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Article copyrighted © 2019, 2020. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.
By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer - Abogado
16th of June 2020
Because of its length, I will split my blog post into two parts. In today's post we'll deal only with the first part, serving your landlord notice by recorded delivery. The second one will deal with the formal keys handover procedure.
The (bad) experience of one of our clients cancelling a rental contract has prompted me to write up this short article. For many this topic may seem rather pointless or even futile, but the fact of the matter is that if you fail to cancel a lease agreement properly in Spain it may have serious legal repercussions for a tenant (read financial).
In Spain long-term contracts, which act as the permanent place of abode of a tenant, need to be terminated formally subject to strict guidelines.
Failure to comply may result in a contract’s automatic or silent renewal. Which results in the tenant owing the landlord several extra months of rental they had not planned for! This leads to landlords pocketing tenant's deposits as contractual penalty. Which explains why many landlords never hand back tenant's deposits in Spain, because tenants did not follow the rules to cancel their contracts!
Bottom line, if you do not cancel your rental contract properly expect no refund on your security deposit.
At LNA lawyers, we assist you both cancelling a rental contract and recovering your tenant deposit.
In this short blog post we will only focus on long-term rentals, as short-term ones hardly have any effects worth noting.
Steps to resolve a rental contract
To formally terminate long-term lease agreements in Spain, you need to meet two requirements:
I. Long-term contracts signed before the 6th of March 2019
As a general rule, Spain’s Tenancy Act (or LAU, in Spanish) in its art. 11 rules you must give your landlord 30 days’ notice ahead of the agreed termination date. This notice period likewise also applies to landlords. At least six months must have elapsed before a tenant is allowed to legally cancel a long-term contract (if cancellation is triggered under 6 months, penalties apply).
For example, a long-term contract that starts on the 1st of June 2019 and ends on the 31st of May 2020 (one year). If you do not fancy renewing for a further year, and want to pull out of the contract, you must notify your landlord on or before the 30th of April 2020. Meaning he must receive your notice no later than the 30th of April 2020. This avoids an automatic contractual renewal for a further year.
To end a lease agreement, you must serve him notice by means of a registered communication, that is by recorded delivery. This requires a landlord having to sign for it upon notification with a record of date and time.
Faxes, e-mails, phone calls, text messages and WhatsApp messages are not accepted as valid methods to formally terminate a lease agreement. No law court upholds them as proof of communication and will be disregarded.
It is strongly advised a law firm, such as our company LNA, drafts this legal letter to comply with existing laws, otherwise, it may be understood the termination has not been done according to law and will yield no legal effects. Meaning your rental contract will still be active. Some landlords are proficient at turning down undue termination requests so as to legally pocket tenant’s deposits and additional guarantees as ‘penalty.’
II. Long-term contracts signed on or after the 6th of March 2019 (Spain's new rental laws in 2019)
Regarding ordinary annual extensions, the notice period for a tenant is 30 days’ ahead of the agreed termination date (for annual renewal periods).
Regarding silent renewals, we must distinguish between who serves the termination notice, whether landlord or tenant:
At LNA, we offer you the following legal service: recorded delivery service.
For a flat fee, we draft and serve your landlord (or tenant) legal notice by recorded delivery in our headed paper anywhere in Spain. This formal communication can then be used as irrefutable proof (in any ensuing court proceeding) that you correctly terminated the lease agreement, giving your landlord (or tenant) due notice as the law demands. This is a necessary step to recover your security deposit (fianza legal, in Spanish).
We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.
Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) offer you:
Please note the information provided in this blog post is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.
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