PROTECTION FOR TENANTS IN BARCELONA
Living in Barcelona is an amazing experience. There aren’t many places in the world where you can enjoy the same variety of culture, food, music and people. Over the last few years it has become increasingly popular, leading to an incredibly high demand for rental properties. For the most part, people are able to rent an apartment in Barcelona without too much hassle. They pay the owner the required deposit and monthly rental amounts on time and everybody is happy. When the contract ends, both parties meet in the property to go over any damages and agree upon the return of the deposit.
However, it does sometimes happen that arguments arise over who is responsible for a specific expense, such as a broken boiler for example. Sometimes people rent a property from someone and when the time comes to get back their deposit, the landlord has some excuse for not giving them back their money. Or there is a dispute about the agreement and its terms which cannot be resolved. The biggest problem is that usually the amounts involved are very small (a few hundred Euros), and the person who is acting unscrupulously knows that the tenant won´t bother hiring a lawyer, as that would cost more than the disputed amount.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
It’s always wise to ensure that when signing a rental contract, you make use of the services of someone who knows what a contract should look like and who can ensure that the contract is written in such a way that you as tenant are protected. 9 out of 10 times, the rental contract will only be in Spanish, so unless you speak fluent Spanish, you might be signing something that can cause a lot of disappointment and money later on.
Hopefully it will never happen to you. But just like having an insurance policy, you hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Fortunately, there is a government consortium called Consorci de l´Habitatge de Barcelona, which looks after the interests of tenants and helps mediate whenever a dispute does arise. They assist with all types of matters related to accommodation in Barcelona, ranging from aid in installations of elevators, rehabilitation of buildings, special loans for those who have been evicted, problems with neighbors but most importantly: mediation between owner and tenant.
They have many offices across the city and you need to make an appointment on the website in order to arrange a visit with them. They are open every day from 08:30 to 14:30, except for Thursdays when they stay open until 20:00. You can find a full list of all their offices and a button to make an appointment right here
Note: their offices will be closed from 1-31 August, except for the offices in Ciutat Vella, Sants-Montjuic, Nou Barris and Sant Marti.