In December 2018 The Spanish government announced a radical redrawing of the country’s rental regulations, aiming both to protect renters and to update the sector’s laws, yet after enacting the laws, they were promptly repealed by Congress in January 2019.
Typical rental agreements in Spain were extended from three to five years, with deposits limited to two months’ rent and revised rules to enable lessors and lessees to renovate properties more easily during a tenancy contract.
The new rules stipulated that if 75 per cent of a building’s occupants objected to short term lettings, this would prevent landlords renting properties to holidaymakers. The ruling aimed to reduce the number of properties which stay empty for much of the year, only filling with guests in the summer season.
Likewise, property owners leaving their flats unoccupied would have to pay more tax to their local councils, whereas social housing tenants would be spared council tax.
The abrupt cancellation of these laws has caused confusion among Spain’s property sector, since rental contracts signed during the 35-day period when these regulations were effective must abide by them. Any contracts agreed after 22 January 2019 are subject to the earlier rules.
Property experts believe that the government will return to the issue in future, once again attempting to limit rental prices in cities and promote renters’ rights.
This legal insecurity “tarnishes the image and faith the public has deposited in public institutions and politicians,” wrote property lawyer Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. He argues that politicians should be sure that their laws will survive before they publish them.