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Old 30th May 2010, 05:52 PM   #1
Jared
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Default Requirements for Renting in Spain

Hi, my wife and I are excited to be finally living out our dream of moving to Spain. I have a job lined up in Madrid and we're hoping to arrive in about a month (pending the timing of my work visa). In advance of the move, we're going to be in Madrid from June 2 -15 with the hope of finding an apartment to move into on July 1st (I've found a number of potential places on www.idealista.com). However, it seems like renting an apartment is a more complicated process in Spain than it is in the states. I've done some internet research, but still have a number of questions.


1. What documents are required to rent an apartment (visa, NIE, etc.)? Does this vary by landlord or is it pretty standard across the board?

2. I frequently hear that hiring a "gestor" is expensive but worth it. As a non-EU expat, is it possible to rent without a gestor? Note: I have a couple of Madrileno friends that have offered to help bridge the language gap, as I'm a low-intermediate level speaker.

3. How much is an average gestor fee? (I'm sure they vary, so a rough, rough estimate is fine).

4. Is there a reliable website I can use to find a gestor (assuming I need one)?

5. I have proof of funds in a U.S. bank account that would be sufficient to cover an "aval" assuming it is required. Do I need to have a local bank account when I enter into the rental contract or would a USD account suffice?

6. Assuming I have all of the necessary documents, how long does the process of renting an apartment in Madrid generally take? Ideally, I'd like to be in by July 1st. Is this realistic?

7. Last (and probably best suited for another thread), we've been looking for a place primarily in Retiro and Salamanca, in addition to a few places near Plaza Mayor. Any other suggestions for similar barrios to live in? Note: I'll be working near Santiago Bernabeau and would like to find a nice neighborhood that isn't a terrible commute via metro.


I know I've posted a lot of questions, so many thanks in advance for your help.

~Jared
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Old 30th May 2010, 08:37 PM   #2
kenpeace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared View Post
7. Last (and probably best suited for another thread), we've been looking for a place primarily in Retiro and Salamanca, in addition to a few places near Plaza Mayor. Any other suggestions for similar barrios to live in? Note: I'll be working near Santiago Bernabeau and would like to find a nice neighborhood that isn't a terrible commute via metro.

I have answered in this thread anyway.....

When I stay in Madrid I normally stay around the Castellana/Santiago Bernabeu area as it's an excellent neighbourhood with all the facilities that you would wish but none of the hassle of the middle of town. There are many bars, restaurant, services and shopping and if you need the centre it's only a short hop down line 10.

Plus you could walk to work and avoid those rush hour metro trains that are just a bit too packed for my reserved English tastes.

Enjoy your time in Madrid.
Ken
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Old 30th May 2010, 08:47 PM   #3
Pippa
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I agree with Ken, very good area, look for Orense o Santiago Bernabeu areas.
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Old 30th May 2010, 08:52 PM   #4
Jared
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Thanks for the post. I haven't spent much time near Santiago Bernabeu (except to interview for my job). I'll definitely check it out.
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Old 31st May 2010, 09:45 AM   #5
greytop
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Jared - some links that might help with the "rules" on renting

Expatica

InSpain

If you're in Madrid I'm sure any of the local estate agents will fill you in on the details
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Old 1st June 2010, 06:58 PM   #6
Jared
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Thanks, greytop. Those sites were helpful regarding renters' rights, contract duration, etc. Although, I'm still not sure about whether I need to have a valid visa and/or NIE number in order to rent an apartment.

I assume that one can rent without these documents (at least with some landlords), as there are countless undocumented non-EU citizens are living and working in Spain... but we'll see.

I leave for Madrid tomorrow, so I'll post about my experience when I return. Hopefully that will be of help to anyone who might be searching this forum in the future.
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Old 1st June 2010, 08:35 PM   #7
greytop
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Good luck with the trip. To be a little cynical, they're probably more worried about getting the money than anything. So you may need a bigger deposit as a guiri.
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Old 10th June 2010, 12:32 PM   #8
Montse123
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Default Some help

Hi Jared

Enalquiler it´s also a good site of flats for rent.

Can you speek any Spanish? That´s an article about what can you be asked when you rent a flat but bassicaly if you have a permanet job and money for pay 2 months as a deposit you won´t have any problem.

In Spain the agency fee is usually one month and if you manage to rent straight with the owner you will pay around 120€ fee for the contract expenses.

