Depositphotos_13434958_s-2015Today I am going to explain the mistakes commonly made by landlords when reclaiming rent arrears themselves, i.e. without a lawyer or legal clerk, since the law allows this whatever the debt might be. Read the following carefully and, of course, take steps to avoid repeating them. 

1. Signing the rental contract without adequate additional guarantees

You will almost certainly already be aware of the importance of this, but even so it is the mistake most frequently made by landlords.

I know that the need to rent or the difficulty of banks or insurance companies providing certain guarantees to tenants often means that no guarantee of any type is requested, but this should always be avoided because you are putting your property in the hands of third parties, and this is very very significant.

There are several things you can put in a contract to guarantee the tenant’s obligations. The most common are:

• Rental default insurance

• Bank guarantee

• Deposit

• Guarantor

2. Letting too much time pass after the first delays in payment before taking action to reclaim the debt.

In practice, most cases of delayed rental payments are accompanied by justifications and, later, further delays.

Sometimes we can think that delays in payment are normal, but this is not the case. The usual thing that anyone might expect is that the tenant pays the rent by the date specified in the contract, and the delays are an indication that in most cases there will be collection problems ahead.

3. Claiming without knowing where the tenant has gone.

When a tenant has already left your property and you do not have any forwarding address, the arrears should not be claimed through the payment procedure since the Courts will not accept the case. Instead, you will need to use oral proceedings to make the claim. Again, a mistake in this respect will mean delays and an accumulation of the debt.


 4. Presenting the case to the Courts in the wrong place.


The claim must be presented to the Court in the place where the debtor lives and not in the location of the property on which the debt has been incurred. This mistake causes innumerable delays.

If the tenant is still in the property clearly there is no problem in this respect, but where the tenant no longer occupies the rented house then the owner who wishes to reclaim the debt left behind could indeed encounter this problem.

5. Sending the defaulting tenant a document that is deficient from an evidential perspective.

Many landlords have lost time through sending their defaulting tenant a document that is not adequate as evidence in any later legal action.

This is to say that either because they don’t know, or are trying to save money, landlords often write to the defaulting tenant with a letter which is without proof of either receipt or content.

This mistake might not be so serious in cases where it is only claiming arrears, and where there is no need for eviction procedures (e.g. if the tenant has already vacated the property leaving rent unpaid). If, however, eviction proceedings might have to be taken then it is a mistake not to send all communications by burofax, a method that satisfies both these requirements.

 6. Producing a copy of the rental contract when initiating Court proceedings instead of the original.

There are some Courts which will accept photocopies of rental contracts when legal action is initiated but the vast majority require the original contract, considering that a photocopy is not a genuine document. An error of this type can mean weeks of delay.

7. Claiming less than was actually owed.

When talking about claims for rent arrears it is important not just to consider the rent itself but also the so-called “related amounts”. These are all those costs which the tenant was contracted to pay, such as electricity, water, IBIs, community fees, etc., all of which can be reclaimed through either the payment procedure or oral proceedings.

Observations: in this article we have reproduced information published on the internet that, after analysis, has been selected and translated for its legal interest.


Author: J. Escobedo

I am a member of the Tenerife Law Society since 1989 with a dedicated team for anyone who needs an immediate answer or long term solution to any practical or legal issues appertaining to any property or business investment in Spain. If you have decided to move to Spain to start a new life, whether that´s buying a property or a business, then you will definitely need the services of a good Spanish Lawyer who is fully conversant with Spanish protocol and who has a good command of the English language. I am based in the south of Tenerife and I am specialist in Property Law, Inheritance issues and taxes as well as Tenerife and Canarian law and a great deal more. ABOUT MY STAFF All my friendly and professional staff are fluent in English. We have been working for foreign clientes for over 30 years in Tenerife, providing legal advice and litigation services to all our clients investing throughout the whole of Spain and we pride ourselves on providing a high quality service to our clients in the form of clearer communication and advice.

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