Cover letter and bank statements for rent: is it legal to ask for them?

Tension in the rental market, with less supply in some big cities, has put landlords in a position where they can choose between tenants.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
23 May 2022 Monday 21:46
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Cover letter and bank statements for rent: is it legal to ask for them?

Tension in the rental market, with less supply in some big cities, has put landlords in a position where they can choose between tenants. Looking for the best candidate, with stability and without risk of default, in some cases they require more and more documents to guarantee their financial capacity. From the latest payslips and the income statement, the cover letter and bank statements have also been included. Something that, although it is not illegal, would collide with the right to privacy and would close doors to low incomes.

“The property sees that it is increasingly difficult for them to kick out a tenant if they default, there are more legal obstacles. It seeks to guarantee stability by selecting a lot, with sufficient purchasing power. He is interested in someone who has been here for many years and with whom he can achieve the profitability he is after”, argues Arantxa Goenaga, a partner at the Círculo Legal office in Barcelona. "They want to confirm that they have guaranteed and continuous income," says Óscar Muñiz, franchisee of Tecnocasa.

Thus, payrolls, income statements, guarantees and in some cases bank statements or a cover letter are requested, which draws a profile so that the landlord can go beyond cold figures. When do you want to move into the house, how many years do you plan to stay, a commitment to be a model neighbor, life and work prospects...

Is it legal to have to present yourself or offer so much information? “It is not regulated. It depends on whether or not each one gives up the data, and this may go against their privacy. It is an excessive inspection, which enters into privacy. With the economic data you can know if you have solvency”, says Goenaga. Not accessing takes away from the authentic casting of candidates that can be formed. “Delinquency is used as an excuse for high demands”, denounces Enric Aragonès Jové, spokesman for the Sindicat de Llogateres de Catalunya.

There is no other option if you want to continue opting for housing. “The interested party is left in a situation of vulnerability, without so many tools to negotiate. It is not illegal, they do not force you, but if you do not give the information they do not rent you, it is abusive ”, he continues. Regarding the letter or the extracts, "steps on the line of the right to privacy", he values. Some may also ask for references to owners who have previously rented to the candidate, adds Muñiz, who points out that some tenants present the letter of their own free will, without being required to do so.

With the interested parties defined, in some cases the real estate agency filters and screens profiles to present them to the owner. "They play with the expectation, stress is generated," believes Aragonès. The stricter process can work against low rents and make it difficult to become independent. It can also "be a source of discriminatory practices."

If the signature is reached, the disbursement begins. Normally, the required one or two months of bail are requested – although additional guarantees can be requested, something that is not usual, Muñiz points out – one in advance and another 10% of the annuity for the intermediary agency. From the Sindicat they warn that if the owner is a company, he would have to bear this last expense, more common to impute to the interested party when the parties are individuals.

Before signing, it is recommended to review clauses that could be abusive, such as penalties for leaving the home before the end of the contract – today they are 5 or 7 years – or the obligation to take out insurance. In this sense, continuing with the search for security, it is becoming more and more common for rent non-payment protection insurance to be taken out. They are about 400 euros per year for rents of 800-900 euros, which cover up to 12 months if the tenant stops paying, explains Muñiz. The owner pays it, but "it can be negotiated that the tenant does it."

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