Here are some practical tips for moving out of your apartment in Spain, from terminating your lease to forwarding your post.
Whether it’s time to return home or you’re simply relocating to a new property in Spain, there are some things you’ll need to do before moving out of your Spanish apartment to ensure you get your deposit back from the landlord.
New rental contracts generally allow you to live in a property for five years and are renewable annually by mutual consent. This can be unspoken, and the lease will be automatically renewed unless you give your landlord 30 days’ notice before the end of the year.
Therefore, if you are leaving you must give your landlord formal notice in writing first. If you have a fixed term contract you may not be able to leave before the end of your term without having to pay the outstanding rent.
Inform the authorities
You will need to advise the local authorities at the town hall of your leaving date.
You should also inform the tax authorities of your intentions, and if you are lucky you may even be entitled to a tax refund.
It’s important to give formal notice and terminate any contracts with utility providers, television, internet and phone companies. Do this in advance, as some providers will require several weeks’ notice.
You should also cancel any insurance contracts that will no longer be required, and you may be entitled to a refund for any outstanding periods.
You can also get an accident record showing whether you were responsible for any incidents. If you have had a clean record of claims, this can help you get a cheaper deal when taking out a new policy.
Fix any damage
Repair any damage or make good any loss to avoid deductions from your security deposit. Allowances should be made for normal wear and tear, existing faults or things beyond your control as a tenant (force majeure).
If you don’t have an inventory you may lose out in the event of a dispute over the condition of the property. If no inventory exists then the tenant is presumed to have received the property in good condition and the landlord could receive the benefit of the doubt.
However, if you have evidence of the property’s poor condition, such as photographs you took when you moved in, this will be taken into consideration.
Check the inventory and clean the property
Hopefully you will have conducted an inventory (inventario) with the landlord when you first moved in to the property, so you should check everything still matches up ahead of moving out.
When you are leaving rented accommodation you are must pay to have the property professionally cleaned, unless you can do a thorough enough job yourself.
Show tenants around
Your landlord may ask you to show prospective tenants around the property.
While this might sound like a burden, it is usually better to agree to reasonable requests to ensure you maintain the relationship with your landlord, which in turn can help to smooth the path towards getting your deposit back.
Keep your bank account open
If you’re leaving Spain, keeping your bank account open will allow you your landlord to forward your deposit (fianza) (less any deductions for damages).
Keeping your account open will enable any subsequent transactions to be processed, such as refunds from utility providers or tax authorities. Remember though to cancel any standing orders or direct debits.
Redirect your Post
It can be useful to have your mail forwarded (reexpedir) to your new address when you move out of your Spanish apartment.
You can do this by paying a visit to your local post office and advising them of both your old and new addresses.
Get your deposit returned
Your deposit will usually be one or two month’s rent and should be held by an independent agency – sometimes the housing department of the local government (Consejeria de la Vivienda). The deposit will not be released unless both parties agree on the sum.
Usefully, if there is an unreasonable delay in the landlord returning the deposit then the legal rate of interest can be applied as a penalty.
Return the keys
Don’t forget to give these back, either directly to the landlord or to the bailiff. You’re done!
You can get more advice on finding and renting a property in our full guide to renting in Spain.