For any number of reasons you may have a Spanish property that you are currently not occupying and you may want to rent it out short, medium or long term. However many properties remain empty when not being used by the owner as it may be impossible to get a licence for short term rentals, there remains the sad fact that some owners fear tenants who overstay their contracted time period or fail to pay the rent, or sometimes the owner just can't be bothered with all of the potential problems and hassle that may come up with a rental when compared with leaving a house or apartment empty.
This article will deal mostly with finding a decent tenant in the Valencia area. Remember that it is not quite the same all around Spain and the less in demand areas, think further inland and "España Vacia" there may be little or no demand for rentals however cheap the property may be. Always do your homework on the areas where you are thinking of buying.
How do you find a decent tenant then? There is one thing we have to say before giving you our tips and that is that there are many more great tenants out there than Facebook groups, yes them again, and people in general think. Most people just want to find somewhere to live where they can be settled down and live. Most people are decent tenants.
Tips For Finding Tenants
Lots of the time, at least in the areas that we work, it's easy to find a tenant but what you don't want is just any tenant. In this article we are going to concentrate on medium and long term rentals. We'll ignore completely the short term airbnb type rentals but if you want to read more about them then take a look at our articles here.
Location (Of Course)
Making sure your property is in an area where people want to live may be something that goes without saying to you, but then again you might be one of those people who just looks at the price and then estimates the potential returns by looking at what other properties are advertised at on the property portals and saying "Yeah, I reckon I can get that".
Location is always key and the location in Valencia can make a huge difference to the price even between streets just metres apart. People pay more to live on certain streets, Calle Colón for example or any streets where the property has a view of something like the Colón Market, the Serranos and Quart towers, the City of Arts and Sciences, the Beach or any of the other usual suspects. This is just human nature. As we have said many times before nobody comes to Valencia to live in a dark cave, even students have standards. (Really, they do)
It's easier to rent a place that is furnished, at least in Valencia, because your potential target market is more likely to require a furnished apartment, especially if you are thinking of renting in the medium term market. Long term rentals are also more popular with furnishings though there are some people who will want a place empty. If you do provide a furnished rental make sure to take a full inventory before rental and you may also want to put an extra month on the deposit for the furniture and more often than not you might need a "pet clause" in the contract, of this more later.
If you buy a place and the owners, luckily for you, have left all of the furniture because they had nowhere to take it to (That's the real reason, it's not because they are feeling extremely generous) then you might want to try out the furniture before you rent it out and replace everything that is substandard, ie most things. It's much easier to IKEAfy a place with modern furniture at a decent price and make it look chic and attractive than to try and get all of those fifty year old and more heirlooms to come together as an eclectic interior designer's dream (unless you're an interior designer of course)
People have stuff, clutter is bad and Marie Kondo rules supreme in the modern world.
Don't fill the property with your cast off stuff from where you live that no longer fits there. Even think of leaving a room relatively empty so the tenants can decide to make it into an office, a gym or a cinema room (Or even just store stuff and park their bike there). They will let you know if they need an extra bed, wardrobe or desk and you can supply it at that point.
Don't maximise the price. Make it a really reasonable price and you will get more choice of decent tenants. Landlords who put their property at a price that most people can't afford struggle to rent out and then might get someone in who doesn't look after the place as they know that if they want to move out they can get another place easily enough in their price range. Tenants who feel they are paying a more than fair price look after a place better and are more likely to stay on in the property at the end of their initial contract at which point you are happy to keep them on as tenants as they are keeping the place in good condition and paying the rent religiously.
Also, everyone loves a bargain and a great deal for both parties.
Make sure your kitchen is good quality, good looking and hard wearing. Firstly, it helps you get better tenants as the kitchen is oftentimes one of the main deciding factors for people wanting to rent. If you are doing a modernisation to later rent out then don't skimp on the kitchen as it is really the most important room. A modernised kitchen with plenty of cupboards for storage and to keep things tidy will attract more tenants especially when you use that kitchen as the main photo on your listing.
Be The Landlord That Everyone Wants
Don't be that person who refuses reasonable requests from the tenant. If a little job needs doing then either get it done or tell the tenants if they want to get it done and provide a receipt and deduct it from the next month's rent. Check in on the tenants from time to time and ask them if there is anything they need or if anything would help them.
