When we're about to rent a home, we wonder about the clauses that can or cannot get included in the contract. And sometimes, it is hard to distinguish void terms from those that are abusive.
In Spain, the law Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos (LAU) regulates housing rental contracts. Therefore, we must refer to it to clarify issues with the clauses that may get included.
In a very summarized way, a null clause will be anyone that harms the tenant's rights beyond the limits contemplated by law. Abusive clauses would be those that, even within the law, the landlord imposes for his own benefit.
Examples of invalid clauses in rental contracts
There are times when the distinction between unfair and void terms is difficult. In other cases, invalid terms are clear, and the tenant may not comply with them or even resolve the conflict through legal proceedings. Next, we're going to highlight some of the most common invalid clauses in rental contracts:
• Duration of the contract: the law establishes a minimum of five years, any clause that establishes a shorter term will be void.
• Asking for more than one month's rent in advance: the law is crystal clear in this regard. You can only order one month in advance. On the other hand, requiring two months as additional guarantees may occur, and we'd add that to the month of deposit.
• Withdrawal from the contract: the tenant can withdraw from the agreement six months after its signing with a 30-day notice. A clause marking a longer-term or requiring more days for the notification would be void. On the other hand, the law contemplates including compensation of one month for each year not fulfilled.
• Updating the rental income: Updates can be established by adjusting to the CPI, but never above, and it must be in the contract. If there were no clauses in this regard, they could not be applied. Nor can it be done retroactively.
• Non-payment of rent: the lessor can claim the payment of the rent after the day scheduled for it. But cannot include clauses that establish surcharges, interests or additional charges for delays or non-payments.
• Works in the home: Clauses in rental contracts contemplating an increase in rent for works or improvements are invalid. They are also so if they force the tenant to carry them out, regardless of the damage caused.
• Entry of the owner into the home: access to a home can only occur with the express authorization of the tenant, who can not only refuse but denounce any clause that forces you to let the landlord enter the house.
• Recover the home before the end of the contract: the law only allows it when the owner justifies that it is for their own or family use, give advance notice, and one year of the contract has elapsed. Any clause indicating the contrary would be invalid.
Knowing the void clauses in rental contracts will help you negotiate a fair agreement for both parties and protect your rights when renting a home.
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