September 22, 2020

Rental contracts with a “Covid clause” arrive due to the possibility of a new confinement


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The possibility of another state of alarm or confinement being decreed in Spain has brought with it the incorporation of new annexes to the rent. Although not a frequent trend yet, some homeowners begin to include “covid clauses” in housing contracts -Especially for students or commercial premises as a way to protect against advance resolutions of the lease, to reduce rents or with the aim of establishing exceptions in the payment of the same. «The exceptional situation generated by the coronavirus has made it appear new conditions in some rental contracts than aim to regulate and protect against a hypothetical new confinement or state of alarm. There are different types of clauses that, depending on the case, seek to protect the tenant or the owner ”, interprets the director of the service for studios de piso.com, Ferrán Font.

Thus, these new clauses specify the conditions to apply in the event that circumstances change in the coming months due to the coronavirus pandemic. From Legálitas they point out that these annexes can be beneficial for both parties since if a new confinement is decreed, the tenant – for example, a student – could leave the apartment without penalty. In the case of landlords, the house would be available to rent to someone else as soon as possible.

However, the legality can be questioned in the event that they harm the tenant. «The ‘covid clauses’ are perfectly applicable with the Urban Leasing Law for the rental of housing as long as they benefit the tenants. But if this clause benefits the landlord, then it might be thought that it may be a null clause that violates article 6 of the LAU», Specifies, for his part, José Ramón Zurdo, general director of the Rental Negotiating Agency.

Students and locals

In this line, the students are the tenants who are asking the most for the incorporation of these annexes. «You can find references to the possibility of leaving the apartment if there is a new confinement in case of students or that the owner can enter the house, that a lowering of the monthly rent is agreed in advance or, even, a moratorium on payment », Font specifies.

Most “covid clauses” are included in seasonal lease contracts or in those for students, but above all, for commercial premises. “They are used in case the student is limited to the school season and cannot use the house and has to go to her place of origin”, Zurdo points out. “Normally in housing lease contracts this ‘Covid clause’ is not used because 95% of the owners are not willing to include them. They are being applied in the leases of business premises, that is, in leases for use other than housing. If the movement of people is restricted again, businesses could not be opened and therefore, this clause makes sense in this context and not in the housing lease, where if this limitation occurs, the home can continue to be used “, adds Zurdo.

Lease for months

It is also derived from the pandemic that many owners now prefer renting your home for months instead of for years as delinquencies increase. From Legálitas they emphasize this option is legal and that it will not be considered as tourist despite having a short duration. Thus, the duration of the lease can be agreed between the parties, although the reason for said temporality must be indicated in a clause.

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