"But Graham", I hear you scream, "why would I do that? It reduces my return!". Not necessarily. When your tenant needs to move out they will be your best publicity and they will help you find a new tenant by singing your praises to the skies. And where will they do this? All over social media and to all of their friends. You might not even need to advertise or pay any of those pesky estate agents (Ahem) to find you a tenant.
And believe me, there are loads of awful landlords, everyone knows of a horror story involving a landlord where they never fixed anything, kept the deposit, pressured people to move out because they felt the tenant wasn't paying enough and more. Just don't be that person.
Lose the single bulb hanging down on a frayed wire without a shade in the middle of the room. Update your lighting, make it recessed, hidden, fashionable, plentiful and more. Use LEDs to make the cost of lighting less, have LED strips, dimmers, coloured lighting, standing lamps, floor lamps and more. Make sure to point out these features when showing the property even during the day. As we said earlier people don't want to live in a cave but if the quality of natural light isn't the greatest, for example in interior bedrooms only served by a lightwell, make it welcoming and warm as opposed to gloomy when the lights are switched on. Brightness without blinding lights
Allow them within reason. Most people with dogs, cats, lizards, snakes, guinea pigs or even donkeys* will be so grateful for you allowing them to rent your apartment that they will look after it and leave it spotless when they go. The aforementioned "Pet Clause" in the contract with an extra month's deposit for potential damage via cat claws and a final deep clean at the end of the contract is usually not questioned by people with pets because they just want somewhere that will accept Spot, Fluffy or Slithery.
*OK Maybe not donkeys
Allow Medium Term Rentals
Lots of landlords in Spain only want one type of rental, long term otherwise known as "set and forget" tenants who rent long term and renew every year. These rentals are good if you get a reliable tenant, to do that follow these tips of course. However, you get more per month on a medium term rental and there is a huge demand because more and more people want this type of arrangement as they may be on short term contracts or digital nomads wanting to avoid the ridiculous daily prices of airbnb or being in a hotel for months on end.
Equally, medium term rentals, as there are so few of them around, tend to pay a higher rate than long term rentals and the shorter the term then the higher the monthly amount. Still, as above keep it competitive. Prices for medium term rentals are also usually all in with electric, water, gas and internet included. You can put a cap on electricity used and any excess is also paid to you at the end of each month if the tenant goes above a certain amount but again, make this limit reasonable within your all-in-price.
Local or International?
We hear from lots of people who say, "I only want local clients because I can insure them against non payment".
Getting insurance for people coming in from abroad is certainly more difficult not to say nigh on impossible. However if your first worry is about getting payment then maybe you are looking in the wrong market. We have never had a client coming in from abroad who hasn't paid the rent and we've been doing this for a long time.
International clients tend to pay higher prices because they have less choice, but again don't take the piss. They give fewer problems because they don't want issues while living abroad. I wouldn't say they are less demanding because everyone is different and we have had some extremely demanding clients over the years but as a landlord or working in an estate agency we tend to hear less from international clients over the period of a contract than we do from local market clients. Bear in mind though that international clients will tend to stay for shorter times and you will have to find new tenants on a more regular basis
So you shouldn't discount either market. I get ten to twenty calls per week from people looking to rent in my local town and I hear the same from agents in all of the local towns around me. There is a huge demand for decent quality rental property. Don't ignore it. And those people ringing up can usually be insured against non-payment.
Yes, I keep mentioning tenant insurance here but lots of international owners don't understand why you need it. The reason is because IF... you have a tenant who fails to pay the rent and it cannot be sorted amicably then you might need to start a legal process to get them out of the property. This can be long and laborious in Spain and if you have your tenant insurance then it means you continue to get paid but by the insurance company as opposed to the tenant, until they (Not you) have got the tenant out. The reason you need it is because of that long legal process not because it is a common thing to happen.
Every time. Make sure it's in your adverts front and centre. You'll get more enquiries and be able to rent out both medium and long term and even put someone in for a week between tenants every now and again, or even use it yourself and not worry about not being connected.
