Rental price cap: A new era for tenants

Negotiating Spain's rental price index

Spanish rental property. Credit: Andy Dean Photography/

The Ministry of Housing in Spain recently launched a new rental price index, marking a significant shift in the housing market.

As of March 13, this tool aims to offer guidance on appropriate rent levels, especially in cities where rental costs have soared. However, this does not guarantee a universal reduction in rent prices.

Understanding the rental price index

The newly established rental price index by the government has exposed stark contrasts between current rental prices and those suggested by officials.

In major cities, discrepancies of up to 150 per cent have been observed, with apartments costing €1,600 potentially being valued at just €950 according to the index. This disparity underscores the urgent need for intervention in Spain’s rental market, plagued by a supply shortage and rising demand.

Application criteria and limitations

The index’s application is highly specific, targeting ‘stressed areas’ where housing costs exceed 30 per cent of the average household income or where rent increases have surpassed CPI growth by more than three percentage points in the last five years.

Its effectiveness largely depends on the willingness of autonomous communities to implement it, with Catalonia being the pioneering region in this regard.

Impact on landlords and tenants

The implications of this index vary significantly between large and small property owners. Large landlords, defined as those owning ten or more properties or having a significant amount of rentable space, are required to adjust rents for both new and existing contracts if they exceed the index’s guidelines.

In contrast, smaller landlords are encouraged, but not obligated, to apply these adjustments to new tenancies only, with existing contracts remaining unchanged but subject to a maximum annual increase of three per cent.

While the index serves as a negotiation tool rather than a mandate in many areas, it signifies a step towards more equitable rental practices.

It empowers tenants, especially in designated stressed areas, to advocate for fairer rent prices, potentially reshaping the landscape of Spain’s rental market.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.