Rent apartment/flat in Madrid
20 things you should know when renting an apartment in Madrid
1- The area – like in any city – is very important and varies depending on your preference and need. Every side of town has different prices and it is important to have an idea of what you´re searching for since ultimately you will be the person paying rent each month. One of the more comfortable areas is called “Radio M-30”, which is located inside the M30 highway. The zone is one of the best connected areas of Madrid as there are several metro lines, bus stations and is also within walking distance to many popular sites in Madrid. Although there are also surrounding areas of the M30 which are also well connected and with slightly lower rental prices.
2- Transportation: Not only its necessary take into account your access to the underground which is extremely important, but we must also take into account the night buses known as ¨buhos¨ (owls). In Madrid there is a network of night buses, which depart from the Plaza de Cibeles. This is important to remember since the underground in Madrid closes at 1:30 pm. If you´re like many visitor or natives to the city, you´re going to want to enjoy the night life. As such, keep in mind the night buses and save yourself some money on taxis. Remember this important fact which considering where to stay in Madrid.
3- Knowing whether or not the house has heating as well as the type of heating:
a) Central heating – its means that heating is being paying by the community of landowners and is automatically running from November to May without the ability to adjust the temperature. Apartments which include central heating are usually more expensive and can normally be found in the more affluent areas of Madrid and can save tenants a lot of money on heating.
b) Electric heating – It is paid with the electricity bill and is the most expensive. Be aware of this when considering where to life as the winters in Madrid can be very cold.
c) Heating of natural gas – is the most common, it is paid with the gas bill and it is cheaper than electricity.
In Madrid its cold in winter, it’s necessary to have heating. A though this will be difficult to believe for those who arrive during summer. However, don´t let the heat of summer fool you. Winter in Madrid is very cold so heating is essential for at least 3 or months of the year.
4- This might sound strange at first, however, the type of windows in the apartments are also something to take note of. Many older buildings in the city center have old wooden windows. These types of windows will allow the freezing cold of winter to enter inside making it quite cold while during summer you will find your apartment to be extremely hot. This of course means will have to pay more for heating during the winter and more for air-conditioning during summer. Finally, if you live in a noisy area, you´re going to want good windows to help keep the street noise where it belongs…in the streets.
5- Avoid flats with gas cylinders (Rechargeable orange cylinder). They are not very common however there are still a few flats that use this system, especially in the city center. You would use this cylinder for cooking and to have hot water. The gas cylinders usually costs around 13 € for each new cylinder. Furthermore, you have to monitor the gas levels to ensure you don´t run out as well as needing to be home during specific times during the mornings to ensure you´re able to receive a new/refilled cylinder. I can assure you that you don´t want to wake up one morning without the ability to cook or take a hot shower.
6- Expenses: it´s fair and common (usual) that the tenant pay expenses at the same time that the monthly rent payment is due (usually the lights and gas bill are paid every two months). The owner always sends the bill however all other expenses such as community fees, garbage fees, home insurance, etc, should be paid by the owner.
7- Wi-fi, in a shared flat it is normal that the home have wi-fi. In some cases it will be paid by the landlord and in other cases it will be divided among the roommates and is usually paid together with the phone bill. In an unshared flat, you usually don’t have wi-fi and the tenant will have to obtain their own internet service.
8- The contract: Most contracts usual last for a year or less. You should never sign a contract of more than one year.
– The deposit: one to two months deposit is about average. More than two months is not common and is an abuse. In the shared flats, if you rent a room, in most cases the contract is made only in the name of a single person. It is also appropriate to speak with the landlord when you rent the room or the flat and to ask him how much notice is required before leaving the flat. A month or two months is normal and you shouldn´t be required to provide more than two months’ notice before departing.
9 In Spain you can choose between furnished or unfurnished flats. Most are furnished and is usually identified as such in the ad. Usually there isn´t much of difference in the price between furnished or unfurnished apartments.
10 In Spain if the apartment is furnished it has to have a washing machine, all homes in Spain have washing machines, among other things.
11 The natural lighting of housing is very important also, (to keep in mind especially in interior flats and basements), Lighting is expensive, if the apartment has poor natural lighting ultimately you will spend more money on electricity which is fine if the flat is cheap.
12 Never rent a flat without first seeing it, better to spend a few days in a hostel and in the city center there are many great and cheap hostels available. Always view the flat to see the situation and to ensure everything is to your liking. Desperation can cost you a lot of money long term.
13 Whenever possible, avoid real estate agencies. They charge an entire monthly fee for renting a flat, sometimes two monthly payments for which the cost is high and unnecessary. If you focus in one agency they will only be able to offer you a limited number of flats. Additionally, real estate agencies usually require much more documentation than an individual landlord such as proof of wages (payroll) and employment dating back 6 month, sometimes requested certificate incidents bank account. The process usually takes a minimum of 15 days and they usually take too much time to tell you if you´ve been approved to rent the flat or not.
14 A few years ago La Comunidad de Madrid established “plan alquila” (a plan for rent). It was created to provide owners with more security and also for the government to have control over rents. Always, the landlord (if you rent through this plan) is the one who is responsible for delivering a copy of the contract and other required paperwork to the La Comunidad de Madrid, this is NOT the responsibility of the tenant. Additionaly, there is something called the ¨Solvencia¨ or the ¨solvency¨ Eventually it depends on the owner, but can request a study solvency to the tenant, and any other requirements, but you do not pay more for rent a flat through the “plan alquila” and should not affect the tenant.
15 It takes time to find a flat when looking online and I recommend that you discard online listings without photos as this is usually a waste of time due to the apartment being in poor condition.
16 You shouldn´t pay anything in advance and you should avoid advertisements urgently seeking people as the tenant has to leave the country suddenly and are unable to show the flat however are requesting that you send money by mail-post stating that the neighbour will give you the keys to the apartment. This is always a trick so be sure you avoid such listings. You should never pay for an apartment which you haven´t seen and never pay in advance.
17 Lift/Elevator: Always ask to know if the flat has a lift. Many people don´t mind waking up/down stairs however it´s something you need to know so that you can make an informed decision when considering the price versus benefits. Many times an apartment without a lift will cost less than an apartment with a lift.
18 As much as possible avoid the months of August and September for house hunting. Madrid has the largest number of students in Spain and one of the largest student populations in Europe, meaning that the demand for apartments is very high during this time. The months before the beginning of the academic year there will be many people/students searching for apartments. During this time it will be very difficult to encounter an apartment however not impossible. Plan ahead to make sure you don´t get caught up in the rush.
19 You should not sign a contract if you can´t read and understand Spanish. It´s preferable to find someone who can help you understands the contract in Spanish to avoid unfair contract terms. It´s especially important that you understand what you´re signing because in the long term it could create many problems for you if you haven´t fully read and understood the contract term.
20 Finally, the most important thing, if you see a flat you like very much, Take it!. Sometimes you might want to take a couple of hours to think before making a decision however be aware that there are usually other people scheduled behind you to see the same apartment. An hour of waiting could cause you to lose the perfect apartment. Trust me, I know from experience.