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Renting a house abroad part 1.

Tired of life in the Czech Republic or looking for a place to escape to during your holiday? Try looking abroad. It’s not difficult to find a rental here, especially if you look in Europe or in countries where Czech citizens are welcomed with open arms without the need for a residence permit. We’re bringing you a two-part series that will look at how renting works in the most popular destinations – in this installment, it’s Italy, Greece and Spain. In addition, we’ll also take a look at how to actually search for such a rental home abroad.

8 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Long-term house rental abroad

Short-term house rental abroad is not uncommon. You can often rent out an entire house through various portals such as Booking or Airbnb, where you don’t sign a contract with the landlord, but everything works through a middleman. Renting a house abroad for a long period of time is a different story, and it’s a bit more complicated when it comes to signing a rental contract.

Moreover, the whole thing depends on the laws in force in the country where you intend to rent the apartment. Therefore, it is essential to find out all the local specifics beforehand and, if necessary, contact experienced real estate agents who specialize in foreign property rentals. In this article, we will at least look at the specifics of the most popular destinations – Italy, Greece and Spain.

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House rental in Italy

In Italy, most of the houses for rent are located in big cities and are mostly old houses in poor condition. However, it is possible to find a house to rent by the sea or in the countryside, but you will need to search patiently. Houses are most often owned by individuals who use the services of middlemen to find tenants and do general maintenance of the house and deal with tenants. When searching, it is worth using Spotahome, which brings together these intermediaries and offers.

Terms and conditions of tenancy

Therights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords are similar to ours. The maximum security deposit is equivalent to three rents. Similarly, the landlord may require a maximum of three rents to be paid in advance. The deposit is refundable and is returned with interest, which is usually 3% of the total amount. If the landlord wants to terminate the lease, he must give the tenant 6 months’ notice.

In Italy, there are three basic types of tenancy agreements:

  1. Transitional, for stays of up to 18 months.
  2. 3+2 contracts, which last for three years and can then be extended for another two years.
  3. 4+4 contracts, which are signed for four years and can be extended for another four years.

Tip: The world is more connected today and more international marriages are being formed. Unfortunately, even these marriages are not exempt from divorce. Read our article on how to divorce a foreigner.

You will need the following documents to rent:

  • ID or passport;
  • Italian tax code, which you can obtain from the Italian tax office;
  • And often a document proving a stable income. This can be in the form of an employment contract and payslips if you are working. Otherwise, you can send a bank statement proving you have other financial means.

What a tenancy agreement should contain:

  • Information about the tenant and the landlord;
  • A description of the property and its use;
  • A clause confirming that the tenant has received an energy performance certificate (Attestato di Prestazione Energetica);
  • The annual rent amount;
  • the cost of the common areas to be borne by the tenant;
  • The amount of the security deposit;
  • Terms of termination of the contract for both parties;
  • Conditions relating to the maintenance of the property;
  • A document that specifies the amenities of the rental property, defects and the number of keys that have been given to the tenant.

Renting a house in Greece

Rentals in Greece can be easily searched for on the spot. In fact, Greeks often use signs by houses to let people know that it is available for rent. So look for signs that say enoikiazetai. However, you can also find rentals online. This is most worthwhile on local portals such as Xe, Spitagatos or Sptiti24.

Rental terms and conditions

The minimum rental period in Greece is set at 3 years. However, it can be shortened by agreement with the landlord. If you negotiate a shorter contract, you must expect to pay more for the rent each month.

In Greece, you also have to pay a security deposit, usually equal to 2-3 rentals. Energy and utilities are usually not included in the rent and therefore need to be accounted for separately.

You will need the following documents to rent:

  • ID card or passport;
  • A passport, ID card or passport;
  • Greek tax code, which you can obtain from the Greek tax office.

What the rental agreement should contain:

  • Information about the tenant and the landlord;
  • Description of the property and its use;
  • The amount of rent, as well as the amount of the security deposit;
  • The terms of the lease, indicating the start date and end date;
  • Method of payment of utility bills;
  • Conditions for rent increases on renewal of the lease;
  • A document listing the equipment and its condition.

Tip: Are you about to sign a lease? We will draft or review a lease agreement tailored to your case. Thanks to our services, even after the end of the lease, no disputes will arise between landlord and tenant regarding unclear rights or obligations.

House rental in Spain

The Spanish rental market is very competitive. Nevertheless, it is possible to come across a good offer. Thebest way to find a house to rent is by going online, preferably through the Idealista or Kuhamia portals.

Most rental options offer apartments in major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. However, you may also come across villas, which are most often located on the coast, or farmhouses in rural areas, which usually work out best financially.

Rental terms and conditions

In Spain, it is compulsory to pay a security deposit when renting, which is between one and two rents. It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay for utilities and services, so additional expenses must be taken into account.

You may encounter two forms of rental agreement:

  1. A long-term contract with a minimum length of 12 months, usually signed for 5 years. After five years, the contract is extended by two years to 7 years. If you, as a tenant, are not interested in extending the contract, you must give at least one month’s notice before the contract expires. If the landlord wants to end the lease, he must give the tenant at least 4 months’ notice. Otherwise, the lease will be extended for up to another 3 years. If you have been given a 12-month lease on the property, it will be renewed annually.
  2. A short term lease is a maximum of 12 months. It cannot be renewed and can only be terminated after six months from the date of the lease. They are regulated by law by the regional authorities and therefore the exact rules and mandatory content of the contracts may vary from one part of Spain to another.

To rent, you will need the following documents:

  • ID card or passport;
  • Documents proving a stable income. Proof of a guarantor if you do not have a stable income;
  • An NIE number, or Spanish tax identification number unique to foreigners living in Spain;
  • If possible, references from previous landlords.

What should be included in a long-term rental agreement:

  • Information about the tenant and the landlord;
  • Details of the property being rented (address, name of owner, cadastral number, etc.);
  • Type of rental agreement: recreation, residence, room, future purchase option, etc.;
  • Date of commencement of the lease and duration;
  • Rental price, method of payment and security deposit;
  • Minimum rental period and notice periods for termination of the contract;
  • A document listing the equipment and its condition.

Tip: Disagreements between landlord and tenant can sometimes end up in court. Want to sue and not sure if you will win? Or have you been sued? Contact us. We will assess your chances of success in court and suggest a solution that will lead to the desired outcome.

How to search for a rental

  1. Research the location: start by researching where you plan to find a house. Understand how different neighbourhoods are doing, the quality of local amenities, etc.
  2. Online property portals: Explore international property portals and websites dedicated to property listings. Websites like Zillow or Realtor offer a wide range of options. You can also try Czech portals such as Eurobydlení or iDnes real estate, but these have a more limited selection. However, the best choice is always the local portals we have listed for each country.
  3. Networks and forums: join forums or groups on social networks where foreigners living in your chosen area congregate. You may come across rental offers and real-life experiences of people in a similar situation to yours.
  4. Real estate agents: Get in touch with local real estate agents or real estate agencies. They can provide you with valuable information about the local property market and help you find the perfect deal.
  5. Advertisements and newspapers: In some countries or regions, traditional advertising methods are still the most popular way of publishing listings. Therefore, look for local newspapers and physical notice boards with property for rent.
  6. Personal visit: Whenever possible, schedule a site visit to physically see the neighborhood and your chosen home.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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