RENTING A FLAT IN BARCELONA: QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING THE VIEWING
I will stop today and focus on some of the important questions to ask the agent/owner during the viewing. Many people don´t ask enough questions which lead to unpleasant surprises when it is too late – especially if you are an expat and don´t know very well how things work in Spain.
First of all, make sure you speak Spanish, have a friend who speaks Spanish with you to the viewing, or use a professional relocation service. The majority of agents don´t speak any English.
My advice is to write down the questions you want to ask – this way you will make sure you won´t forget anything! Another thing we always do is to write down the details of each flat we are visiting such as the price – and always double-check the information with the agent/owner. You will be surprised to find out how many things mentioned in the ad are not exactly true.
What to ask?
After double-checking the information you have, you should ask several important questions:
- Are the “gastos de comunidad” (in English “Building maintenance fees” or “Community administration fees”) included in the price? Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. So always ask. If they are not included you should expect an extra expense of around 40-60 Euros per month.
- In case the flat comes with a garage or parking space, always ask if the garage is included in the price.
- If the flat you are visiting is new, ask if the gas, electricity, water are “dados de alta” – which means if the gas, water, electricity providers already have active contracts with the owner for the flat.
- Check if you will get the flat with all the furniture that is inside, or if you decide to rent it whether you will get it as is.
- In case you don´t like some of the furniture, ask if it is possible to be taken out. Here it usually depends, since some landlords offer to take some of the furniture out, others refuse as they don´t have a place to keep it or for other reasons.
- If certain home appliances or furniture is missing, ask if they are planning to provide one or you will have to buy it.
- How much is the commission of the agency? In most cases, it is 10% of the yearly rent plus tax. Again, double-check this detail.
- Ask what the documents are that you will have to provide in case you decide to rent it. They are pretty standard, but in case this specific owner/agency requires something different or additional, it´s important to know this information.
- If you are planning to enter the flat on 15th or 20th of the month, don´t forget to ask how much they will charge you for that month. Usually, they charge for the corresponding days – you enter on 15th – you pay only for half of the month. But it is not impossible for them to expect from you to pay for the whole month.
- Always discuss when you can enter in the flat. If the flat is already available they will expect you to enter immediately (if not they are losing money). So if the flat is available now, let’s say on the 1st, it is highly improbable that they agree to let you enter on 10th of the next month. So ask and make sure that your plans match with their availability.
There are many more questions you could ask, depending on your specific situation and circumstances. The most important thing to remember is that “there is no such thing as a stupid question”!