If you’re contemplating buying a property in Javea that already has someone living there, you might wonder what you can and can’t do. Can you change the rental agreement, or how much rent they’re paying? Can you move into the property yourself? Here are the important rules you need to know.
If you want to buy a specific property in Javea or indeed, any part of Spain, you might want to rent it out, use it as a holiday home, or live there yourself. But what if someone already lives there? This can make things complicated. So, what are the rules for buying a property with a tenant living there? It’s called “subrrogación de contrato de alquiler” in Spanish. Let’s find out what the law says.
What are your rights, and what are the tenant’s rights when the property changes hands?
When someone buys a house or apartment in Spain with a tenant, they must follow certain rules. The rental agreement that the tenant has with the previous owner has to be respected, according to a law called the Spanish Law on Urban Leases (LAU).
Usually, the new owner has to wait until the rental agreement ends before they can move in. There are some situations where the new owner can move in earlier, but they are limited. It’s important to know that the rental agreement must be registered with the Spanish land registry. If it isn’t registered and the new owner wants to move in, they can legally ask the tenant to leave, but they must give them three months’ notice.
What Happens to the Tenant’s Deposit?
Theoretically, the landlord should have put it in an official organization in your region, called a ‘competent body of the autonomous community’, and not kept it in their bank account. This way, it is unnecessary to transfer it between seller and buyer. At the end of the contract, the tenant should get the deposit back as long as there are no damages.
What about the Terms of the Contract?
If you buy a property that is already rented out, you can’t change the rules of the rental agreement. You have to follow the same rules the previous landlord and tenant agreed upon until the contract ends on the date specified in the agreement.
What happens when the contract expires?
If you rent a property and the contract ends when the property is sold, the new owner can decide to renew the contract or make a new one. They can also change the rental price or conditions. If the new owner doesn’t want to renew the contract, they must tell the tenant in advance, and according to the law, they must give you four months’ written notice.
Are There Any Circumstances When the New Landlord Can Terminate the Contract?
Yes. According to Article 9 of the LAU:: If you rent a property as an individual (not a company) after the first year of your contract, the landlord can ask the tenant to leave before the end of the contract if they need the property for themselves, their family members or their spouse due to a separation, divorce or annulment. This is only allowed if it was specified in the contract when it was signed. So, if a landlord needs the property for themselves or their family, they can legally ask a tenant to leave.