Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defending his economic plan. | Chema Moya

Spain will extend a series of measures aimed at protecting vulnerable tenants from eviction and rent hikes by three months, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday, as the pandemic continues to hurt the economy.

"The coalition government is committed to ... ensuring the constitutional right to decent housing," Sanchez, a Socialist, told lawmakers.

Under the current programme, vulnerable tenants are protected from eviction and can apply for a moratorium or partial cancellation of their rent if their landlord owns more than 10 properties, over 1,500 square metres of property, or is a public entity.

They can also extend their existing rental contracts by six months under the same conditions.

Introduced during the early days of Spain's coronavirus crisis in March 2020, the measures have been repeatedly extended and were set to expire on May 9, when a national state of emergency ends.

However, a year of battling the COVID-19 pandemic has left hundreds of thousands of Spaniards out of a job and many more on furlough, prompting the left-wing coalition to extend social protections.

Faced with a slower than expected recovery from 2020's historic contraction, the government recently scaled back its expectations for economic growth in 2021 and extended the national furlough scheme beyond its planned expiry at the end of May.