The high rental prices in the city of Barcelona and some of its neighbouring municipalities, which have been accumulating increases since 2012 have brought forward a rise in demand for rooms for rent. This lease format allows residents to opt to a shared home paying a lower rent than if renting the whole flat or apartment. However, although room rentals are booming, they lack specific regulation, a fact that raises many contractual questions about its application. In light of this increase of demand for shared flats, the city council has seen the need to regulate this leasing type of contract, which until now was regulated by the Codigo Civil law (Civil law Code) instead of the Urban Leasing Law, as it used to regulate until now the leasing of full homes.
“In this case it is important to differentiate between the rental of rooms for holidays and the rental for a longer stay, that is, more than 31 days” confirmed Lluis Català, partner and Director of the Real Estate Asset Management department of Forcadell and expert in real estate law. “As for the terms of the contract, non-holiday room renting is very similar to a full home rental, although there are some obligations and singularities that the landlord has to take into account.”
According to Lluis Català, “faced with the lack of regulation and the endless possibility of agreements that can be established between the landlord and the tenant, it is advisable to make a complete contract in which the maximum possible information on the rental of the property is detailed, in order to minimize potential conflicts that may occur during the term of the contract.”
A single contract for each one of the tenants
The owner of the flat, or the landlord that decides to rent rooms, has to draft a contract for each one of the tenants that is living in the flat, including information about the rented room, the method of payment, the agreed rent, the duration, the use of common service areas, etc.
The express consent of the owner
If the landlord of the flat decides to sublet the rooms of the flat, he will need the express written consent of the owner. The sanction in case of non-compliance would imply that the owner has the right to terminate the lease contract and evict the occupants of the apartment, in addition to claiming compensation for damages and losses caused.
Furnishing of the flat
Room renting forces the landlord to furnish the house. It is advisable, therefore, to detail in the contract the furniture of the leased room and to make a meticulous photographic report.
The use and enjoyment of common areas
The rental contract for room renting must establish what use can be given to the common areas and services of the flat: dining room, living room, bathrooms, hallway and terrace or other community areas.
The duration of the rental of the room and the time of minimum fulfillment will be established between the two parties and will not be governed by the extension system foreseen in the Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos (LAU, Spanish Urban Leasing Law). Therefore, each room can have its own contract duration, being the most common for 1 year.
Given such a scenario of freedom of existing agreements, a well-written and complete contract can prevent future conflicts between owners and tenants, and ensure the proper use of the rooms/flats, and coexistence among tenants. Therefore, and despite the provision of models of contracts on the Internet, it is wise to consult with a real estate legal adviser in order to establish the best legal framework for both parties