The Notorious 11 Month Rental Contract
If you are familiar with rental contracts for properties in Spain, and particularly in the Costa del Sol, it is very likely that you have heard about the Rental Contract for Eleven Months, and you may have even signed one!
It’s funny how a type of contract can become so popular, even though it has no legal leg to stand on.
It is crystal clear that the reason why property owners and estate agents offer this type of contract, is because they wrongly believe that being valid for less than a year, the tenants’ rights will be limited somehow…and that’s not true at all!
According to Spanish law, there are two types of rental contracts:
- VIVIENDA (dwellings): This is when the property is aimed to satisfy the needs of permanent residency of the tenant. The general consensus of most people, including judges, is that 11 months is too long to be on holiday, so a contract for 11 months can easily fall into this category. When a contract is considered to be for “vivienda” (main residency), the landlord is legally compelled to extend the rental agreement for annual periods up to three years.
- DISTINTO A VIVIENDA (not dwelling): This is when, even though the house is going to be used to live in, the property will not become the main residency of the tenant. A reason must be provided for this, such as; for holiday use, temporary relocation because of a work contract, studies, etc.
The important key here is that it is not enough to simply declare that the contract is “Distinto a vivienda” (not dwelling), it must also be the truth (i.e. provable). If the landlord and tenant agree to enter into this kind of contract, because the landlord so wishes, it is important to know that when the 11 months have expired, the tenant may claim that he is living in the property, should this be the case, they would have the right to extend the contract until completing up to a maximum of 3 years from the date the contract was signed, whether or not the initial contract was for only 11 months.
The rental of a property is a complex and serious matter and it is important that both tenant and landlord are perfectly aware of their rights and obligations. Therefore, we strongly recommend to seek advice from a qualified professional before entering into this kind of contract.