The rental market is taking off in Spain. More and more people are opting for this alternative when they are unable to buy a home or access financing. However, finding a house that suits their needs or the right person is not the only challenge facing tenants and landlords.

Once the contract is signed and the keys in hand, the real challenge begins: living together, that fine line that stops a good or bad relationship between landlords. For the rental adventure to work for both parties, each one must be aware and assume the expenses derived from their condition, a circumstance that is not always clear and that causes most of the confrontations.

So that there is no doubt, the Consumers and Users Organisation (OCU) has created a complete guide explaining which expenses correspond to one and the other. First of all, the OCU recommends that you read the rental contract carefully before signing. “It’s what you put in there that counts,” they say.

Once the relationship has been formalised, and unless the rental contract states otherwise, the costs are distributed as follows:

  • Landlord: pays the IBI, the community of neighbours, the rubbish tax, the house insurance and maintenance insurance (boiler…).
  • Tenant: pays everything that can be measured with individual meters (water, electricity, gas, telephone…).

In the event of a breakdown or damage to the home:

  • Landlord: pays for breakdowns of the washing machine, boiler, etc. only when there is a minor breakdown (a pilot light, a filter…) or if it is proved that the tenant is to blame.
  • Tenant: pays for any damage that he or his visitors cause to the rented property (for example: glass). It is advisable to take out special tenant insurance for such contingencies. It also covers small expenses for the daily use of the flat: changing a light bulb or the door of the washing machine, fixing the bathroom chain or the strap of the shutter…

In addition, all kinds of questions can arise around the responsibilities of the rent. The responsibility for some – such as noise complaints – is clearly attributed, while other situations, such as a flood, the ‘fault’ can be divided into up to three parts: tenant, landlord and community of owners.

To prevent the relationship between landlords and tenants from becoming entrenched, the ocu advises to negotiate without a fight. Furthermore, she recommends landlords to take out a good home insurance because “this way they will sleep more peacefully” and reminds them that being stingy “can be very expensive”.

As for the tenants, the consumer organisation explains that if the landlord sees that the monthly payment is paid on time “he will be much more receptive to negotiate so that your rent does not go up”.