All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

LIFE IN A COMMUNITY OF OWNERS IN SPAIN

Everything you could possibly want to know about living in a community of owners in Spain and what it entails

Neighbours’ dogs bothering you?
19 October 2016

Having dogs that cause discomfort or problems to others in the community has always been a controversial issue, because, at times,  it is very difficult to find a ‘happy medium’ between the pet owners’ rights and the rest of the community members’ right to peace and quiet. 

It is increasingly common to find court rulings which force pet owners to stop having pets i.e., by forcing them not to have dogs in a community for the inconvenience caused to their neighbours. Obviously, these are cases where it would have been proven with hard evidence (reports, photos, sound recordings, etc.,) as well as statements taken from neighbours and police or municipal agents stating that the situation was unbearable.

An example of these rulings is a Judgement of 16th of January 2013 of the  Regional Court of Valencia (Section 7a); in this ruling the importance of evidence in these types of legal cases was clearly stated: “ as factual evidence exists, the facts of which the claimant has used for the basis of applying section 7.2 of the Spanish Horizontal Property Act, documentary evidence as well as reports, such as court statements, especially that of the agent indicated stating that although the three dogs are not causing problems anymore, these problems have been caused in a continuous manner with the constant barking and dripping of urine.”

In the same sense, on the 25th of November 2003 at the Regional Court of Madrid (Section 11) : “It’s been proved by the claimant the existence of this permanent  discomfort to the Community of owners, through the documentary evidence that has been provided (…) in which it is highlighted that from 1992 until the year 2000, several statements have been presented as well as individual and collective complaints, with files for sanctions initiated by the Town Hall, final penalties, with reports and intervention of staff of the municipal police that confirm  the crucial fact of the existence of a large number of dogs inside the property and in the garden,  as the reason for the illicit activity charged.”

In view of the foregoing, it’s clear that in these sorts of legal cases, it’s very important to prove a continuous situation of discomfort and that the affected have acted diligently attempting to put an end to the problems.

It should be noted that prior to obtaining these court judgements, the first step should be to activate the one and only mechanism that is laid down by the  Horizontal Property Act for cases of activities which are disturbing, unhealthy and harmful: this injunction is contained within Article 7.2 of this act.

So, as a preliminary step, the President of the Community should send a written communication to the owner responsible, urging for them to put a stop to the problem.  In the event that such activity does not cease, a general meeting of the owners should be held where if approved by a simple majority, legal proceedings can be initiated in the normal way. The action may be brought against the property owner or against the occupier.

If the case is directed against the property owner and a favourable judgment won, in addition to the definitive cessation of the activity and compensation payable for damages, there could also be the loss of the right to use the property or premises (up to a maximum of three years) depending on the case. If the offender were not the proprietor, the court order could declare, all rights relating to the house or premises as extinguished indefinitely, as well as their immediate eviction.



Like 1        Published at 14:34   Comments (0)


Neighbours - everybody needs good neighbours!
30 May 2016

From sending over a bowl of homemade soup when someone’s feeling poorly to giving sound advice on local schools, doctors, and businesses around your area, a good neighbour knows how to make those around them feel welcome from the start.

So what type of neighbour are you?

The thoughtful giver

Characteristics: Your cupboards are always packed with goodies to take along with you and you keep a stock of greetings cards for every occasion – just in case. Children and pets make you smile.

Thoughtful givers are doers to say the least, and lending a hand comes naturally. If a neighbour is ill, this kind of person may volunteer to do anything from mowing the lawn to cooking a meal. He or she remembers special occasions and won’t hesitate to send a card. When someone nearby has plans to go out of town, one can count on the thoughtful giver to pick up the post, water the plants, or run a small errand while that person is away.

 

The well informed neighbour

Characteristics: You know the best doctors, swimming pool specialists, and mechanics around. You’re part of the community watch programme and take part in all community matters. You know if your neighbour’s ill or is away for holidays.

If there’s anything to know within the community, the informed neighbour will. A great resource for outsourcing outside help, getting great recommendations for local restaurants and more. Knowledge is this person’s greatest contribution. They will also keep an eye on your property when you travel, keep you informed in a positive manner about other neighbours and might even suggest a neighbours get together three or four times a year.

The entertainer

Characteristics: A lover of cooking and entertaining shows. Their dining room/patio is always buffet-ready.

