The Spanish renting system: Who pays for repairs in Spain?

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Boilers and water heaters breaking down in rental houses and apartments are the most common breakages that tenants and owners alike would rather not deal with. The repairs can be a headache, especially during the winter months. So, do you know who is responsible for paying for the repair?

It is clear that boilers and heaters are essential elements to ensure the house is habitable. But sometimes, when renting, a lot of tenants aren’t sure who is supposed to be paying for repairs.

Taking a look at Spanish laws, article 21 on Urban Leases establishes the owner has to make all the necessary repairs to keep the house in habitable conditions. The exception is when the deterioration is caused by the tenant, who will also take care of any small repairs occasioned from the wear and tear of living in the house.

The issue arises when a breakdown occurs and no one wants to take responsibility. The first step will be to figure out what caused the boiler to break. The damage might be caused by misuse on the tenant’s part or the boiler could be old and in need of a replacement. To determine the cause a technician will be crucial. After inspecting the boiler, a technician will issue a report stating the cause and a repair budget. On some occasions, a repair won’t be possible and the technician will accredit that a replacement is necessary.

Once the report is complete, it will be easier to determine who needs to pay up. It will fall on the property owner when there is a defect that was caused during installation or due to the age of the appliance. The tenant will be held responsible when the defect is due to misuse of the device, caused willingly or unintentionally.

In the event of any breakdown in rental accommodation, the property owner should call the technician. If a landlord ignores their renter, the tenant may call the technician themselves.

It is important to bear in mind that, if a tenant detects a breakdown and doesn’t promptly notify the landlord, they will be held responsible for the incident. Another thing to keep in mind is that if a written repair notice is ignored by the landlord, the tenant can get the repairs done and then claim the money it cost them.

Camila O'Reilly

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