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Legal keys to renting a commercial space in Spain

Real Estate
Legal keys to renting a commercial space in Spain

The rental of commercial premises, although it is also governed by the Urban Leasing Law, does not follow exactly the same rules that apply to the rental of housing. Due to the importance of the commercial activity carried out in these establishments and the greater flexibility in the leasing regime, it is crucial to draw up a rental contract that adequately protects our needs. And for this, it is best to seek the advice of a lawyer specialized in Real Estate and Corporate Law. 

Therefore, we invite the reader to contact us if you need advice before signing your commercial premises rental contract or require assistance to interpret or make it effective. Notwithstanding this recommendation, in our article today we want to highlight some of the most important elements to consider from a legal perspective when we want to rent a business premises.

Regulation of the rental of commercial premises

The lease of commercial premises is considered rent for use other than the home. This is the regime applicable to workshops, industrial buildings, cultural or welfare centers ... in short, the one that we will use when the purpose of the rented property is to develop a professional, industrial or commercial activity.

It should be noted that, although this type of rental is subject to the Urban Leasing Law, the application of the law is laxer than it is in the case of rentals for residential use. Thus, only two clauses are mandatory:

1.- The deposit. This is the surety that is delivered in cash when the contract is signed. Its amount is equivalent to two monthly payments, which can be updated after the first five or seven years of rent (depending on whether the landlord is a natural or legal person).

Note that apart from the guarantee, the parties can establish any type of additional guarantee. In this sense, the most frequent are guarantees or surety insurance.

2.- The obligation to formalize the contract in writing at the request of either party.

Outside of these two imperative elements, the rental of commercial premises is governed by the will of the parties. That is, by the content of the lease. Only in its absence will the other rules of the Urban Leasing Law (LAU) apply and, additionally, those contained in the Civil Code.

Similarities between the rental housing regime and that of commercial premises 

In the absence of an agreement, some provisions applicable to the rental of residential properties will also be extended to the rental of commercial premises. Specifically, we refer to:

- The landlord will be responsible for the repairs necessary to keep the premises in conditions to carry out the activities for which it was rented. In the event that the works last more than 20 days, the tenant will be entitled to a decrease in rent.

However, the most common is that these cases are covered by insurance or, where appropriate, compensation for the cessation of activity. Let us remember that in these contracts the will of the parties weighs more than the LAU itself. 

- Regarding improvement works, they must be notified at least three months in advance, and the lessee may unilaterally withdraw from the contract or take advantage of a reduction in rent.

- If it is the tenant who wants to carry out works, he will require the consent of the lessor whenever he is going to modify the configuration of the property, storage rooms, dependencies and other accessory services.

- The sale of the premises will grant the tenant the right to exercise a right of first refusal or withdrawal. This will allow you to preferably acquire the commercial premises that you have been occupying.

To exclude the application of these general principles it will be necessary to introduce a new regulation in the contract. 

Suspension, termination and termination of the contract

We find other assumptions similar to those applicable to housing leases. But we must remember that our contract may violate them, customizing the assumptions of suspension, termination and resolution of the contract acceptable in our case.

- The suspension of the contract is allowed when the execution of conservation works or agreed by a competent authority make it unusable.

- In the event that one of the parties fails to comply with its contractual obligations, the other will have the right to terminate the contract. You can also:

- The landlord. For this, it is necessary that there be a breach such as the failure to pay rents or bonds or the performance of unhealthy, harmful, illegal or harmful actions.

- The tenant. For this, it will be required that your landlord has not carried out the repairs to which he was obliged or that he has disturbed the right of peaceful use of the tenant.

Assignments and subleases 

Given the consensual nature of commercial premises rental contracts, the lessee will not need permission from the lessor to assign or sublet the premises or part of it. However, the landlord can raise the rent between 10% and 20%. You can also resort to this increase in rent in the event of merger, transformation or division of the tenant.

Rights of the lessee and his successors

In the case of commercial premises rental, the successors of the lessee have the right to continue with their business or professional activity in the leased property, even after the death of the latter. To do this, they must notify the landlord of their subrogation within a period of two months from the death.

On the other hand, the refusal to renew the contract by the lessor will entitle the tenant to demand a lump sum compensation, in respect of the loss of customers.

The most prudent thing is to determine in the contract itself how this compensation will be calculated if necessary. However, the LAU offers us supplementary calculation rules that, as we know, will only come into play in the absence of a contrary forecast.

This is precisely why it is so important to pay attention to the commercial premises rental contract, since its effects may be applied preferentially to those of the LAU itself.

Contact us, and our lawyers specializing in real estate law will study your specific case. 

At Forcam Abogados we have offices in Barcelona, Madrid and Reus.