Get a Property Manager or Keyholder
Remember that above we talked about minimalism? Well, you might want to minimalise the time you spend on your rental property too and one of the ways to do this is to get somebody managing the property for you. Not much goes wrong with Spanish apartments, houses are another story, so it's likely that the role of the keyholder is negligible but if something comes up they get it sorted whether it's the tenants locking themselves out or them having to make an appointment for a plumber to come and unblock some pipes or sort out a leak. Take it out of your headspace and trust your manager.
These Are Our Suggestions
And they are based on years and years of dealing with rentals. Not much goes wrong with a Spanish property so if you are happy with your returns on a property then you can probably "set and forget" on long term rentals. However, be aware that there are other opportunities in the market and that it's best to have a mixture of different types of rentals if you are going to become a multi property landlord. The main tips if you are going to do this is be cool, be reasonable and be flexible. Get yourself a great reputation and you'll always have tenants.
Property of the Week
Here's a bit of eye candy and at an attainable price for people who aspire to live or invest in Valencia and have Ruzafa firmly set in their sights, there is one minor issue you need to know though and as much as I try not to be Graham Grumble (or is it Davey Downers?…:) you need to know about it.
This good sized apartment set in the heart of Ruzafa with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, storage room, a basic kitchen and light living room with log burner?! has been nicely put together and currently has a small family as tenants with a few months left on their contract, the third floor walk up doesn’t bother them and it won’t bother you either after some carry out from the wine boutique downstairs, and everything works perfectly well but you may want to renovate over time depending on your requirements and wallet.
As you can see the apartment also has a mezzanine floor to maximise the extremely high ceilings on this top floor of the building and provide the 3rd bedroom, BUT, here’s the rub, this solid wooden structure doesn’t figure on the deeds and never will, so life, lemons, glasses half full and all that and you do have an extra 25 odd metres to play with BUT if you require a mortgage the valuation will not reflect this useful extra space and you may get a surprise if you need to finance the purchase, if you’re a cash buyer well done you, you can, and probably should, take a look
Our New Photo Platform
If, like us, you are really annoyed by the power of the algorithm you might get sick of social media platforms limiting what you can see and forcing ads, specific "influencers" and more on you without your consent (It's a bit like an AI version of our "If you liked this.... post below) then you will largely miss what we post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter because the AI doesn't show it to you unless we pay, promoted or boosted post anyone?
With this in mind we have started posting on Vero which describes itself as Instagram without the Algorithm. We have decided to post other things there which you are unlikely to see on our other feeds and here on the blog like videos of our modernisations, random photos, video shorts and more. Head over and sign up for an account and follow us there. It's late to the game of social media but it's largely focussed on photos like Instagram used to be but with the ability to upload videos, links, books and a whole lot more. As you probably know on instagram it's almost impossible to get a link up without paying them so Vero does that so much better.
Latest News Update
Can you hear the screaming? That's the people holding onto the Pound as they plunge off the edge of their previous levels towards Dollar and Euro parity on the exchange rate rollercoaster where the only way is down.
We have been advising for years that people should fix their rate with Currencies Direct when they make a deal to buy a property in Valencia in case of nutjob UK governments (Read the Tories) screwing up the economy massively through their various jolly wheezes to benefit their friends in the Hedge Fund industry and many people listened to us. We have one client who didn't do it though and their purchase has just become almost 10% more expensive due to Kwamikazi Kwarteng's fiscal event (=Budget in the same way that Putin's "special military operation" is a war)
I'm guessing our ever diminishing pool of British clients will be drying up even more as the UK becomes, as Nouriel Roubini stated, an emerging market with Stagflation and the eventual need for an IMF bailout. Thanks Brexit, thanks Tories.
Luckily the strength of the Dollar means that after becoming our biggest client base last year the funnel of Americans coming to Valencia and Spain to live is still huge and getting bigger and the Dutch keep on coming too.
The Digital Nomad Visa
It's getting closer and the latest article in the Guardian by Stephen Burgen lays out what are thought to be the requirements for the upcoming digital nomad visa in Spain. Get your ducks in a row if you want to escape the mess that is the UK without resorting to the now more expensive Golden Visa (Due to the fall in the value of the pound)
If You Liked This...
Then read more of our previous posts and take a look at our selection of Valencia Property by clicking on the images below.