Hope this will help

Regard
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Old 11th June 2010, 11:34 PM   #9
kellycrystal
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Default share your experience

Hi Jared - I have very similar questions, so please do report back about your experience. I plan on moving to Madrid with my husband on July 1, stay in a temporary apartment, and hopefully be in "our" apartment within a week. Do you think this is feasible? Was showing your US bank account sufficient? Did you go through an agency or rent from an owner?

Excessive details will be appreciated! And maybe we can meet up in Madrid sometime in July!

Kind regards, Kelly
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Old 27th July 2010, 04:01 PM   #10
kellycrystal
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Default Renting an Apartment Experience

Hello, I have rented an apartment in Madrid just recently and wanted to share a bit of my experience:

Best web sites I found: www.idealista.com and www.enalquiler.com

Particular (owner) vs. Agency: I was worried about having to rent through and agency because I knew I would have to pay a month's finders fee. With mediocre Spanish, I had no problem looking at "particular" owned apartments and signing a contract. With no Spanish speaking skills, I would go through an agency.

Documentation: I just used my passport. We did show pay slips to prove we had enough money. We signed a one year contract and gave equivalent of 1 month deposit and the first month up front. 1 month deposit seemed good for most people, though some wanted 2 or 3.

Email vs. Phone Calls: I found people were more more responsive to phone calls. I tried emails first though and got a decent response. I prefer email since my Spanish is crap on the phone.

Air Conditioning: most apartments in our price range didn't offer air conditioning, but we found a few who did. People would tell us we didn't need it (don't believe them unless you grew up without it). I am sure glad we have it now.

Good luck, Kelly
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Old 28th August 2010, 01:31 PM   #11
Jared
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Default Update to Rental Questions

So, I am finally in my apartment and can update the thread a bit. My experience was nearly identical to Kelly's. My Spanish is not very good, but after doing enough research on www.idealista.com, I had a decent grasp of the important vocabulary related to pisos.

--I initially tried sending emails to set up appointments, but as Kelly said, most people don't respond to emails. You have to call. I was worried that with my poor Spanish skills, I might scare off some landlords, but that wasn't the case. I was able to set up several on-site visits and found the agents / landlords to be generally comfortable with renting to a foreigner.

--As far as requirements go, I had to show the landlord my employment contract and passport. I also provided my NIE number, but I don't think that was necessary. Spanish rental laws are very renter-friendly, and it can take a long time for the landlord to kick you out... so their primary concern is that you have the means to pay.

--Given the renter-friendly rental law, many landlords require an "aval" - an upfront payment of anywhere between 3 and 12 months of rent. The money sits in an escrow account at the bank and you don't earn any interest on it. In some cases, landlords are willing to give in on the aval. They just want to meet you first and know that you have an employment contract in place. At least, that was my experience.

--It's best to avoid an agency if you can, as they will charge you one month's rent, but I was told that approximately 85% of the rentals in Madrid are posted through agencies, so it may be unavoidable.

--Comunidad fees are normally included in the price of the rent, but this is something you should definitely confirm and double confirm so there are no surprises.

--The quoted rental price is not necessarily the final price. The rental market in Madrid is very weak right now, so you can probably knock off €50 - €100 per month. But this will vary by landlord or agency. In my experience, for all of the places I looked at that were slightly out of my price range (or seemed more expensive than other apts in the area), I asked if they might be willing to lower the price. In every case, they offered to lower the rent by at least €50. This works better for places that have been on the market for a couple of months, so it's worthwhile to start monitoring the rental websites a few months before you're planning to make the move.

--While www.idealista.com and www.enalquiler.com are great websites, it's a good idea to walk the neighborhood(s) in which you want to live. There are numerous places that are advertised only via a sign above the door. These advertisements are more likely (although not guaranteed) to be listed without an agency. After doing more than 150 hours of research on idealista, my wife and I ended up finding our apartment by walking into a building with a sign above the door. The portero told us that the unit was very small (30 m/2) but that he knew of a place that would be hitting the market within the next couple of days that might work for us. He gave us the phone number of the landlord and we called and had an tentative rental agreement in place the next day. Of course, this is probably the exception to the rule, but it worked for us.

--Moving in is generally a quick process. I was worried that the notorious Spanish beauracracy might prove to be a hassle, but that wasn't the case. The total time between the first time we saw the apartment and the day we got the keys was about 5 days.

--Regarding the gestor, my company ended up hiring a someone to review the rental contract and convert the utilities into our name. They were mildly helpful, but definitely not necessary.

Feel free to send me a message or post a reply if you have any questions. I'm by no means an expert, but I just went through the process, so I'm happy to help in any way I can.

Good Luck!!
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