spain’s most prominent consumer organization, OCU, advises the landlord to first report the problem to the tenant by phone or in writing. If the tenant does not answer your phone calls and letters, you will have to demand payment in a more reliable way, for example, using legal force: notarial or judicial. If the tenant still does not pay, nothing is left but to go to court.

Act Quickly

According to Aranci Goenaga, lawyer and partner of the Circulo Legal Barcelona law firm, the most important thing is that the landlord must act quickly and, as soon as the tenant does not pay for rent for the first time, the lessor must force the tenant pay it and fulfill his obligations.

It is important to act quickly for several reasons: firstly, the tenant sees that the owner of the apartment is monitoring payments and reminds him that he is not paying rent. Therefore, the tenant does not think he can stop paying without consequences. Secondly, you should file a written complaint and register it for confirmation. And, thirdly, if the tenant does not pay in the first month, you can immediately file a claim to terminate the lease agreement, as the courts need some time to initiate legal proceedings. The owner is interested in getting the property back as soon as possible not to have unpaid months. This is possible if the trial is initiated in advance.

Tenants’ Ability To Pay

You can avoid problems with non-payment if you think over some details in advance.

For example, by asking for help from professionals, you will not only set the right rental price but also receive support on all questions about your property. What is much more important, the agent’s job is to study the solvency of potential tenants, check them against the base of non-payers, draw up a contract in such a way that it fully complies with the Spanish rental law (LAU), make a deposit to the competent authority, and draw up a non-payment insurance contract. There are companies that provide the landlord with a guaranteed payment service in case of non-payment of rent, as they are the ones who pay the landlord, for which they take their interest.

Actions To Avoid Non-payment Of Rent In Spain

You can claim what you are owed, or you can terminate the contract and demand eviction for non-payment, or both. If the tenant is solvent, you should demand what you are owed. If not, it is not worth it, because, in addition to the fact that you will not be paid anything, you will have to bear the costs of the lawsuit. You would better focus on settling the contract and getting the property back.

The landlord must file a lawsuit and prove that the tenant has not paid the rent. If the court rules in favor of the lessor, the lessee must leave the property and pay the rent. However, Spanish lawyers emphasize that sometimes there is no need to start the trial, as these may be force majeure circumstances, and you can find a way to solve it. But you always need to act quickly if your tenant avoids communication and does not explain the reasons for not paying rent. You should behave as if the tenant does not think that he can get into the habit of late payments.


So, what are the legal consequences of not paying rent? The main consequence is a violation of the contract, the obligation to pay is breached, and this may lead to the termination of the contract. Failure to pay in just one month may result in a loss of the contract. And all property owners who rent out housing should act decisively if they have problem tenants.

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