Buying a Property in Spain with a Sitting Tenant

Firstly it is necessary to consult a lawyer who can review the lease and determine the exact situation and the legal options available. In Spain the legislation that regulates leases is the Law of Urban Leasing: Ley 29/1994 – Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos (LAU).

This law establishes that the duration of a lease shall be that period which the two parties to the lease have freely agreed, renewable annually for a minimum of up to three years. To this rule there are two exceptions:

  • where the tenant decides not to renew the lease, with an obligation to inform the landlord of an intention to quit the lease with at least the minimum notice period of 30 days before the end of the contact term or one of the renewal periods. If the tenant wishes to terminate the lease earlier, this needs to be carried-out in compliance with the terms of the lease for such contingencies, with the possibility that the landlord may be entitled to compensation for lost rental payments under the lease.
  • The second exception arises where, at the end of the first year of the lease, the landlord expresses the need to obtain vacant possession of the property in order that they themselves, their children or spouse can live there. In this case, a notice period of two months is required.

Where the landlord wishes to sell a property that is rented out, in the first place it is necessary to inform the buyer of the fact that the property is subject to a lease. If the buyer wishes to proceed, notwithstanding the fact that the property is rented to a tenant, the conveyance of the property may proceed as it would otherwise. In this case the buyer assumes the role of landlord previously held by the seller (this change is required to be communicated to the tenant) and therefore find themselves in the same legal position with regard to the tenant as the previous landlord.

If the buyer does not wish to buy the property because it is subject to a lease, should it be the case that only a short period of time remains before the lease can be legally terminated, it may be convenient to wait and notify the tenant that you do not wish to renew the lease. If this is not the case, then the only remaining option would be to negotiate with the tenant, given that they are entitled by law to reside in the property for the lease period, renewable up to three years.

A different situation entirely arises where the tenant fails to pay the rent or defaults on other obligations established in the lease, whereby the landlord must initiate eviction proceedings with an additional claim for outstanding rent.

It is important to bear in mind that the tenant, once informed of the intention of the landlord to sell the property, has a right of first refusal to acquire the property on the same terms as offered, though this right may be expressly waived by the tenant if the terms of the lease so include it.

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56 Lawyers Offering Property Sale Services in Spain

Testimonials for our Property Sale service
  • Victoria Brooks
    Victoria Brooks, Bodrum

    Nihan, was extremely professional, very responsive and informative, she explained all processes step by step which were very easy to understand and follow, which gave me full confidence in her ability to find solutions for the sale of my property .


    Nihan, was very understanding and approachable and responded very quickly to my calls and emails concerning the difficulties I was having over the sale of my property.


    Her costs are were reasonable for the amount of work she completed for me, she explained her fees from the beginning of her service clearly and there was no hidden costs at the completion of the sale .She also removed all of the stress from the transaction .


    I was in a very difficult situation before I met Nihan and I doubt that I would have able to sell my property without her assistance . She was such a pleasure to meet and work with and I cannot thank her enough for her support .


    I would recommend Nihan to anyone who needs legal advice and I cannot thank her enough for her professionalism, she certainly knows her stuff!


    Jun 04, 2019
  • Dion Nash
    Dion Nash, Algarve

    Our lawyer Luis is bilingual, and was extremely helpful. We received very good service - Luis did everything needed to help me with my case.


    I would definitely recommend him to friends.


    Jun 05, 2018
  • Charles Wilson (Benidorm)
    Charles Wilson (Benidorm)

    Juan is simply the best. He has helped me so much. 100% recommend to any one thanks Juan!!!


    Apr 26, 2018
  • Yuka Mizota Lockey
    Yuka Mizota Lockey, Kent, Uk

    Olga responded promptly and efficiently. She was accommodating in terms of arranging meetings. She was really knowledgeable, diplomatic when dealing with our estate agents and was dedicated to our interests.


    All my family found Olga very approachable, professional and we were grateful to have someone who could explain and guide us through a process that is foreign to us.


    Jan 22, 2018
  • Graham & Josephine Flinders
    Graham & Josephine Flinders, UK

    Rosa is a excellent lawyer and a extremely nice person, very efficient and helped us though the sale of our apartment.


    It all went very smoothly and it was mostly down to Rosa who dealt with anything that came up in a very professional manner. Rosa explained all what was happening in English and always returned our calls with any answers to our questions.


    Her fees are very very reasonable and we felt we got real value for money, we cannot recommend Rosa enough.she is a throughy nice approachable person.We would not hesitate using Rosa again and have recommended her to other people in majorca.


    Oct 26, 2017
  • YS
    YS, Dubai

    Very Professional. Excellent attitude.


    Reasonable price. Good attention to details.


    Jun 16, 2017
  • JF
    JF, UK

    Emma was extremely knowledgeable, efficient and supportive throughout a complicated Spanish property sale, while I was based in the UK.


    A good price for a very professional service.


    Oct 30, 2015
  • RW
    RW, London

    Very professional, extremly helpful, approachable and very efficent in answering all questions.


    No improvement needed. Would highly recommend this service.


    Jul 16, 2015
  • Eric Blair Russell
    Eric Blair Russell, Canada

    My lawyer was efficient, professional and prompt – as well as being bilingual.


    I was very satisfied with his work and would be happy to use his service again in the future.


    May 25, 2015
  • Trevor Taylor
    Trevor Taylor, England

    I was put at my ease straight away, never hiring a Spanish lawyer before, I was cautious, but Francisco guided me through the process effortlessly.I thought my case would be tricky and I on my own would never have completed without him. He was a star.


    I have recommended him to some friends of mine who want to sell their business. As for value for money, he was spot on, and very approachable .Full marks from me.


    Aug 22, 2014
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