Features of renting in Europe: tenant's rights and owner's interests

In European countries, the housing rental system has its own peculiarities. In particular, the rights of tenants are carefully protected by law. This is undoubtedly a plus for those who rent housing, but at the same time, it introduces additional complexities for owners. Landlords must be prepared for the fact that in some cases their interests will be secondary, and they will need to thoroughly understand the legal nuances to minimize risks.

Date: 01 November

Tenant Protection: The European Context

The European housing rental market is renowned for its unique approach to protecting tenant rights. This approach is based on the continent's long history and cultural values, where the pursuit of social justice and equality is paramount.

According to the European Commission, about 30% of the European Union's population lives in rented apartments or houses. This underscores the importance of this issue for a significant portion of the continent's population.

In several European countries, like Germany, landlords face several restrictions. They can only evict a tenant through court in cases of serious lease violations. If the reason for eviction is the landlord's desire to earn more profit, such an action will be deemed illegal.

In France, tenants also have substantial rights. There is the so-called "winter moratorium" – a period during which evictions from residential spaces are prohibited. This moratorium is in effect from November 1 to March 31, protecting tenants from being evicted during the colder months. Evictions at other times can only proceed with a court decision, and this process can be time-consuming.

In Spain, the eviction process can take a long time due to bureaucratic obstacles, and tenants are given significant grace periods to pay off debts before eviction.

In the Netherlands, landlords need to obtain a court's permission to evict a tenant, even if there's evidence that the tenant hasn't paid the rent or has violated the lease terms.

Risks for Landlords

Such legislative practices pose risks for property owners. Tenants, aware of their rights, may exploit them to their advantage.

How to Protect Yourself?

Renting out property in Europe can be profitable, but it requires special attention to various aspects to safeguard oneself from potential risks. Here are the key points to focus on:

  1. Thorough examination of the country's legislation. Before investing in rental property, it's essential to thoroughly study the local legislation. Different countries have their own laws that govern the relationship between tenant and landlord.
  2. Detailed drafting of the contract. Your contract should be exhaustive, covering all potential situations that could arise during the rental process. This includes living rules, termination conditions, duties, and responsibilities of the parties. If you plan to change tenants in the future, opt for a medium-term rental agreement.
  3. Choosing a reliable tenant. When selecting a tenant, pay attention to recommendations from previous landlords, check their credit history, and any potential debts. This will help you make the right choice.
  4. Consulting with a lawyer. While the cost of legal advice may seem high, in the long run, it can save you much more money and stress.
  5. Property insurance. When renting out your property, consider insuring against various risks, including damages, fires, or legal disputes.
  6. Creating a financial reserve. Unforeseen circumstances can arise at any time. Always have a certain amount set aside for emergencies to cover potential expenses or loss of income.
  7. Regularly updating knowledge. Legislation and market conditions are constantly changing. Stay informed with news and updates to always be aware of the latest changes.
  8. Engaging with the community. Joining landlord associations or interest groups can provide you access to valuable information, advice, and resources to help you successfully manage your rental business.


The European housing rental market is undoubtedly attractive to investors due to its potential and stability. However, there are nuances. When wishing to rent out property in Europe, it's essential to take into account the specifics of local legislation and the cultural peculiarities of the country. For instance, in many European countries, there is a practice of long-term rentals, which can be extremely beneficial for the tenant but poses risks for the owner. Moreover, it's crucial to be diligent in choosing a tenant and drafting a contract to avoid potential conflicts in the future. All in all, by approaching the matter of renting out property in Europe comprehensively and responsibly, one can secure a stable and reliable source of income.

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