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Signing a Rental Contract and What Mistakes to Avoid

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Written by Daniella

Every rental contract has its own elements and characteristics, and anyone who is about to rent an apartment should always be very cautious. Unfortunately, no matter how much attention you are paying to the whole process, you might still be in for an unpleasant surprise…

So today, the team from ShMadrid has made a list of the most often made mistakes when signing a rental contract.

Related article: Long-Term Accommodation in Madrid

Discover what mistakes you can avoid when signing a rental contract

Forgetting to check if the landlord really is the property owner

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Photo via Pixabay

Most of the time the owner of the property is the one who rents it out. It is, however,  possible that other people try to rent it out, and these may be people who are not even related to the property itself or the owner.

Another problem could arise after an inheritance or divorce, because there may have been a change in ownership, which means the property cannot be legally put up for rent anymore.

If you want to be absolutely sure and avoid problems, go to Registro de la Propiedad (the Spanish Land Registry) and ask for a nota simple to find out if the property owner is the exact same person who wants to rent it out.

The law usually sides with the tenant in the case of fraud, but once you have paid money in advance as a guarantee, it is very complicated to get that back.

Not knowing if a real estate agency is taking care of the rental contract

If the rental contract is arranged by an agency, the tenant should always check what their fees are. Normally the property owner pays for these expenses, but some real estate agencies also charge the tenant with an extra fee.

It is good to know what you are paying exactly, before this impacts your budget or savings account.

Not negotiating with the landlord

Nowadays landlords can get themselves into compromising situations because some people simply refuse to pay their rent or tenants don’t take good care of the property they have rented.

Once a landlord has decided to rent out his second home, he wants to sign a contract with a safe and reliable tenant, even if the rental price agreed upon is lower than mentioned in the original advertisement. Every property owner prefers this, rather than having an empty apartment and not making any profit.

Related article: Requirements to Rent an Apartment in Madrid

Agreeing on an oral contract and not a written one

large apartment building

Photo via Pixabay

The law states both written and oral contracts are legally binding. However, an oral agreement between a landlord and a tenant is much more difficult to prove.

In the case of an oral agreement, either party could be of bad faith and decide not to proceed on the basis of what had originally been agreed upon.

Not reading every detail in the rental contract

Not fully reading a contract is a mistake many people make. Clauses are usually agreed upon in advance, and sometimes we make the mistake to assume they will automatically be a part of the rental contract.

In order to be absolutely sure, you must always check every word that is written down on paper, because this is the only way you can really know the content of a contract you are about to sign.

Not signing every page of a rental contract

We recommended signing each and every page that is part of the rental agreement. This is the only way you can assure yourself your contract is not messed with. Sometimes there have been modifications without a tenant knowing, like removing or adding certain clauses that may be of a disadvantage to either party.

What other mistakes are you aware of when signing a rental agreement?

About the author


Daniella loves to write and translate. Her bucket list is filled with beautiful places she still needs to visit.

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