What happens if landlady issues a denuncia for unpaid final rent??

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11 Jul 2012 15:23 by Finisterre Star rating. 26 posts Send private message

Hi all

We're about to move out of our rented property and I just don't trust our landlady to return our deposit in full.

She has threatened us with not returning it on various occasions; at one point she suggested that as she had painted the flat before we moved in, we ought to paint it again before moving out. It's an old building and the cabling is terrible; several of the electricity sockets have been hanging out of the wall since we arrived, which we've just lived with, but now she is claiming that 'we must have pulled them out of the walls'! She's not been a bad landlady (and we have been decent tenants, I think), but she is extremely overbearing and very, very demanding about money matters.

I am absolutely prepared to leave the flat perfectly clean, to fill all the holes we've left from hanging pictures, etc. But I am not prepared to have her deduct imaginary damage from our deposit and I truly believe she might. I would be happy to leave the rent with a neutral third party and have them judge the deposit issue, but I talked to an estate agent about this and he said it just wasn't done here.

Current landlady has (already!) threatened to issue a denuncia if we try to leave the final rent unpaid. She says she doesn't want to do this as it will 'prejudice' us, but will if she has to. My question is, what will be the consequences if she does this?

Thanks for any replies. I know many of you will be landlords yourselves and see this from the other side, but I promise you, I don't want to cheat her, I just don't want to be left unfairly out of pocket.





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11 Jul 2012 20:03 by guslopez Star rating in Lorca, Murcia.. 745 posts Send private message

Is she legal ? Does she declare the rental ?


Todos somos Lorca.

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11 Jul 2012 22:12 by Finisterre Star rating. 26 posts Send private message

Hi Gus

I don't know, but I think so; she's quite well-organised and manages the flat on behalf of her mother, so I doubt there would be a tax issue for her.

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12 Jul 2012 13:41 by Sanchez1 Star rating. 853 posts Send private message

You're right not to trust your landlady to return your deposit.  Most landlords don't return it.  That's why you should always use the deposit as your last month's rent.  That's what the Spanish do.  Call her bluff I reckon.

Do you pay the land lady in cash?  If so, I would say that is a pretty sure sign that she won't be declaring the income to the tax man. You might want to mention that you will be contacting Hacienda...


Read my blog: Spain Money Saving Tips and Offers 

Use TransferWise to send money abroad. A lot cheaper than the bank and other online currency exchanges!.



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12 Jul 2012 15:36 by maddiemack Star rating in Grantham, Lincolnshi.... 194 posts Send private message

The well-known phrase 'Me thinks the lady doth protest too much' is apt in this case! Since you have explained you will make the property 'good' before you leave it...and you have paid rent every month (proving you aren't trying to fleece anyone) there shouldn't be any protest at the fact that you want to use the deposit as your final month's rent.  You won't be leaving your landlady out of pocket.  The practice of using the deposit as the final month's rent was widely used in the UK until it became law that deposits must be held in a separate account.  This is not the case in Spain and Sanchez1 is quite right when he says this is what the Spanish do,  ie; hold back the final month's rent!


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12 Jul 2012 15:45 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message

The people renting my sons apartment used the deposit for the last month’s rent.
They never paid the last electric and water bills. We have re-decorated throughout, replaced the fitted kitchen, oven, hob, extractor fan, all the furniture etc. and are still working on it.
Not all careful tenants are all that careful.
Anyone want to buy (not for rent)  a refurbished apartment ?

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12 Jul 2012 17:44 by maddiemack Star rating in Grantham, Lincolnshi.... 194 posts Send private message

Yeh...that's a big problem in Spain, the fact that the utility bills are on the house (owner) rather than on the occupier.  I much prefer the way we do it in the UK where the utility bill is solely the responsibility of the registered occupier.  The Spanish way seems most unfair. 

It's very difficult if your rental property is in Spain, for example, and the owner has to trust an Agent (or the tennants, themselves) to look after a property and make sure it is kept in good order.  We keep in touch with our tennants and make regular visits to our properties in the UK, as any agent should, to a) make sure they are being looked after properly and b) to see if there's anything we can do for the tennants.  We, ourselves, have rented several times in the UK (short-term) when between properties and only ONCE have we had an inspection visit from an agent.  Yet the Contracts always read that Inspection visits would be carried out during our 6-month stays.

When we rented a property in Spain for several months, the deposit WAS kept in a separate account with the British Agent and NOT with the Spanish owner.  Because of this fact, we DID pay the last month's rent...left the apartment in a better condition that when we took it over (ie; cleaner with a few little jobs done) and, of course, we got our whole deposit back.  We were warned by several (British) agents not to pay the last month's rent if the deposit was to be left with a Spanish landlord/lady as we were very unlikely to get it back.  They were being matter-of-fact in saying this, not scathing, just letting us know how it is!