Like the kitchen is said to be the heart of the home, the entertainer’s hospitality thrives best on good food and drink. Though not necessarily the host of every party, this person loves to chat over a good meal, exchange recipes and get to know those nearby through food-related functions. The entertainer is always ready to share a meal if a neighbour pops up out of the blue.

The Newcomer

What if you’ve just moved into the community? Try throwing a welcome gathering or perhaps inviting next door over for dinner. If you’re short on time or find a full dinner to be a bit much, have them over for just a cup of tea. And if you’re not quite ready to have company over, even the smallest steps can make a big impact on your future there- just smiling, waving, and simply asking how they are can really go a long way.

Noisy Neighbours and How to deal with them

Whether the problem be loud music, constant building works or a barking dog—the key to dealing with noisy neighbours is ‘politely’ if you want to stay on good terms with them.

In many cases, your neighbours may not even be aware that they are disturbing you. And on special occasions, like New Year’s Eve, a little extra noise is to be expected of course!

In order to avoid everyday disturbances without damaging your relationship, it’s essential to lay the initial groundwork, by establishing a relationship as early as possible.

Sometimes there is an attitude of ‘each man in his castle’, that we live alone and therefore do not have to consider the needs of others. But this is clearly not the case when you live in a community - so it is important to get along with those who live in close proximity to you. Some ways to do this include:

  • Always be friendly and introduce yourself
  • Invite neighbours to gatherings and events
  • Don’t complain, but rather bring concerns to their attention and suggest solutions
  • Exude model behaviour

And overall, abide by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. Take a moment to evaluate your own habits, too. Could you possibly be a bothering people with your noise?

If all this fails to deal with the problem, then it is time to contact your administrator and get them to take the necessary steps in finding a solution.

 



Like 0        Published at 13:32   Comments (0)


What Can a Community Website Do for Your Community?
23 May 2016

Nowadays almost everyone turns to the internet as their primary source of information be it to find a restaurant telephone number or to check out the daily newspapers.

 With this in mind, most successful communities of owners are also taking advantage of this method of communication, as a way to conveniently share information with all homeowners. Very few people nowadays lack access to the internet in some form or another.

When done properly, a community website that can be accessed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week can provide many benefits to your community and in most instances website maintenance is hassle-free. But, just what type of information should your community website contain?

Below is list of 14 key items which should be included on your existing website or should be taken into account when developing a new one.

  • A welcome page for new homeowners – this is of the upmost importance as it makes newcomers feel welcome and also lets them know the ropes as many will not be familiar with community living
  • Community news- this needs to be kept up to date and can include anything from scheduled pool closures to changes in local bus timetables
  • Community Rules and Regulations – if they are on the website noone has any excuse to say that they didn’t know!
  • Governing documents
  • Architectural forms – for obtaining permissions etc
  • Facilities information including pool hours, where to pick up keys, etc.
  • Rubbish bin emptying  schedules
  • Calendar of events- a great way to advertise general meetings and social events
  • Committee member information- so that everyone can contact the right person should they need to.
  • General meeting minutes
  • FAQs
  • General information i.e. emergency phone numbers
  • Updates on recent repairs/renewals or those to be carried out in the near future
  • A blog where members can post any comments which are relevant to all homeowners

Community websites can be a great way to share important, timely information as well as a great way to create and maintain a sense of community among homeowners.

If you live in a community that isn’t taking advantage of this great communication tool, then speak to your administrator as they may be able to help you. In Resortalia we are currently managing several web pages of Communities and we can assure you that it´s worth the effort! We would be happy to discuss the benefits of a community web site with you personally. You can contact us by following the link shown to the right of this blog. 



Like 0        Published at 09:56   Comments (0)


How to deal with problems in a Community
16 May 2016

Maintaining the Community to a high standard isn’t an easy job and requires all owners to follow some basic ground rules at least.

Painting exteriors in different shades of colour,  late night parties, using the pool outside of hours….. Somewhere in Spain a Community Administrator  is attempting to solve one of these, or similar rule violations.

They’ll be communicating with owners and holding meetings, trying to resolve these issues which can be a headache for those trying to enjoy community living.

A community’s governing documents will establish the aesthetics like architecture, landscaping, painting, and visual standards, and the general living environment – things like noise nuisance protections, smoking restrictions, and quiet enjoyment. All owners agree to follow these governing documents when they join the Community and the President with the help of the Administrator is responsible for ensuring that they do.

However, despite a community’s best efforts, violations will undoubtedly occur from time to time.

