The vast majority of lettings in Spain work well. The tenant pays on time and the landlord is earning money on his investment. However, on occasions, problems do develop and tenants in Spain can default on their rent or even damage property. Previously, there was limited power to the landlord when these difficulties occurred. Now, the tables are turning and Spanish property owners should feel confident that their interests will be taken care of by the courts.
At Ábaco we are seeing first hand the different approach that the courts are taking to troublesome tenants. Our legal department are increasingly representing landlords in Spain who have had bad experiences and finding that the courts are sympathetic to the issues they face. Here, we provide an example of a recent case study to illustrate current legal practice.
Mr. A owns a property in Spain which he had been successfully letting out. However, with a new tenant, problems were emerging. Without warning, or any explanation, the tenant stopped paying the rent. Mr A, who required the money to pay his own rent, came to Ábaco for advice.
We explained that it was possible to challenge his wayward tenant through the courts in Spain. Mr. A decided to go ahead. It took less than a month for his case to be heard and the decision was made by the judge that the tenant had ten days in which to pay what he owed or leave the property. If neither happened, then eviction would follow.
True to form, the tenant did not show. Attempts were made to inform him of the court’s decision through a registered letter and postings on the court’s bulletin board. However, there was no one in the property to receive the letter and no sight of the tenant during the ten days notification period.
This did not slow down proceedings. Once the ten days had passed, the process of eviction could go forward, even though there had been no contact with the tenant. It was sufficient that attempts had been made to inform the AWOL tenant of the court’s decision. The court proved good to its word and a second court ruling enabled the eviction to go ahead.
When the eviction day arrived, it came as no surprise that the tenant was nowhere to be seen. The door remained closed and as new locks had been fitted by the tenant, there was no option other than to bring in a locksmith to open the door. On Mr A’s behalf, an Ábaco lawyer took possession of the new keys and we were able to return his property to him.
This case was particularly speedy because the tenant did not respond. Had the tenant engaged with the court the process would have taken longer. As it was, Mr. A was relieved to have his property returned to him in a relatively short period of time, just three months in total. His next tenant would be very carefully vetted before taking hold of the keys.