Unfortunately, there will always be bad tennants.....and bad landlords/landladies



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12 Jul 2012 18:18 by Finisterre Star rating. 26 posts Send private message

Thanks for the moral support, Sanchez and Maddie. It's very much appreciated as this situation is horribly stressful. I feel really bad about dissembling to her, but she is IMPOSSIBLE to discuss anything with - she just rants on and on even when I'm agreeing with her, repeating herself over and over again, and if I even hint at disagreeing I may as well put the telephone receiver down on the table and go and do something else for fifteen minutes. I have to laugh, or I think I'd cry. :-D  (Sanchez - we pay the rent (and electricity bill) into her bank account, which I did in cash at first but have done online for the last year or so.)

Johnzx - I will not leave her a penny out of pocket on bills, I assure you. I'm sorry that happened to you and your son, this really is the problem - both sides of the agreement have usually been stung themselves; I certainly have, and my LL also claims to have had tenants leave with money owing. But she has my mobile number and I will pay all outstanding bills, including the IBI (which I think is a bit unfair to make the tenant pay); we agreed to it so of course I'll do it. There's only the electricity anyway as water is included and there's no mains gas. Telephone etc is in my name.

JUST ONE QUESTION (sorry to shout!) - I was wondering if anyone knew what happens if she does carry out her threat to issue a denuncia. She says she doesn't want to do this as it will 'prejudice' us - is this true? Will it affect us in some way? We don't have or need any credit facilities in Spain but we will most likely want to take out a mortgage at some point.

Please, if anyone knows what the effects of a denuncia are, do let me know. Thank you!



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12 Jul 2012 21:51 by cbrammeld Star rating. 172 posts Send private message

 I would call her bluff. 

If the property is left in the same condition with no outstanding utility bills then you have nothing to fear. Before you leave take lots of photos(date stamped) , costs nothing with digital camera. Do you have proof the sockets were loose when you moved in? With out a full condition report the landlady has no proof of the condition of the property when you moved in. It would be assumed that you would not live with dangerous electrics though.

Be aware that filling in the picture hook holes is not enough, that is classed as damage and will also require the wall to be painted.

What could she issue the denucia for? Once you have left, she has the deposit that covers last month rent therefore you have paid her all rent money due. A letter stating you 'allow her to use your deposit money as rent' clears up any confusion. Once moved out if there is any damage offer to settle quickly. A lot of damage is done when moving furniture, we had 2 doors smashed by removal men.

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13 Jul 2012 10:45 by acer Star rating. 1415 posts Send private message

From what you say you are right to be concerned - but I think the advice from Sanchez and others is too aggressive.  If there is a dispute and she issues a denouncia the matter will be resolved on evidence.  So look through all the 'photos you've taken to establish the condition of the premises when you took possession.  Possibly have a word with others who may have visited the property, including the letting agent if there was one.

If you feel that she is too aggressive put something in writing to her.  Personally I would keep it friendly, just establishing the facts.

I've never rented in Spain but I own property in the UK and use the standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement which allows for "fair wear and tear" without penalty.  I invariably take photographs of the property before each new tenancy as evidence, but never yet found the need to withhold any amount whatsover.

When you come to leave I would again give her a written letter confirming that you are allowing her to keep the deposit in lieu of the rent, with a simple calculation of the figures and that you are leaving the premises in a similar condition as when the lease commenced.  And again take more 'photos.

Incidentally if she still threatens to issue a Denouncia I would offer to go to the police with her to speed the process.

Good luck

Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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13 Jul 2012 11:02 by GuyT Star rating. 497 posts Send private message

 The thing is, acer, that in the UK you have immediate recourse to law. The UK Tenancy Deposit Scheme is free and adjudicators will settle the matter one way or the other within weeks. Meanwhile your deposit is in escrow. Failing which you've got (from my experience) efficient County Courts.

A bird in the hand is woorth two in the bush. If Finisterre's intrincts tell him he is going to encounter problems, then I wouldn't pay the final month's rent. Much as I like Spain and the Spanish I find all their institutions and businesses completely untrustworthy.

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13 Jul 2012 11:16 by acer Star rating. 1415 posts Send private message

Hi GuyT,

Believe me I am well acquainted with the pathetic legal position in Spain. 

Yes I agree with the "bird in the hand" approach, but evidence is equally as important to prevent/combat any denouncia.  All photographs and confirmations from independent persons are vital.  And if this domineering landlady cannot produce any evidence to counter Finistere's claim can she will most certainly lose.


This message was last edited by acer on 13/07/2012.

Don't argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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