The recently reformed Horizontal Property Act, regulates a special kind of property by flats or premises which is the most common one in our towns.
According to this co-ownership system, every owner has on one hand the individual and exclusive property right over his/her dwelling or premise and also, the co-ownership, together with the rest of the owners, over the common elements of the building ( stairs, patios, yards, entrances, elevators, structural elements, power supplies installations,etc).
Every apartment or premise has a quota or share of ownership ( cuota de participación) of the total value of the building, which is the scale to determine the percentage on the community expenses to be paid by each owner.
When you buy an apartment under this Law, you buy both an apartment and a quota or share of ownership over the common elements.
When you are buying a house, you should consult the constitutive title of the horizontal property in the Land Registry.
It is a document which describes the building as a general unit and every flat or premise individually, with indication of surface, floor and anexes such as parking garages, attics or storage rooms.
The proportional share of every flat or premise is fixed having as the calculation base, the net usable area of every flat or premise in relation to the whole building, its interior and exterior location, situation, and the kind of use of common elements that the owner is supossed to be doing in the future.
This title also has certain regulations of the building use, its flats and premises, installations and services, expenses, administration, maintenance and repairs, which constitute the Statutes of the Community of Owners. Every new owner will be bound automatically by the Statutes and the decisions taken at previous meetings.
It is very important to know that this statutes can be modified just by unanimous consent of all the owners. Therefore, for instance, if the statutes prohibit the use the apartments as offices ( open to public), if there is a neighbour who wants to open a practice there, he will have to get the unanimous consent of all the neighbours in a meeting.
If you are purchasing in a new development the rules of the Community must be explained to you and approved on your behalf.
Written by: Maria de Castro
About the author:
Maria de Castro is a Spanish Lawyer and the Director of the Law Firm www.costaluzlawyers.es.
Costa Luz Lawyers are contract and consumer real estate law specialists covering all parts of Spain. You can contact Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org
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