For part 1 in this series visit Renting Your Property - Part 1
For part 2 in the series visit Renting Your Property - Part 2
Expenses. Who pays them?
General expenses derived from regular use of the house (community of owners’ fees, pool, elevators and garages, watchfulness services, etc.) needs to be paid by the landlord unless the parties agree on the contrary in the rental contract.
Expenses coming from individual services (water, gas, telephone, electricity…) need to be paid by the tenant unless the parties agree on the contrary. These expenses are also called “rent assimilated amounts”.
Works in the house
Two different kinds of works need to be differentiated: necessary or maintenance and improvements.
A. Maintenance works
The landlord needs to make all those repairs needed to maintain the house in habitable conditions unless the deterioration has been caused by the tenant, or the house has been destroyed by force majeure not chargeable to the tenant (fire, inundation, earthquake, etc.) and that causes the extinction of the contract. The landlord cannot increase the rents in these cases.
Little reparations due to wear and tear caused by the ordinary use of the house must be paid by the tenant.
If there are some needed repair works to be done in the house and they cannot postponed until the letting period finishes, the tenant will have to tolerate them; if the works last more than 20 days, the tenant will have a right to the decrease of the rent proportionally to the part of the house which is not habitable/usable due to the work.
If there are works which are urgently needed in order to avoid serious and immediate damages, these can be carried out by the tenant, provided that is fully communicated to the landlord. The tenant will have a right for the reimbursement of the amount paid for these urgent works.
If the maintenance works have been ordered by the competent Authority and they make the house inhabitable, the tenant can suspend or cancel the contract with no compensation.
The contract suspension means that both the renting period and the rent obligation are stopped until the end of the works.
B. Improvement works.
Improvement works relate to hygiene, healthiness and comfort of the house and of the people who live in it.
If these improvement works cannot be postponed until the end of the renting period, the tenant will have to tolerate them as the maintenance works. If they last for more than 20 days, the tenant will have a right for the reduction of the rent in a proportion equal to the part of the house which is not habitable due to the works.
In these cases, the owner needs to notify the content, starting date, duration and costs of the works to the tenant 3 months before the start of them.
Once notified, the tenant can cancel the contract in one month’s time, unless the works scarcely affect the house. If the tenant wants to cancel, the cancellation will take place within the next two months. Works cannot be started until these two months pass.
If the tenant wants to bear the works, he will be entitled to a reduction of the rent in an amount proportionate to the part of the house which becomes inhabitable due to the works, and is also entitled to a compensation due to the expenses derived as a consequence of the works.
The tenant cannot operate without the landlord’s consent (expressed in written), those works which modify the configuration of the house and its accessories, or which produce less stability or safety in the house.
In both cases, the landlord can ask the tenant to put the house back to its original state.
Finally, the handicapped tenant can make all the necessary works to fit the house to his/her special needs or those of the spouse or relatives living with him/her. After the rent period, if that is required by the landlord, they need to replace the house to its original state.
If the landlord makes improvement works in the house (once the 5 years of contract validity passes) he will be entitled to the increase of the rent unless parties agree on the contrary. The increase cannot be higher to the 20% of the rent. Written by