One of the major impediments to a healthy rental market has been the length of time it has taken to remove tenants who have failed to pay the rent agreed under the lease. As a consequence a number of laws have been enacted to improve he efficiency of the eviction process, specifically:
- Law 19/2009 to Stimulate the Rental Market
- Law 37/2011 Measures to Expedite Legal Processes
- Law 4/2013 (Measures to Increase Flexibility and Develop the Rental Market).
The objective of the laws is as follows:
Shortening of Waiting Period for Eviction Proceedings
The two month period between the presentation of the demand for payment to the tenant and the initiation of court proceedings which the landlord previously had to wait was shortened to one month by Law 19/2009. As a result of Law 37/2011 the landlord may proceed immediately upon a failure to pay any rent due. However, as stated above, it is recommended that the landlord speak with the tenant and, if necessary, send a formal notice to quit if payment is not received by the stated date. Should the tenant pay the outstanding amounts in this period then the proceedings can be avoided.
Effective Delivery of the Demand for Payment
Where the landlord notifies the tenant of the demand for payment but the latter does not receive the notification, the landlord may have the demand added to the Official Court Notice such that the tenant is deemed to have received notice without any further action by the landlord.
All eviction procedures can be processed via juicio verbal which is a faster process and is akin to a small claims court in the UK. The fact that the proceedings take place in this way permits a sentence to be delivered within five days.
Faster Execution of the Eviction Order
An affirmative sentence of the court shall be sufficient without more to carry out the order in the date and time decided by the court.
The new measures permit the landlord and tenant to agree to cancel some or all of the debt in exchange for the tenant leaving the property in a time-frame set by the landlord (though it may not be less than 15 days).
Extension of Rules Avoiding Automatic Extension of the Lease for Five Years
The reasons for which a landlord may terminate the lease for reasons of requiring the property for personal use are extended by the new law to include a need by the landlord’s parents, children or spouse in cases of divorce. A clause to this effect must appear in the contract.
If, after three months, the occupation has not transpired, the landlord must return the use of the property to the tenant and pay indemnification for the costs of moving to another property.