Accommodation in Spain

Accommodation in Spain
Updated 2021-07-16 12:24

When it comes to searching for a roof over your head, you'll discover a lot of reasonably priced, high-quality rental accommodation in Spain. As in most countries, prices vary enormously with the most expensive properties in the centre of the biggest and most popular cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

In general, rents are quite high in Spain, especially in the major metropolises. However, away from the big cities and economic centres, prices remain affordable. Do your research well, and you are bound to find something within your budget.

Renting in Spain

Typical rental contracts in Spain are drawn up for 12 months and renewed annually. The standard practice is for landlords to give long-term tenants the right to renew for up to five years. During this time, the landlord can increase the rent or take the property back, provided they give you sufficient notice. If you want to vacate the home before your contract is up, you may have to continue paying rent until the contract ends. 

In Spain, tenancy agreements are valid, whether verbal or written. It is advisable to get everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings and mistranslations.

Before signing on any dotted line, make sure that the lease contract clearly specifies your obligations and those of the landlord regarding:

  • The tenancy period
  • Who pays which bills. Usually, the tenant pays the utility bills.
  • Maintenance fees, tax and other charges
  • The deposit 
  • The notice period for ending the contract
  • Insurance you may be required to take
  • Who pays for IBI and Basura? (Respectively, the property tax and the tax for rubbish collection)
  • Reserve payments or agency fees

If you're looking for a rental period of less than a year, you may be able to find a place for six months with a rolling contract afterwards.

Before you move in, your landlord will ask for a deposit of one month's rent in advance. This will be held in a separate account and will be given back to you at the end of your contract, provided there's no damage to the property or its contents. Additionally, the landlord may ask for an extra deposit (fianza) to protect them against possible non-payment (this is capped at two months' rent unless the rental period is longer than five years).


Landlords can only increase the rent once every 12 months, and even then, only if it's been established in the rental agreement's terms.


Never hand over cash for a deposit because it doesn't offer the same proof of payment as a cheque, credit/debit card or bank order.

You can read the full details of Spain's rental laws (in Spanish) on the government's website.

Rental property inventory

Your landlord/estate agent/rental agent should provide you with a complete inventory of items within a property before you move in. However, if this isn't offered, you should make an exhaustive list of items such as furniture and appliances and their condition and take photographs. Attach everything to the lease agreement.

If anything is faulty, ask for them to be repaired or replaced before you sign anything.

Good to know:

To be able to rent in Spain, you will need:

  • A Spanish bank account
  • N.I.E. (Foreigners Identity Number)
  • Your residency certificate/document
  • A passport or I.D. card
  • An employment contract or evidence of ability to meet rental payments
  • Payslips or a certificado de ingresos y retenciones (end of year income certificate from your employer) to prove your financial status.

How to find a rental property in Spain 

The most common ways to find a property in Spain are through an estate agent, word of mouth or searching through classified ads online and in newspapers. The internet is probably the best place to start as this will give you a good feel for the types of properties and their prices. It's a good idea to register with several property rental agencies in the area where you want to live. Outline your budget and preferences, so they can call you as soon as something within your price range and parameters becomes available.

If you don't have a big budget, you can opt for flat-sharing (piso compartio), a cheap and popular option. Many websites are dedicated to flat-sharing in Spain.

When it comes to viewing properties, try and avoid the busy summer months of June and July. If you're planning to stay in a university town or city, the most hectic time will be just before the academic year starts, when many students will also be looking for a place to live.


Often, property descriptions vary in accuracy. So be sure to check that what you're expecting to see exists when viewing properties.

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