Accommodation in Spain
Updated 8 months ago

It may be quite difficult to find accommodation in Spain, especially in Madrid where the demand as well as prices are relatively high. But you can still find affordable accommodation elsewhere in the country, especially in the countryside and smaller cities. 

In general, rents are quite high in Spain, especially in the most popular areas. However, away from city or economic centres, prices remain affordable. So it's up to you to decide where you want to settle, depending on your budget.

Renting in Spain

A few years back, rental contracts used to have a five-year duration with a minimum of one year of occupancy. Things have changed, moving from 5 to 3 years and in many cases rent prices are likely to be raised after the end of the first contract period - in Barcelona it is currently up to 30% more. In all cases, it is generally written in the contract. In case you try to put an end to the contract during the minimum rental period, you may have to pay compensation to the owner.

Make sure that the lease contract clearly specifies your obligations and those of the landlord regarding:

  • Tenancy period
  • Maintenance fees, tax and other charges
  • Deposit (fianza)/ additional deposit or bank guarentee
  • Notice period for resigning from the contract
  • Insurance you may be required to take on
  • Reserve payments or agency fees

A verbal contract may be legal, but you can also buy rental contract templates at tobacco shops, for instance.

You could also opt for a temporary rental contract with a duration of one to 11 months. You can thus enjoy furnished and equipped housing units, which are ideal for short stays such as internships or temporary projects.

A one or two months' rent deposit in cash is often required from the landlord to cover any potential damages. The landlord must give the deposit back to the tenant within a month after lease termination. Additionally, the landlord may ask for an additional deposit or bank guarentee (aval-bancario) to protect them against possible non-payment.

There is generally no inventory prior to relocation in Spain, but feel free to take pictures of the housing unit and attach these to your lease agreement and make an inventory list as exhaustive as possible, especially in the case the accommodation is furnished. You are also advised to check whether the equipment provided is working before signing the contract. In case any object or appliance has to be repaired, you can request that the necessary work be done before signing the contract, or simply ask for a commitment to repair any malfunctioning equipment from the owner.

Rent may include property tax and residence tax, so it is advisable to find out what charges the rent includes before signing the contract. Water, gas and electricity bills are usually not included and have to be settled separately.

Good to know:

To be able to rent a flat in Spain you generally need a Spanish bank account, NIE (tax ID number for foreigners in Spain), ID card or passport, and references such as employment contract, pay slips or certificado de ingresos y retenciones (end of year income certificate from your employer) to prove your financial status.

How to find accommodation in Spain

If you need to find a suitable and affordable place in Madrid, Barcelone or in any other major Spanish city, flat-sharing is a very cheap and popular option (piso compartido). Many websites are dedicated to flat-sharing in Spain.

Classified ads in local newspapers can be helpful. You can even find newspapers that are entirely dedicated to housing. If you are urgently looking for accommodation, feel free to seek help from the nearest tourist office which can provide you with a list of available housing. You might also want to register with a real estate agency. Note, however, that agency fees of around one to two months' rent apply, so you better plan your budget.

It can be quite difficult to find accommodation from abroad. In fact, most owners prefer to meet tenants in person before letting their property. At the same time, you should avoid signing a contract without visiting the premises first.

In major cities, summer is the ideal period to look for accommodation between May and July. On the other hand, it can be quite difficult to find accommodation or get an appointment with an owner during holidays. Note, as in all university cities it will be most difficult just before semester start as many students will also be looking for accomodation.


Many flats in Spain contain rooms without a window. While this may be illegal in other countries, it's very common in Spain and in most cases it won't even be mentioned in the advert. Therefore check with the landlord in advance and avoid renting without having seen the actual property.

Useful links:

Piso compartido
Compartir Piso

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