Selling a house in Spain : leasing with the option to buy and problems with tenants

Jos Deuling,  Thursday, 23 May 2013

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This article is part of a series of seven articles about selling a property in Spain. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:


Hand over the house keys after the official transfer of the property

If the estate agent has found a buyer for the house, then you should hand over the house keys after the signing of the definitive purchase agreement (Escritura) and after payment of the purchase price. It is very sympathetic to allow the buyers in the home before the sale, but you run a number of risks. The 'buyers' can suddenly claim all kind of rights because they've taken possession of the property. They can change the locks and even cause damage. Or they stop paying and refuse to leave the house. It is then up to you to get them out of the house and repair the damage.

Leasing with the option to buy

After the collapse of the Spanish housing market, it isn’t easy to sell your home. Perhaps the agent can find a buyer who wants to rent the property with an option to buy. This sounds attractive. But you run the risk that you will be dealing with people who do not want to buy the house and who, after a few months, stop paying the rent. In Spain, they have strict tenant laws so it will be difficult to get these people out of your home. You have to add clauses to the sale contract to make it as difficult as possible for these 'buyers'.

To rent your home with an option to buy is only safe if you let the contracts be drawn up by a lawyer. You should get a good legal protection against scammers. Add a clause to the contract that states that the tenants promise to leave if they don’t buy the house. Also include a clause forcing the tenants to pay a decent amount as down payment on the home. If they decide not to buy the property, then they will lose the down payment. But beware, a court may declare such a clause invalid.

If you lease your home with the option to buy, your property is of the market for a certain period. If the tenants decide not to buy, you have to put your home up for sale again.

If you run into problems with the tenants and they leave without paying the rent, then it’s usually not worthwhile to take legal action.


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Spanish property for sale. Appartements, villas and houses for sale on the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava and Costa Blanca. For sale by owner and by agent. 
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