So, what are the steps that should be taken when homeowners do violate their community’s rules?

Below are 4 steps of enforcement, but since rules vary from one community to another, you should check with your own committee or administrator for specific advice.

Step 1.Customer service. Not every owner has memorised the community rule book, so they may not know that they’re in violation. That being said, consider human nature and how individuals react to discipline. Are you more or less likely to comply with a rule if your first notice of a violation is rude, aggressive, and threatening? Remember: we are attempting to control an aspect of someone’s home and life – which is a very personal aspect. For proper enforcement, start from the position of politeness and notification. Start with a  friendly notice.

Step 2. Processing and documentation. Despite the friendly warning, the problem is still occurring? Then  it’s time to step up the enforcement process - first a warning, secondly a written  notice – hopefully it won’t come to a final notice??  Proper records need to be kept of all actions in any case – those records will be important later on, especially if the problem persists.

Step 3.Talk it over. If it reaches this far, the  opportunity should be given for a fair hearing and resolution of any violation. At the meeting, the homeowner’s viewpoint should be respected and listened to – there are always two sides to a story after all! A compromise may be able to be reached to  create an easier resolution of the problem and prevent further escalation. But the needs of the rest of the owners should not be ignored though. While the owner attending the hearing may have good reason for paving over their front garden with concrete, consider how that would impact the lives and home values of the other homes in the community?

Step 4 If all else fails…. Notices, hearings, fines, compromises, and long stares around  the pool just aren’t getting the violation resolved?  Then unfortunately, it may be time to consider legal action.

 

If you are experiencing problems in your community then speak to your administrator. They may be able to help you get it resolved quickly and without any upset.



Like 0        Published at 10:51   Comments (0)


Non Payment of Community Fees
02 May 2016

What happens if someone doesn’t pay their community fees?

In different communities, the fees are payable at different intervals – they can be due monthly, quarterly or even annually in some cases- all depending on what is contained in the individual community rules.

Most people pay regularly by direct debit which is often the easiest method as once the direct debit mandate is in place, the administrators can collect the amounts due without any unnecessary delay and with minimal bother to the home owner.

Often there are surcharges and interest payable if payments are made late, again depending on the individual community’s rules and regulations. Having a direct debit set up also avoids this problem.

But what happens when the payments still aren’t made after the due date? What effect will this have on the Community as a whole?

In order for the Community to operate efficiently and smoothly, all income needs to be collected during the financial year as often communities are operating to very tight budgets in order to keep costs down for the individual owners.

If you should find yourself in temporary financial difficulty you should make sure that you communicate this to the administrator as soon as possible. Do not just ignore the problem hoping that it will go away as it will only get worse – the community fees will continue to accrue along with any interest and surcharges which may be applicable. The administrator’s collection department will be able to advise you on the best course of action. It is essential that you also advise them of any change in personal details so that the communication channels between you do not break down.

We as administrators have very strict collection policies as we have seen first-hand the detrimental effect that non-payment of community fees over a long period of time by a significant number of individuals can cause. It doesn’t only result in a lack of funding to keep the community properly maintained, it can cause ill-feeling between the fellow owners – after all, if they are paying their fees so that they can enjoy the amenities then why should others be allowed to enjoy them if they fail to pay?

Many communities try to avoid this problem by creating ways in which the annual use of the amenities can be monitored and only allowing those people up to date with their payments access to these. This is relatively easy to maintain with access to things such as swimming pools and gymnasiums, where entrance is controlled, but more difficult in terms of things like gardens etc. Obviously your administrator will know what the Community’s statutes allow to be restricted in this way for non-payers.

Controlling the collection of monies and bad debts is a key area and one which your administrator should give priority to.

If the non-payment is of a more permanent nature and amounts are still outstanding by the time the AGM is held, those owners with debts will not be able to vote at the meeting. The treatment of these amounts will be discussed at the meeting and whether legal action is to be taken for their recovery or not is also approved.

We will talk in more detail another time about the legal recovery of debts process and what it entails.



Like 0        Published at 14:06   Comments (1)


The Role of An Administrator (administrador de fincas)
05 April 2016

Within most Communities,   the day-to –day running is often carried out by a professional administrator as the work load is just far too much for the President to cope with alone – one person acting voluntarily would not be able to achieve the high level of control and organisation required in keeping a Community running smoothly, all year round, faced with many eventualities and often in many different languages, depending on the nationality of the individual owners.

