If you are looking for a flat in Barcelona, it is widespread to find ads like the one below:

It’s certainly not a bargain, but well, we know how the market is, and you need to get a flat as soon as possible, so you decide to continue reading the ad until you find the following…

After having seen 20 ads like this you ask yourself, what are Alquiler de Temporada (seasonal leases), and why are there so many flats for rent for this length of time? We will answer these questions in this article.

What are seasonal leases?

It is a type of rental contract, justified by the tenant’s temporary need for housing. It is a different contract from the tourist rentals, which are rentals for a few days or weeks for leisure purposes, and which require a specific license.

This means that seasonal contracts should only be made when the tenant intends to reside temporarily in the property, either because he or she is studying for a Master’s degree, is doing a doctorate, or has been temporarily transferred to another place of work.

If you have moved to Barcelona because your company needs you to cover a position for 6 months in this city, or because you are a digital nomad who wants to stay a few months in the city, it would be justified to have a contract of this type.

At a legal level, the key is that most of the articles of the Law on Urban Leases (LAU), which are those that establish minimum protection for the tenant (duration of the contract, prohibition to raise the rent during the term, etc), do NOT apply to seasonal leases.

Why do landlords make so many seasonal leases?

Although it should be a marginal type of contract, designed only to cover temporary relocations, the truth is that it is used on a massive scale. As we said, the clauses of the LAU regarding duration, rent, or the landlord’s duty of conservation do not necessarily apply to these contracts.

Mainly, normal housing leases have a minimum duration for the tenant of 5 years (7 years if the owner is a company), and during this period the rent cannot be increased beyond the IPC.

In contrast, with a seasonal lease, the landlord can rent a flat for 11 months, and change the tenant to sign another 11-month lease. With each contract, he could raise the rent as much as he wants, because no price limit can be applied to this kind of contract.

What can we do about this abuse?

Seasonal leases not justified by the tenant’s temporary need for housing are carried out in fraud of law, which means that the clauses of the LAU must be applied to them as they are: normal residence leases. If our seasonal contract is for 11 months and is not justified in a temporary need, this would imply that it is a housing lease with a minimum duration of 5 or 7 years.

Therefore, follow the advice below:

  1. Before signing a seasonal contract, check if it includes a clause stating that the tenant is renting it «for a temporary stay». Under no circumstances should you hand over documentation that proves this temporary nature (student registration, temporary employment contract), because then it could be understood that the contract is valid.
  2. If you have already signed it and the owner wants to raise the rent after 11 or 12 months or tells you to leave the property, refuse, tell him/her that it is a fraudulent seasonal contract and that you have the right to remain in the property for the period established in the LAU.
  3. Contact the team of lawyers at Oasiurbà so that we can advise you on the strategy to follow, we are always at your disposal at 934998696 and the email address info@oasiurba.org.