In Madrid there is a high demand for rentals and a limited supply, so don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to find a nice apartment to rent. As mentioned in previous sections, and stressed here again, it is not recommended to use an agency to find an apartment. Real estate agencies charge a month’s rent as their fee, which is an atrocious practice that can be avoided entirely by looking for ads online and in the local papers placed directly by apartment owners. The majority of apartments for rent are not listed through agencies.
It is not necessary to take any documentation with you when you go to visit an apartment. The lease won’t be signed during the apartment visit, as it has to be printed with the renter’s name. If you are truly interested in renting the apartment that you are visiting, you should express your explicit interest. If the landlord agrees, he/she will then schedule a time to sign the contract, and the necessary documentation must be presented at that time.
Keep in mind that you should never make arrangements to move in unless you have a signed rental agreement. Upon signing a rental agreement, you will be expected to present the following:
- Your passport and/or NIE.
- A month’s deposit. Some owners may ask for more than one month, but this is negotiable and the standard is one month, which the landlord is then supposed to deposit with the City’s Municipal Rental Office. Don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of said deposit to keep in your files.
- Your first month’s rent.
- Most landlords will also ask you to bring your work contract, pay stubs or both to prove that you can afford to pay the monthly rent.
- It has become quite common for landlords to ask for an “aval bancario” (bank guarantee). Basically, you pay the bank a fee in exchange for a document certifying that if you neglect to pay your rent, they will cover the cost of rent for the time period stipulated beforehand by the landlord. It is common to ask for a six-month guarantee, which can be quite expensive for the renter, as he or she is charged a percentage of the total amount being guaranteed. If this is an additional expense that you are not interested in paying, simply keep looking for an apartment with a landlord who does not require an aval.
Leases or rental contracts tend to be for the period of one year with the option to renew on a yearly basis. The renter can generally get out of the lease by giving the landlord two months notice of his/her intentions to move. What expenses are included in the monthly rent should appear in the lease. Telephone, Internet, electricity and gas are almost always paid separately by the renter. However, water and the monthly building assessment fees may already be calculated into your rent. If the apartment is furnished, an inventory should also be signed, and it is always helpful to have the repairs policy included in the lease.
A studio in Madrid will run between 500 euros and 700 euros per month, a one bedroom apartment between 700 and 900 per month and a two bedroom apartment between 800 and 1100 per month. The further from the center, the less expensive the rental prices. Rental houses in the center of the city are hard to find and quite expensive. However, if you are willing to live in the outer districts, you can usually rent a house for about the price of a two bedroom apartment in the center.
The following are the best sources for apartment rental listings:
- Idealista: Possibly the most popular site in Spain to search for living accommodations, http://www.Idealista.com gets dozens upon dozens of new apartment rental listings each day. To start your search, click “alquilar” (rent) in the first column on the home page, then “viviendas” (housing) in the second column and Madrid in the third column. Then click the “buscar” (search) icon. This will take you to a map of the Community of Madrid, click on the area in the center, the City of Madrid. This takes you to yet another map, where you’ll have to select the district that interests you. The third and final map breaks the district down into neighborhoods. Explore all of the district’s neighborhoods to get a good idea for pricing and availability. Once you have selected a neighborhood, you can narrow your search further by specifying the “precio máximo” (maximum price), “tamaño mínimo” (minimum size), dormitorios (bedrooms) and “tipo de viviendas” (type of housing – attics, apartments, studios, duplexes, houses/condos).
- Fotocasa: http://www.FotoCasa.es is another popular housing search Web site. When visiting the site scroll down to the section with the map of Spain. In the first column, select “Alquiler” (Rent). In the second column select “Todo tipo de vivienda” (All types of housing – e.g. apartments, houses, etc). Then click on the Community of Madrid on the map. This will lead you to a second map, where you should select the City of Madrid. On the following map, select the area of the city that interests you. On the final map explore the different neighborhoods that appear. Upon selecting the neighborhood, you can narrow your search by selecting “precio máximo” (maximum price), “tamaño mínimo” (minimum size), dormitorios (bedrooms) and “Tipo de vivienda” (Type of housing).
- SegundaMano: Visit http://www.segundamano.es and click on Madrid. Although you are taken to a page with all of Madrid’s newest listings, you’ll want to specify in the drop box in the search area at the top of the page that you are looking for Pisos (apartment) or Casas/Chalets (houses/condos). Both options are found in the Inmobiliaria (Real estate) section. A new menu will appear in which you should specify Madrid as the “Municipio” (municipality). Remember, Madrid is the name of both the city and the Autonomous Community. You can then tailor your search by specifying districts, price range, number of bedrooms and number of square meters. For rentals, you’ll want to check the “Se alquila” circle. Then hit “busca” to start your search.
The nice thing about all of these sites is that they are specifically made to allow the users to tailor their searches to their interests and specifications. Although the quality of the apartments varies from one listing to another, most of the listings include photos so that you can decide whether you are really interested in setting up an appointment to visit it.
Keep in mind that agencies also use these sites to list their properties. A dead giveaway that the advertiser is an agency and not an individual is when the ad asks that you call during office hours. If you are not sure whether you are calling an agency or an individual, simply ask the person who answers if he or she is a “particular” (individual) or “agencia” (agency).
- Loquo: This is the Spanish version of Craigslist: http://madrid.loquo.com/es_es. Unlike the sites listed above, it is not as user friendly, but thousands upon thousands of Madrileños use Loquo to advertise their wares and participate in an online community, so there are dozens of real estate listings posted every day. When you visit, be sure to click on Madrid in the left-hand sidebar (as Loquo exists for many different cities) and click “particular” (individual) under the “piso en alquiler” (apartments for rent) sub-section under the “Vivienda” (Housing) section.
- Agencia Municipal de Alquiler: Let the City of Madrid help you with your apartment search. Landlords can list their apartments for free with the Municipal Rental Agency, and renters need only apply for the program in order to see the listings. This is a good option for both renter and landlord, as the city acts as an intermediary, protecting the rights of both parties. To apply for the program, fill in the online application form at http://www-1.munimadrid.es/vivienda/AgenciaAlquiler/formNew/formC.html.
You will also have to present the following documentation:
- NIE, passport or residency card and one photocopy.
- Photocopy of a work contract.
- A photocopy of your last tax statement.
- Photocopy of your last three pay stubs or a photocopy of your IVA and IRPF declarations (if you are freelance).
The Agencia Municipal de Alquiler offices are located at:
C/ Hortaleza 11 (Metro Gran Vía)
C/ Carril del Conde 57 (Metro Arturo Soria)
If you will be living in Madrid for under a year or your budget is limited, the best option is to share an apartment. On all of the Web sites listed above, you can also look for “pisos compartidos” (shared apartments), where you can rent a room. Renting a room in Madrid costs between 300 and 500 euros per month, depending primarily on location and the number of people living in the apartment. With this type of living arrangement, the amount of time you’ll be staying in Madrid generally isn’t of much concern, and you don’t have to worry about signing a long-term lease.