Finding an apartment to rent long term in Barcelona is not easy. There is a shortage of Barcelona long term accommodation at the moment so demand it high and it can be difficult to find a nice flat for a good price. Flats rent very quickly too, especially under €900 per month.
Long-term accommodation is usually any term longer than six months. A standard long-term rental contract in Barcelona is now valid for five years (following a change in the rental law in March 2019, it was three years before). The minimum term is 12 months. You can leave after a minimum term of six months although you sometimes you have to pay a penalty to do so.
Tips for renting accommodation
- I recommend at least one trip to Barcelona (if you don’t already know the city quite well) to find the areas that you like. Even if you’ve visited Barcelona before, chances are you know all the tourist areas, but have less information on good residential areas.
- Agents charge one month’s rent or 10% of the annual rental cost as their fee. It’s the new tenant that pays that fee. There’s VAT on top of that at 21%.
- It’s normal to pay two months’ rent as a deposit and one month’s rent in advance. Whatever your rental budget is, multiply that figure by four and that’s roughly what you’ll need to rent a flat.
- On one of your reconnaissance trips to the city, meet some estate agents to develop a relationship. Better still arrange to visit some properties, even if you’re not quite ready to rent.
- Open a bank account in Spain as soon as possible, preferably before you move. It’s much easier to be able to transfer money across to Spain before you arrive rather than having to wait for it to clear. To open a non-resident’s account all you need is an address and your passport.
- If time is a problem and you can’t easily get to Barcelona to search for accommodation, why not use a Barcelona flat finding service. By the time you’ve paid airfare and a hotel, it can actually work out cheaper to pay someone else to search and organise viewings for you.
Long Term Flats for Rent in Barcelona
Below you’ll find some information on renting for the long-term in Barcelona. Head off to this page if you’re looking for short-term accommodation.
Barcelona long term accommodation
Flats and houses in Barcelona are usually vacant when viewed. You need to be ready to to make a decision and reserve a property when you find one that you like. Landlords won’t keep a flat for you for very long, so unless you want to start paying the rent in advance, it’s best to start your search close to the time that you’re ready to move in.
Documentation needed to rent in Barcelona
You need to be able to prove that you can afford the rent. The ideal way to do that is to show your work contract, or letter from your employer confirming that you will be employed.
If you’re self-employed or have a work contract with a company outside Spain, landlords may ask you for a higher deposit.
Reserving your rental property
In order to secure a property you first have to reserve it. This requires paying a reservation fee. This fee is deducted from the total amount you pay when renting, and means that the flat is taken off the market. You can then rent it subject to the owner checking your paperwork and accepting you as a tenant.
ITP rules have also changed with the new rental law changes in December 2018. This no longer needs to be paid.
Your rental contract
It’s worth getting someone to look over your rental contract, or at least get someone to translate it for you, so you fully understand what you’re signing. We offer a rental contract checking service. We review your contract, summarise it for you in English and will go with you to the contract signing. Please contact me if you’d like further information.
Some terms of long term rental contracts changed in 2019, and this article will explain the changes: Changes to the Spanish Rental Law.
When you rent for the long term, utilities are not included in the rent. You have to pay the gas, water and electricity separately. However, the utilities are almost always connected.
Beware of renting flats where the utilities are disconnected. It can take some time to open new accounts and occasionally there is paperwork that you need to show in order to get connected. That can all be very difficult if you don’t speak Spanish.
Internet won’t be connected, but this is now much easier and quicker to get set up than it used to be. See internet in Barcelona.
How to find property to rent?
There are various online portals for Spanish property, for Barcelona long term accommodation and for properties to buy. Most agencies advertise through these websites. For the smaller agencies it’s often their only online presence, they don’t have their own websites.
If you know the area of Barcelona where you’d like to live, you can also walk around that neighbourhood and find the local real estate agents. Most flats for rent and sale usually have estate agent signs on windows or balconies showing the name and phone number of the agency. Some owners advertise in this way too.
Alternatively, you can hire someone like me who works as a property finder in Barcelona and the surrounding areas. Whilst I charge a fee for my service, it saves you time, trouble and expense in the long run. I arrange viewings for when you arrive in Spain, so keep your stay in short term accommodation to a minimum.
Col•legi d’Administradors de Finques de Barcelona – Lleida
If you can speak Spanish or Catalan this website is a good resource for finding apartments for rent in Barcelona. You can search for flats (as well as shops, offices and parking etc.) in Barcelona as well as other locations in Catalonia.
The site gives an extensive search facility, you can search by rental price, district, size of apartment, etc. You can include variants such as central heating or atico apartment. This site is used by many small independent estate agents (fincas) to advertise their flats for rent, many of which you won’t find elsewhere.
Flats advertised here are aimed at Spanish nationals rather than tourists, so prices tend to be a little lower. I found my current flat using this site.
The Col.legi d’Administradors de Finques now have a separate website for listing properties:
Facebook has some good expat groups where lots of information is shared, including flats for rent. It’s a good idea to join these groups to get notifications.
This is a link to a general search for Expat Groups Barcelona: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=barcelona%20expats
Habitaclia is a portal website where agents and owners advertise flats for rent and for sale. As well as apartments for rent you can search for commercial premises, parking spaces, and building plots. Habitaclia covers the whole of Spain, and it’s useful because you can refine your search by a number of criteria, including the most recently published listings.
How to Rent in Barcelona
How to Rent in Barcelona is my ebook explaining the rental process in Barcelona and Catalonia. By understanding the system, you will be much better prepared to find and rent the right property. It includes:
• Questions to ask when viewing properties
• What you will need to pay: fees, deposits…
• Your responsibilities when renting
• The reservation process
• An explanation of a standard rental contract
Get the essentials in place for renting in Barcelona
• Get your NIE. While you don’t need an NIE to rent a flat, it helps. You need an NIE if you are employed in Spain, and you usually need it for utility bills.
• Open a Spanish bank account. You need this in place before signing your rental contact. If you don’t have an NIE, you can open a non-resident’s account using your passport as ID.