When can you legally leave a rental property in Spain?

Perhaps you have problems with your apartment and don’t want to keep waiting around for them to be solved, maybe you’ve found somewhere better to live or potentially your situation has changed and you get a new job, want to move in with a partner or get a bigger place because you’re growing your family.

There are many different reasons why you may not want to stay in the same place for five years, but what are your rights when you break your contract?

The Urban Leasing Law (LAU) is the legislation in charge of regulating this type of relationship between the landlord and tenant and is what you should refer to. 

Q: How much notice do I have to give?

A: Article 11 of the LAU specifies that as long as six months of your contract have elapsed, you must notify the owner 30 days or one month in advance if you want to leave the property. Make sure to read your contract, however, to see if it says something different (more on this below). 

READ ALSO: What will happen to rents in Spain in 2024?

Q: How should I inform my landlord that I want to leave?

A: If you want to leave your property before the five years are up, how you inform your landlord is important too. You know that it must be done 30 days in advance, but it should also be done in writing to make sure it’s recorded, either through a burofax, a letter or an email. If any legal issues arise then you have proof of when you gave your notice.


Q: What happens if I don’t give 30 days’ notice?

A: If you leave the apartment without complying with the 30-day notice period, the owner has the right to collect their monthly payment and the remaining expenses until the 30 days have passed. This may mean that they will keep part of your deposit.

 READ ALSO: Can I use my deposit to pay my last month of rent in Spain? 

Q: What if I have only just moved into a property and then change my mind about living there?

A: Unfortunately, if you have already signed the contract, the law states that you cannot leave your property within the first six months. If you do choose to do so, however, the landlord has the right to penalise you.

For example, if you have only lived in your house for four months, but want to move out because you got a job on the other side of the city, the landlord may ask you to pay the remaining two months’ rent, to make it up to six months.


Q: Is there a way I may still be penalised even if I give one month’s notice?

A: If you have lived in the property for more than six months and you have given your 30 days’ notice, then you still have to be careful and make sure you read everything in your contract so that you’re not penalised. 

Article 11 of the LAU also states that: “The parties may agree in the contract that, in the event of withdrawal, the lessee must compensate the lessor with an amount equivalent to one month’s rent in force for each year of the contract that remains to be fulfilled. Periods less than one year will give rise to the proportional part of the compensation”.

This means that if it says so in your contract and you leave after two years for example, you may end up having to pay your landlord three months’ rent in compensation to make up for the three years you still have left on your five-year lease.

READ ALSO – Renting in Spain: When can a landlord legally kick out a tenant? 

Q: What if I have to leave early because there are issues with the property?

A: If you simply can’t live the property for six months because of major issues such as flooding or broken pipes and the landlord won’t fix them, then you have the right to leave early without having to pay extra. If works are also being carried out on your home, meaning that you can’t live there comfortably, you can also choose to leave early. 

According to article 26 of the LAU, “When the execution of renovation or construction works agreed upon by a competent authority in the rented home make it uninhabitable, the tenant will have the option of suspending the contract or withdrawing from it, without any compensation”.


Q: Can I break my lease early if the landlord doesn’t stick to the agreed-upon conditions?

A: Yes, if you believe that your landlord isn’t sticking to the conditions set out in your contract, then you can also leave the property early, without having to pay the extra months.

Article 27 of the LAU states that “non-compliance by any of the parties with the obligations resulting from the contract will give the right to the party that has fulfilled its obligations to demand compliance with the obligation or to promote the resolution of the contract”.

This means that if the owner fails to comply with any of the points stated in your contract, you may terminate it early.


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