Surely you have heard that with the “Ley de Vivienda,” it is over that the tenant pays a monthly rent as fees to the real estate agency in the leases of habitual residence. Specifically, art. 20 of the LAU now states that the real estate management expenses and those of formalization of the contract shall be paid by the landlord.

Despite the change, some real estate agents, surely misinformed, continue to charge these fees to the tenant, applying «imaginative solutions». Either inventing new concepts to avoid the law (personal shoppers) or forcing you to contract services that no tenant has asked for, such as the registration of supplies or the presentation of some taxes.

Faced with these situations, what can I do as a tenant?

Although the Law protects us, we know that finding an apartment in Barcelona is complicated and that there is always a queue of people waiting behind us to take it. So, if we put some kind of obstacle to the real estate agent, it is most likely that he will use some excuse not to rent us the property. That is why it is best to send a first message, by Whatsapp or email, asking about the subject, without revealing that you know the matter 100%:

If you like the property, but the agent insists on charging you a fee, ideally you should be able to sign the contract and enter the property before making any payment. Even if they have sent the invoice, we could then justify that it is a service to be paid by the owner, being them the ones who would have to claim it judicially (and surely lose).

If you have no other option and they force you to make the payment before signing the contract, we recommend that you sign the rental contract and prepare yourself to claim by following the following tips:

  1. Make the payment by bank transfer establishing as concept «Expenses of Real Estate Management». Never make the payment in cash, because there will be no record or proof that you can provide later.
  2. Try to make all communications in writing (e-mails, Whatsapp). You can also record phone calls, but they are more difficult to use as evidence.
  3. Demand a written invoice (email) from the real estate agent.

It may be that the agency sends us the invoice including the concept of real estate management expenses or those of formalization of the contract. It can also happen that they include other concepts (personal shopper, real estate consultancy…), or even that they do not send it to us. In any case, follow the next steps:

  1. Send a claim to the Real Estate Agency in writing, the best way is a Burofax with acknowledgement of receipt, requesting the refund of what they have charged us for the breach of article 20.1 of the LAU, and establishing a deadline of 30 days for the refund.
  2. Once this period has elapsed without a response, we will fill in the complaint form before the Catalan Consumer Agency, with the non-compliances that have been committed (https://consum.gencat.cat/es/consultes-i-reclamacions/reclamacio-queixa-denuncia/).
  3. If we still do not get an answer, we can claim the amount judicially. For this, you will always have our team of lawyers at your disposal at the telephone number 934998696 and the e-mail address info@oasiurba.org

DOWNLOADABLE MODEL OF BUROFAX IN SPANISH TO SEND TO YOUR LANDLORD