In Spain you can find somewhere to live in two different ways. The first involves forming part of the national reception program organized by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security. The second alternative consists of renting a home on an individual basis.
The program providing support for applicants and beneficiaries of international protection in Spain is designed to cover the basic needs of this collective by means of a network of reception centres.
The entire reception process is publicly financed by means of subsidies managed by the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration, in other words, the subsidized entities cooperate by conducting comprehensive support projects which include housing, without having their own reception facilities as they lie outside the general system. If there is an entity which provides a reception service on its own account, it is one which does not specialise in the collective.
Depending on your location, some town and city councils, provincial councils and Autonomous Communities manage the above aid and assistance for people in dire need through their Social Services.
The Ministry of Employment and Social Security in Spain has set up Refugee Reception Centres (CAR), establishments which receive refugees and provide them with maintenance support and psychosocial care; After you have gone through a reception centre, there is the possibility of receiving economic aid for a certain period of time, particularly in cases in which there is a duly verified situation of vulnerability.
The program consists of a consecutive series of phases, among which the initial reception is very important, as it provides coverage of your basic needs, psychosocial care and access to the society you have arrived in, which is very useful for acquiring sufficient autonomy before you start out on an independent life. The step prior to gaining access to the resources of the reception process is an assessment of each individual and/or family situation by a professional from the Social Work Unit (UTS), dependent on the Sub-directorate General for the Integration of Immigrants of this General Secretariat, which is located in the Asylum and Refuge Office if you are in Madrid.
In addition, there are reception services and support programs for asylum applicants run by specialist NGOs, which operate throughout the country with responsibility for the management of the initial reception process. They are logically subsidized by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security (MEYSS). They provide homes or residential centres which are located in socially standardized neighbourhoods, an environment where you can access all the complementary services for your integration process and increase your autonomy.
All applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, stateless persons and persons with temporary protection in Spain are eligible to enter the reception centres. Similarly, a set of general basic requirements are established. There may be differences in the provisions in accordance with each profile in order to provide responses tailored to individual needs. As a general rule, the common requirement is a lack of sufficient financial means.
It is important for you to know that beneficiaries of these kinds of services do not choose their location or type of mechanism, although the specific needs of each person are always taken into account.
In Spain anybody can rent a home and the law requires the owner to draw up the contract for a maximum of three years, in accordance with the Law on Urban Leases.
There are other more affordable options, such as sharing a flat, renting a room, etc. Housing prices vary, depending on the neighbourhood and the type of building; it is advisable to compare prices on the different internet search engines.
NGOs can also provide help in choosing an area or finding an affordable rental. They even perform sensitization work with the owners and agencies, making them aware of the necessity of helping people in need.
You can perform the search process by means of the municipal and autonomic social service programs, which generally grant benefits requiring compliance with the requirements of previous census registrations. You can also perform your search with private agencies, which carry out the whole bureaucratic process until the contract is signed. You can also search on websites such as IDEALISTA, FOTOCASA and ENALQUILER, through which you can contact the landlord directly.
The lease contract will be the legal link between the owner (lessor) and the tenant (lessee). This document must contain the identities of the contracting parties, the identification of the property, the length of the contract, the initial rent and other agreed clauses. The contract should also specify which expenses are included in the amount of the lease. It is important to know which invoices you will have to pay (water, electricity, gas, rubbish collection fees, etc.).
In addition to the monthly rental payment and the expenses established in the contract (electricity, water, gas, etc.), the lessee is usually require to pay a deposit on signing the contract, usually equivalent to a monthly payment. The owner deposits it in the Tax Agency and returns it when the lease ends. This deposit serves to ensure compliance with the obligations initially agreed upon in the contract (care for the home and the furniture).