A lease is one of the most common forms of property rental in the world. Whether we are looking for a flat, house or commercial space, as tenants, it is important to know our obligations and rights to ensure a fair and equitable relationship with the landlord.

In this article, we will explore the main responsibilities and rights that tenants have in residential leases.


1. Timely payment of rent


One of the main obligations of a tenant is to pay rent in a timely manner.

This involves recognising the importance of the lease as a legal contract and fulfilling the financial responsibility it implies.

By paying on time, it avoids disputes and promotes a relationship of trust with the landlord.


 2. Care and maintenance of the property


The tenant is responsible for maintaining the property in good condition during the lease period.

This involves making minor repairs, maintaining cleanliness, and preventing any damage that may arise due to negligence or misuse.

If major damage occurs, it is important to notify the landlord in a timely manner and to cooperate in resolving the problem.


3. Works


a) Prohibited works


According to article 23 of the Law on Urban Leases:

“The lessee may not, without the consent of the lessor, expressed in writing, carry out works that modify the configuration of the dwelling or of the accessories referred to in paragraph 2 of article 2. In no case may the lessee carry out works that cause a decrease in the stability or safety of the dwelling.”

Therefore, the lessee will need the express written consent of the lessor for works such as, for example, demolition of partition walls, joining rooms, changing the location of bathrooms, enlarging the kitchen, ….

In order for the landlord’s consent to be valid, the tenant’s request must be accompanied by as much information as possible (plans, technical project, materials to be used, etc.).

If these works are carried out without the lessor’s consent, the lessor may:

– Terminate the lease

– Request the return of the building to its original state at the lessee’s expense.

– Maintain the works carried out without having to pay any amount to the lessee in this respect.

– If these works have caused damage to the property, and it is not possible to return it to its original state, the lessee must compensate the lessor for the damage caused to the property.


b) Permitted works


The tenant may carry out the following works without the lessor’s consent

– Urgent work to maintain the property, the cost of which may be charged to the lessor.

– Minor repairs, the cost of which shall be borne by the tenant.

– Work that does not alter the configuration of the property or compromise its safety.

– Work to adapt the dwelling to disabled persons or persons over 70 years of age, both the tenant and persons who live in the dwelling with the tenant and who are family members, spouses or persons with a similar relationship. The cost of these works shall also be borne by the tenant.


c) Improvement works


Improvement works are works carried out by the landlord during the rental period that benefit the property. In this case, the tenant has the right to

– Request a reduction in the rent proportionally to the area of the property that cannot be used, if these works last for more than 20 days.

– Request termination of the lease

The landlord has the right to increase the rent after the completion of the improvement works, article 20 of the Urban Tenancy Act:

“The performance of improvement works by the landlord, after five years of the duration of the contract, or seven years if the landlord is a legal entity, entitles him, unless otherwise agreed, to increase the annual rent by the amount resulting from applying to the capital invested in the improvement, the legal interest rate at the time of the completion of the works, increased by three points, without exceeding the increase of twenty percent of the rent in force at that time.

In the calculation of the capital invested, public subsidies received for the execution of the works shall be deducted.


 4. Compliance with rules and regulations


Tenants are obliged to comply with the rules and regulations laid down by the landlord, the relevant public authorities and the community of owners. This can range from respecting quiet hours and good behaviour in common areas to complying with legal requirements such as obtaining the necessary permits to operate a business in a rented space.


 5. Privacy and non-interference


Tenants have the right to privacy in their rented space. The landlord may not enter the property without prior notice or without the consent of the tenant, except in cases of emergency.

In addition, the tenant has the right to enjoy the space without unreasonable interference, such as restriction of use due to unplanned repairs or unwarranted action by the landlord.


 6. Renewal of the lease


When the lease expires, the tenant has the right to renew the lease if he or she wishes.

This involves negotiating new terms and conditions and reaching a mutually beneficial agreement to both parties.

However, it is important to note that the landlord also has the right not to renew if there is good cause or if non-renewal is permitted because the statutory term has expired.


 7. Right of pre-emption


Article 25 of the Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos states that:

“In the event of the sale of the rented property, the tenant has the right of pre-emption, under the conditions set out in the following paragraphs.

This right gives the tenant the opportunity of acquiring the property preferring any other possible buyer and can be exercised in 2 ways, as developed in our article (https://www.quikprokuo.com/es/derecho-de-adquisicion-preferente-tanteo-y-retracto/) on the subject:

  1. By the right of pre-emption: It gives the “tante”, the holder of the right, the power to acquire the property before anyone else, by paying the price that the latter would accept. The “tante” pays for the right of first refusal at the same price and under the same conditions as the third party.
  2. The right of rescission is simply the right to recover what has been sold, i.e. the seller of the property has the right to recover it once it has been sold.

Once the landlord has sent the tenant reliable notice of his decision to sell, the price and the other conditions of the sale, the tenant has 30 calendar days from the day following receipt of the notice to respond.

If, after the notice has been served, the tenant does not sell the property within 180 calendar days from the date of the notice, the notice lapses.

The landlord is obliged to sell the property to the tenant once the offer of pre-emption has been accepted in due time.


 8. Return of the property


At the end of the rental period, the tenant must return the property in the condition in which he/she received it, with normal wear and tear resulting from careful use.

Upon return, possession of the property must be handed over to the landlord and the keys returned.

If the return of possession is not voluntary, the landlord will not be able to occupy the property and will have to take legal action to recover possession of the property.

It is advisable to sign a termination agreement that specifies the condition in which the property will be returned, whether there are any damages that need to be repaired, confirmation that the keys will be handed over at that time, and the deadline for the return of the deposit and the guarantees provided.

The tenant is obliged to remove the furniture and belongings from the property, and although he can give them up, this may involve a cost to the landlord if he has to remove them later, and the cost of this removal management may be deducted from the amount of the deposit.




In summary, the tenant’s duties and rights include compliance with the lease, care and maintenance of the property, respect for rules and regulations, privacy and non-interference, as well as the right of first refusal and renewal of the lease at the end of the initial term.

Being aware of these rights and obligations allows tenants to establish a relationship of trust and respect with their landlords, promoting a harmonious and satisfying environment for both parties.

With over two decades of experience in the sector, our firm has helped numerous clients to resolve problems arising from property leases.

We offer a personalised and professional service, ensuring that your rights as a landlord or tenant are protected at all times.

Do not hesitate to contact us and we will assist you with any issue relating to your lease.