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A legal perspective of current challenges of the Spanish residential rental market

Sergio Nasarre-Aznar (UNESCO Housing Chair, University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain)
Elga Molina-Roig (UNESCO Housing Chair, University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain)

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1756-1450

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




This paper aims to explain the main difficulties in the Spanish residential rental market becoming a true alternative to home ownership.


Currently, the Spanish rental market only meets temporary housing needs; it is very atomized and lacks professionalism. It does not provide an adequate legal framework to fulfil the parties’ aspirations (i.e. stability, affordability and flexibility for tenants; profitability, security and guarantees to landlords). The analysis of this proposition and the resulting proposal are based on six years of research, which started with the TENLAW European project.


Overcoming these constrains is essential to double the rate of residential leases in Spain and get closer to the European average, thus achieving a true diversification of housing tenures and avoiding future housing bubbles.

Practical implications

The paper makes a series of recommendations to legislators and policymakers to draft an adequate legal framework aimed at increasing the housing rental market share. This is based on the experience of mature tenancy markets in Europe, such as the German, Swiss and Austrian ones.

Social implications

The new proposed legal framework will help to transform the tenancy model in Spain into a functional one, making it more stable, affordable and flexible, while increasing safety and profitability for landlords. The model is also applicable, on a more general level, to all Mediterranean European countries.


Rethinking the regulation of tenancies, in a context of housing crisis and unaffordability (still a reality in many European and worldwide countries) has valuable potential for making this type of tenure more popular and for avoiding future housing bubbles.



This paper was made possible by the participation of both authors in the Project of the Spanish Ministry of Economy “Reforming housing tenures” (DER2014-55033-C3-1-P) (2015-2017); and the TENLAW Project (2012-2015) of the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission, led by Prof C. Schmid, the University of Bremen. Prof Nasarre is an ICREA Fellow 2016-2020.


Nasarre-Aznar, S. and Molina-Roig, E. (2017), "A legal perspective of current challenges of the Spanish residential rental market", International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 108-122.



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