As well as managing the efficient running of the community’s common elements (such as gardens, pools, walkways etc) they also carry out any other functions as agreed at the Annual General Meetings (AGMs).  For example, it may have been agreed at the AGM that major repair works be carried out within the Community. The Administrator would have already obtained quotes for the works prior to the AGM so that it could be properly approved by the owners. Following the AGM approval, they would then instruct the chosen provider and oversee that the works are correctly carried out and completed.

They usually prepare a budget of estimated expenses for the coming year and present this at the AGM for the members’ approval, who must vote to accept it or not.

They are the best people to prepare these reports as they will have experience and ‘’hands on’’ knowledge of the expenditure which is likely to be incurred during the coming year enabling them to make accurate predictions.

Some administrators, like us, would also use the opportunity of budget preparation to renegotiate contracts or invite tenders for new ones to obtain optimum deals on behalf of the Community and these savings would then be reflected in the budget.

They must keep the records of the community and makes sure that the minutes are properly written up, often acting as Secretary as well for the Community.

All requests and needs of the owners will be directed primarily to the Administrator, so it is important that they are kept up to date with owners personal contact details to allow them to communicate any issues to the necessary people involved.

The Administrator will be re-appointed annually at the AGM if approved by those present.

The administrator must also keep proper accounting records of the community and have them at the disposal of the owners should it be necessary.

As well as calculating the quotas payable by each owner, as approved at the AGM, they will be responsible for collecting these amounts and also following up and collecting by whichever means necessary any unpaid amounts, ensuring that bad debts are kept to a minimum and that all owners are taking on their individual responsibilities in keeping the Community running smoothly.



Like 0        Published at 13:13   Comments (1)


UNDERSTANDING BUDGETS AND QUOTAS
23 March 2016

When you receive notice of the Community’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) approaching, you will normally also be provided with various other sheets of information. If you are lucky enough, these will be in your own language – but even so, the sheer weight of paperwork received (or the large attachment to the email if you receive notifications electronically) can be very confusing and off-putting to many – especially if you have only recently bought the property and are unfamiliar with how the Community of Owners functions.

We have put this article together to try to assist, those of you who aren’t familiar with the process, in a better understanding of the figures provided.

The Budget

Communities vary greatly in size and this of course will affect the complexity of the budget prepared. The budget will usually be created by the administrator, who will have lots of experience in preparing financial information and will also have ‘’hands on’’ knowledge of the expenditure which is likely to be incurred during the year.

Sometimes, it is just a case of estimating the community’s expenditure based on the previous year’s actual results, perhaps allowing for a known price increase which may apply in the next year or other known changes in circumstances.

In other situations, the projections can be more exact i.e. where a contract has already been signed with a supplier such as a gardener or a pool maintenance company- these amounts will be fixed in the contract and the actual costs incurred should not therefore vary from those budgeted.

Some administrators, like us, take this opportunity to renegotiate contracts or invite tenders for new ones to obtain optimum deals on behalf of the Community and these savings will be reflected in the budget.

Once the total costs for all communal expenses are known, the amount payable, known as the quota (cuota in Spanish), by each property owner can then be calculated.

 

 

Community Quotas

Every property within a community is assigned a quota or a percentage (%) share which is detailed in the original Community set up Deed, which would have been drawn up in accordance with the Horizontal Property Law.

When you buy your property and sign the purchase deed before a Notary, your property’s share in the community will be included in the document for your information.

These quotas are often based on the surface area of your property in relation to the total surface area of all the properties in the community, but may also take account of which floor the property is on, its orientation and the views amongst other things. The costs will be allocated to you in relation to your official % share based on all of the factors stated above. (Please note that your quota is also relevant when voting at the AGM as the larger your quota, the greater weight your vote will have).

During the AGM the budget and the individual quotas will be reviewed and approved. If the quota has changed from the previous year, the new amount will be made known and also an explication may be given on how and when this new amount will be effective from. This is important to note, as the AGM is usually held during the financial year in which the budget relates to. The new quotas cannot be implemented until the budget has been agreed at the AGM. In the meantime the previous year’s quotas can continue to be charged until the new amounts are approved.

Payment of the Quota

These can be paid monthly, two-monthly or even quarterly, depending on the Community Rules. Most people these days pay by direct debit – in fact several communities offer incentives for owners who pay in this way so that the administration of collecting the quotas is made easier, especially where there are several foreign owners who may only be at the property now and again for holidays, and it also helps to control the level of bad debts arising.

