Some of the illegal mechanisms that landlords use to reduce the duration of the rental contract
The latest reform of the Urban Leasing Law, promoted in 2019 brought several important changes in the duration of lease contracts with the aim of protecting tenants: the duration was set at 5 years, if the owner is private, and 7 years if the lessor is a company.
Require tenants to pay their rents in advance for annuities, semesters or quarters
Through this modus operandi, it is agreed during the first years of the lease that the payment of the rent is made in advance on a monthly basis and from a certain annuity it becomes in advance, but on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis, with the aim of make the payment of rent more burdensome and that tenants choose to shorten the duration of the contracts. This practice would be illegal and tenants would not be required to pay rent in advance, unless it is on a monthly basis. Article 17 of the LAU prohibits it, when it says that in no case may the landlord require the tenant to pay in advance more than one month's rent.
Sign contracts for a duration of less than one year, false seasonal contracts or tourist contracts.
There is an unfounded belief that a lease when it has a duration of less than one year becomes a seasonal lease, this type of lease, in practice, there is no right to extension of tenants. It is not the duration of the contract that defines a lease as seasonal or tourist, it is the purpose for which the tenant rents the home and this purpose must be based on a specific reason: vacations, work, studies, works, etc. In addition, it is essential that the contracts indicate the cause of the temporality and that the tenant maintains his habitual residence in another place outside the house that is rented.
Increase the surface of the houses
The applicable regulation establishes in its fourth article that it contemplates the possibility that the dwellings that have more than 300 m2, or whose rent is higher than 5.5 times the minimum interprofessional salary, be considered sumptuary, and therefore exempt from extensions to which tenants are entitled to. Therefore, a formula used is to expand the constructed area of the homes to reach these values. This method is used in the case of chalets or attics when garages or terraces are set up as housing.
It is legal practice as long as the size and income criteria required by law are met. It would be illegal if the house that is rented does not reach the surface or rent quotas required by law, so in some cases when in doubt, it will be necessary to measure the rented houses. It would also be an essential requirement to verify that this further conditioning was habitable.
Fix disproportionate rent reviews in leases
It is usual to see contracts where the initial rent is established and for the following years of extension of the contracts, disproportionate increases in rent are established, already at the beginning, well above the annual CPI, which is the maximum rate of increase due to rent update that establishes LAU This is clearly a fraudulent and illegal practice.
Similarly, in other contracts the same path is reached by other means. This occurs in homes that have garages or storage rooms, applying an extra rise to these annexes, when they are given free for a period of time and when it is interesting to recover the homes, a price is set for them, in order to make the cost more burdensome rent and the tenants are not interested in staying in the dwellings.
Alleging a false cause of necessity to recover the homes
Article 9.3 of the LAU allows a private owner that, once the first year has elapsed, the mandatory extension does not apply, if the contract expressly states the need for the landlord to occupy the rented home before five years , to allocate it for himself or his relatives in the first degree of consanguinity, or for adoption or for his spouse in the cases of a final sentence of separation, divorce or marriage annulment. Some landlords invent false causes of necessity to recover the houses, violating the right to extension that the law grants to tenants. In the event that the cause is not true or cannot be proven, the tenant could continue to stay in the house until the end of their contract. The situation may arise that the tenant has left for this reason and later realizes the falsehood alleged by his landlord to recover the home. In this case, the law obliges the owner, at the tenant's choice, to return to the rented home for a new period of up to five years, in addition to compensation for the expenses that the eviction of the home would have caused him to date. fromreoccupation. Another option that the tenant would have if they were not interested in returning to the house is to be compensated for an amount equivalent to one month's rent for each year of the contract that remains to be fulfilled until completing five years.
It should be noted that the owner who alleges such a cause of necessity, which must appear reflected in the contract, has a period of three months from the termination of the lease or the effective eviction, to occupy the home.