A significant portion of Barcelona locals prefer to buy property, but there is an excellent selection of rental properties for locals and expats. Barcelona features many high rise apartments from modern to traditional design. Some expats find that properties are more rundown then they are used to.
Refer to the geography section of the guide for a complete overview on neighborhoods. Here is a short guide to popular residential neighborhoods.
Prices vary between properties, but in general rent is about 15€ per square meter per month. This varies greatly depend on location and details of the apartment.
Note that apartments outside of Madrid or Barcelona- or at least not in big cities- cost around 50 percent less.
Serviced apartments have become common in large cities like Barcelona. These offer a simple solution for more temporary housing. There's no contract, no application process, and they are generally in great locations with excellent standards. However, they are also one of the most expensive options at about 2.5 times the market price.
Real estate agents (Agentes de Propiedad Inmobiliaria) are extremely helpful in finding a home and understanding the real estate climate. In Barcelona, they are a must. There are many agents within the city, so shop around and find an agent that meets your needs. If you are employed with a company, they may have an agent they work with they can refer. Also check with friends and acquaintances for recommendations.
Agents usually charge a fee equivalent of one month of rent. Agencies will have clients sign a contract that includes deposits and agency fees. Investigate an agency thoroughly before signing a contract. Beware of ads with contact numbers listed like: "93000000" with an asterix as these are often scam agencies. Look for an apartment rental agency that is a limited company - they have strict tax and booking-keeping to maintain for the Spanish authorities. Businesses with these accreditation are marked with the letters S.L. or S.A. after their business name.
Online listings can give you a great feel for the market and allow you to determine if a place fits your specifications before you spend time going to look at it.
Friends, relatives and acquaintances are great resources for getting leads on available property. Ask around, and put out the word that you are looking. You may also ask the porter (portero) of desirable buildings if there are any vacancies. They often know the upcoming vacancies before they are officially listed.
If you prefer print, as even some sellers do, property sections can be found in most daily newspapers on a weekly or bi-weekly basis as well as online and through specialist property publications.
Many places have billboards offering advertisements for a variety of goods and services. Laundrettes, cafes, grocery stores, community centers, and bars all might have private ads for property.
Expat and social forums are another resource for house seekers. You can get a realistic expectations of what it's like to live in Barcelona as well as make helpful contacts. Check out Easy Expat's Barcelona forums and networking tool to find expats in Barcelona.
Rental contracts (Contrato de Arrendamiento) should be in writing. If the owner does not want to write out an agreement- insist. This is a vital step to protect yourself. Long-term rental contracts (arriendo de vivienda are valid for at least one year in duration.
A deposit (fianza) is usually necessary, and is equivalent to 1-5 months rent. This should be clearly stated in the contract. The landlord must lodge the deposit with a bank in the tenant's name. Properties should be inspected in the presence of the landlord before the keys are handed over and any issues discussed and noted in the contract.
For specific term contracts, the contract expires without any need for notice of termination at the end of the period set. If the parties continue the contract beyond expiry, the tenancy becomes a contract for indefinite duration.
Upon leaving a property, you should again inspect it with the landlord and discuss any issues or necessary repairs. Damages are usually taken out of the deposit, and the remaining deposit returned.
There are certain circumstances where one party may want to rescinding the contract.
In the instance of issues between landlord and renter, disputes are processed through ordinary civil proceeding (procedimiento civil ordinario).