We may be tenants of a flat or a house where the owner suddenly decides to sell the dwelling. Or on the other hand, we may be the owner who wants to sell it. Being so, which are the rights and obligations of both parts?, did we reflect in the contract that this could happen and which guidelines should we follow  in that case?

Landlords and tenants in Spain have a contractual relationship in which certain rights and obligations are estipulated. It is necessary for both parts to fully understand these in order to avoid possible surprises in the future.

But, could the landlord sell the flat / house?

When we establish a rental agreement, both parts may freely establish its duration, wich according to legal matter is of three years, though it is true that during that period, the owner might decide that he wants to sell the property.

Thus, the next question would be, what then?, what rights does the tenant have?, could the owner move him out?

Under the current legislation, the contracts are to be met as stipulated by both parties. According to Article 9 of Law 4/2013 there is freedom to agree on the duration of the contract, but if it is less than three years, the maturity date thereof, will be a mandatory extension in annual installments until the minimum duration of 3 years (unless the tenant delivers his desire not to renew 30 days prior to the expiration of the contract).

Therefore, until they reach the legal duration of three years, the owner of the flat / house can not ask the tenant to leave due to property sales. However, the situation would be different if the owner needed permanent housing for himself/herself or his/her family. In this case, no extensions can be made, though it is mandatory for the landlord to inform the tenant within two months before moving in.

Though, the tenant has further options in the case the owner decided to sell his property. The new Law on Urban leases includes the possibility that the tenant waives the right of being the first to refuse the purchase, but this must be explicitly stated in the contract. Otherwise, the tenant would have the right to be the first one to decide whether to buy the house, or not.

This means that when the tenant is informed that there is an offer,  he/she  has a period of 30 days to purchase the property and if the owner has not reported the sale, the tenant will have 30 days to keep the house from the moment of receiving the deed submitted by the notary. If the contract states that the tenant renounces to these rights, the landlord will have complete freedom to sell the property. The only remaining responsibility for the landlord, ni this case, is to inform the tenant at least 30 days prior to the formalization of the sales contract.

All this can be avoided if the contract is registered in the Registry of Property unless the lease was also registered in the Land Registry before the contract of sale. In this case the rent remains in force and the buyer of the property passes to acquire the rights and obligations of the old landlord and the property owner.

An issue that may seem very complicated due to lack of information or could cause problems for both sides for not writing a good contract. Therefore, professionals as the ones found in Daemi Zabalza & Associates can help you avoiding such situations, advising and helping on creating a contractual relationship whithin these characteristics.