Author: Elvira Gracia de Miguel

The so-called “old rent leases” are those which are regulated by the repealed 1964 Urban Leases Law (in charge of regulating the leases of dwellings and premises). These leases, which must have been constituted before 1 January 1995, are those which enjoy the privilege of the “forced extension” (contemplated in article 57).  This, being obligatory for the lessor and optional for the lessee, consists of the indefinite extension of the lease if the tenant so wishes.

In view of the situation described above, Royal Decree-Law 2/1985, known as the “Boyer Decree”, was enacted. This new regulation puts an end to the figure of forced extension, but, nevertheless, the parties are free to continue to submit to it.

However, the rental contract, whether it is for housing or premises, can commonly be terminated for various reasons, which can be found in article 114 of the 1964 Urban Leases Act, and are as follows:

  • Non-payment of the rent or amounts due.
  • Subletting or keeping guests without express consent. It is also possible that, in possession of authorisation, higher rents than those legally permitted are received from the sub-lessor.
  • Subletting or transfer by the tenant.
  • Transfer of the dwelling or transfer of premises.
  • Transformation of the dwelling into premises and vice versa.
  • That the purchaser of the transfer does not stay for one year or dedicates it to another activity.
  • Damage caused maliciously, or the carrying out of unconsented works.
  • The carrying out of activities that are immoral, unhealthy, dangerous or uncomfortable.
  • The forced expropriation of the property.
  • The declaration of the property as a ruin.
  • Lack of requirements of the forced extension or compliance with the exceptions of article 62 of the law.
  • Extinction of the right of usufruct.

These causes are those legally established for the lessor to be able to terminate the contract. However, as stated in the previous enumeration, in Article 64, there are certain exceptions to the forced extension, which implies the landlord’s power to terminate the extension enjoyed by his tenant. These exceptions, which, as can be seen, exist by way of “protection” for the landlord, are the following:

  • Need of the dwelling or premises for himself, for his ascendants or descendants.

This is one of the most common causes for termination of the extension. This is why it is strictly regulated in the articles contained between 63 and 67 of the legislation that concerns us. An important point to highlight is that the alleged need must be justified and have been properly notified. In addition to this, it is necessary to take into account the possible response of the tenant (for which he/she will have thirty days), as he/she can refuse, or agree on a period of time to abandon the property (on which the compensation to be paid will depend). After the tenant has left, the landlord has six months to return to the property.

  • Demolition of the property and construction of another one that exceeds one third of the dwellings of the previous one.

If there are no dwellings on the property, the new property must have at least one. This reason for termination, which must be notified at least one year in advance, is also developed in articles 78 to 94 of the LAU of 1964. In relation to this, it is necessary to highlight that the works must begin no later than two months after the eviction.

  • Dwelling, or premises, unoccupied for a minimum period of six months in the course of a year.

This period does not have to be strictly consecutive. The problem in this case arises in the demonstration that the tenant has not actually occupied the property during this period. The only “way out” for this reason is the allegation of just cause.

  • Occupation by the tenant of two or more dwellings in the same town.

In the event that there is a plurality of landlords, this right will be held by the first to exercise the action. If there is only one landlord, it will be the tenant who will be responsible for deciding which dwelling or dwellings to evict (the legislation establishes thirty days for the tenant’s response). Obviously, if the tenant proves the need to occupy more than one dwelling, this right cannot be exercised.

  • The tenant, within the six months prior to the claim, has had at his disposal an unoccupied dwelling suitable to satisfy his needs.

Basically, what is “punished” in this point is that the tenant has, in addition to the rented dwelling, another similar dwelling perfectly suitable for the fulfilment of his needs.

As can be seen, thanks to this article 62, the landlord will no longer be obliged to extend the lease by force.

Please contact us for any questions you may have regarding old tenancy agreements.