Winkworth Spain Real Estate Blog

What not to do as a landlord in Spain

For those who buy villas in Sotogrande, Estepona or any other popular area of the Costa del Sol with the intention of renting out their property, it is imperative to be well-versed in matters of law and other sensitive aspects of life as a landlord in Spain.

Your own tenant could criminally prosecute you in the most extreme cases, so what are some of the biggest mistakes that a landlord in the country can make?

Don’t overstep the mark – even if your tenant isn’t paying

As frustrating as it can be for your tenant to fall into rental arrears, this is also one of the circumstances most frequently leading to landlords breaking the law. A rash, ill-advised reaction may be especially likely if you are dependent on the rent to offset the cost of your mortgage payments.

You may be tempted to shut off your tenant’s water or electricity, for example, for which they are entitled to report you to the police. You can be criminally prosecuted for harassment or coercion if you do this. This is the case even if the utilities are in your name as a landlord and you deliberately stop paying for them to put pressure on the non-paying tenant to leave, as the law regards this as equivalent to shutting off the utilities physically.

Changing the locks may also be regarded as coercion or harassment from a legal point of view, thereby bringing its own risk of criminal prosecution. Nor should you simply enter the property at any time you please under the guise of a ‘routine check’, as prior written permission for this is needed from the tenant, whether or not they are paying their rent.

Some landlords in Spain even go as far as ‘taking justice into their own hands’ by physically evicting non-paying tenants with the assistance of a suitably intimidating ‘acquaintance’, for which both the landlord and their ‘friend’ can be jailed on the grounds of unlawful entry (trespassing).

Buy villas in Sotogrande or elsewhere on the Costa del Sol

If you are looking for the ideal property to rent out on the Costa del Sol, why not get in touch with Winkworth’s seasoned experts? We can make your search for the villa, apartment or townhouse that best suits your needs so much quicker and easier – just contact us today to learn more about our highly tailored service.