The lack of official data and statistics on rental housing in Spain makes it difficult for a tenant to know if their landlord owns more or less than ten homes owned for rental purposes.
Knowing for sure if a landlord has ten apartments on property dedicated to rent is not possible. The most approximate way for a tenant to find out is to go to the property registry, where they count how many homes a person owns, but it does not detail if they are dedicated to rent or if any of them is their habitual residence. Or part of them are empty, a possibility that can also occur among many owners of various houses within the Spanish residential market. “Unless the rental contract is registered in the housing registry, which can sometimes happen, it is not possible to know if that residence is rented or not,” says Alejandro Fuentes-Lojo, Fuentes Lojos lawyer.
The interest in knowing the number of homes owned by a landlord becomes especially relevant as a result of one of the latest measures approved this week by the Government to alleviate the impact of the current Covid-19 crisis on tenants who are experiencing economic difficulties. The key point is that it establishes a clear distinction between small landowners (less than 10 houses), who are not obliged to face the moratorium on rent payment if the tenant requests it, and those considered as large holders (with more than 10 properties), whose tenants can ask for a four-month deferment if they are in a vulnerable situation. In this second case, if the parties do not reach an agreement to delay payment, the lessor must choose between a debt restructuring for three years or a 50% reduction of that amount for four months.
Therefore, the barrier of the ten floors that a landlord can have established in these measures is essential for a person who lives on rent and wants to request, at this time, a deferment of the rent if he is experiencing economic difficulties.
However, the reality is that knowing exact figures and statistics within the rental market is still very complicated today. There are no official data on how many homes are rented in Spain, something that could be solved with the creation of a census of houses for rent, one of the claims that companies dedicated to this business have been requesting for years as Secure Rental. “It is something fundamental that would help to know this market in depth, detect its needs, drive improvement lines and a greater offer,” they explain from the firm. They remember that another obstacle to find out which properties are dedicated to rent is that the rent is sometimes not declared to the Treasury, that is, the money received by the landlord ends up swelling the underground economy of the country.
Only win a part
Alejandro Fuentes-Lojo reflects on this measure and considers that it only benefits one of the parties. “It is perfect for people who live for rent and are going through a difficult time due to the current Covid-19 crisis. But, for wanting helping some, harms others, “he clarifies. The lawyer sees in this measure a “clear damage to the homeowners”. In order for it to be a fair action for both parties, he believes, the State should respond with compensation for the money exonerated to the homeowners. And it warns that “with its start-up, it is expected that the offices will receive a barrage of property claims against the State by the lessors, requesting their right to compensation.”