How to rent a flat in Spain, step by step

The food, the climate, the people, the culture – Spain has it all! Not surprising then that it’s a hugely popular destination for expats from across the globe. If you’re one of those people planning to move in the near future, one of the first things on your to-do list should be finding a great place to live. From where to look, what documents to collect and how to avoid scamsflat hunting in any new country can be a bit of a minefield. Read on and you’ll find everything you need to know to make sure your flat-hunting experience in Spain is plain-sailing from start to finish!

1 Find your place

First up on your to-do list is the search. If you’re planning to fly solo and move to one of the big cities, you should consider a flatshare. Not only is it a great way to save money on rent, you’ll also meet people straight from the get go. Another big plus is you’ll probably skip tiresome administrative tasks such as organising the Wifi and other bills.

One great place to start searching is – there are thousands of great rooms available all across Spain, and you will be paired with the people you best match your personality and lifestyle preferences.  It’s always good to know one person when moving to a totally new country, and your new flatmate could be that person!

Check out these top rooms currently available in Barcelona. 

Moving in to a new flat

2 Gather your documents

While your search for the perfect place and flatmate is in full swing, now is a good time to make sure you have all the documents you need. If you like a place, the chances are other people will too. You need to move quickly, especially if you’re planning to move to Madrid or Barcelona. It’s good to have everything ready beforehand to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Typically speaking, you’ll need the following documents to rent a flat in Spain:

  • Evidence of your ability to pay the rent: this could be your employment contract plus payslips from the last three months, or your latest tax return if you’re self-employed. Alternatively, If you don’t have a job when arriving, you can provide evidence of savings.
  • NIE number (optional): This isn’t mandatory, but you’ll need to get it eventually if you plan on staying in Spain for longer than 3 months. Read more on how to get your NIE.
  • Passport or ID: Just to show you’re really you!
  • Personal references (depending on the landlord): Most landlords don’t request this, but be prepared just in case.

3 Book your room

Now you’ve found the perfect place to live and you’ve gathered your documents – you’re ready to commit! As I mentioned earlier, the best rooms and flats fly off the shelf. To make sure you don’t miss out on the room or flat you really want, and to make sure you steer clear of any potential scammers, I’d recommend booking your place directly through Badi – read all about how booking on Badi works. 

4 Sign the contract

All landlords should draw up a rental contract for you to read and sign. If they don’t, you should insist they do in case there are any disputes in the future and to better protect yourself. 

Your rental contract is required by law to be in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish yet, you should ask a friend to help you, or, pay a lawyer to translate the contract into English. It’s important you’re able to review the contract carefully.

Contracts can be long-term – up to 5 years, or short-term – up to 1 year. If you can, try to negotiate a long-term contract. You’ll be better protected against unfair yearly increases in the monthly rent and against being kicked out at short notice. It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan to live in the flat for 5 years – you’ll be able to leave at any time provided you give 30 days’ notice.

It is important to sign a contract before you rent a flat or a room

5 Check the inventory

Take photos of the flat or room before you move in and review the inventory carefully. Make sure any damage is clearly stated in the inventory. This will help protect you against over-eager landlords trying to make unfair deductions from your deposit at the end of your tenancy.

Finding a place to rent can be stressful at the best of times. Throw a foreign language and country into the mix and it’s even more so! Hopefully this article will help you find your ideal place to live in Spain while avoiding all the common pitfalls.  Go to now and start searching! Good luck!