 

As the AGM is held part way through the year, your quota will be adjusted to the new level agreed at the AGM at the first available opportunity and as stated above, there may be an adjustment to bring this in line with the new rates agreed.

 

If you require any further information on budgets and quotas then please contact us and we will be happy to provide you with the answers.

 



Like 0        Published at 17:28   Comments (0)


The Community of Owners’- Representatives and their duties
23 February 2016

The President

The President is normally elected at the AGM by vote.

However, if this isn’t possible, he or she can also be determined by rotation or a ‘draw’.  This means that you could end up being the Community president for a year whether you want to or not!

It can be very difficult to be released from this obligation and often the President has to dedicate quite a lot of time to the role, with very little thanks for the work done; it is not a commitment to be taken lightly!

The administrator

Whilst not a legal obligation to appoint one, most communities of owners (except the very small ones) will have to do so, as the administrator will take on responsibility for much of the day to day running of the community, relieving the Committee members of many tasks which they would simply not have the time to do, due to the sheer volumes of work involved, especially in the very large urbanisations. It is common for the Administrator to also take on the role of Secretary for the Community.

The Administrator is known as the ‘Administrador de la Comunidad de Propietarios’ in Spanish and they should be qualified as an administrator of communities of owners (‘Administrador de Fincas’), and should also be a registered member of the ‘Colegio de Administradores de Fincas Rústicas y Urbanas’  which is an official governing body of community administrators.

It will be their duty to look after all the legal aspects of running the community to make sure everything complies with Spanish property Law.

Additionally, they will keep all of the legal documents relating to the Constitution of the Community of Owners and have the keys to all public and utility access points.

They are also legally responsible for the monthly/quarterly/annual collection of the community charges. Spanish law dictates the recovery procedures permitted of outstanding debts, so they would ensure adherence to the law in the recovery process.

There may be other duties which they also control such as dealing directly with supplier’s contracts (e.g. pool maintenance).

Other Representatives

Sometimes other representatives are appointed by the Community of Owners at the Annual General Meeting to act on behalf of the Community as a whole throughout the year.

Whoever is chosen as a representative has to be a property owner themself, and be appointed by the other property owners.

 

 

The obligations and rights of the President, Secretary and other Representatives

In summary, they are responsible for the smooth running of the community of property owners by:

  • Making sure decisions taken at meetings are implemented
  • Agreeing the annual budget.
  • Ensuring that the Administrator is doing their duty.
  • Making decisions on day to day issues that come to their attention.
  • Organising extraordinary general meetings as necessary.
  • Keeping other property owners informed of important decisions or changes that have to be made.
  • Taking legal action if necessary to enforce community rules.

This involves regular committee meetings and following the community statutes and bylaws in the decision making process.

 

Taking part in your Community will ultimately make it a more pleasant place to be. So try and get involved! By taking part you can meet lots of likeminded people and make sure that you are getting the most out of your property in Spain, whether you live here all year round or just come for holidays.

 



Like 0        Published at 13:13   Comments (2)


The Annual General Meeting of Owners (AGM)
12 February 2016

Whether you live in Spain all year round or just use your property as a holiday home or even rent it out, you should be aware of one of the most important community events of the year – the AGM.

This is your opportunity as an owner to attend and meet up with the Committee and Administrators face-to-face, who work hard all year round to maintain the Community and ensure its smooth running, along with other owners. Important community issues will be discussed at length and it is important for you to be there, to take part and to vote accordingly – to have your say in how the community should be run. For various reasons, many people don’t attend and vote at these meetings, and often they are the ones you will hear moaning about things not being done to their liking when they arrive for their holiday!!  Often the excuse is that they didn’t know that it was going to be held, or that they don’t really want to take part in community affairs. However, by being an owner in a community means that you are involved in that community from day one and it is in your best interests to take an active part.

The Law which governs the holding of meetings in Communities is the Horizontal Property Law (‘Ley de Propiedad Horizontal’ in Spanish). Additionally, specific statutes and Bylaws may be drafted by the community of owners governing such things as the organisation of meetings and this is discussed in more detail below.

When is the AGM?

An AGM must be held at least once a year primarily to approve the accounts for the past year and the budget for the forthcoming one. The date will vary amongst communities, but will normally be fixed at a time when maximum attendance is most likely.

In addition to this, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) may be called at any other time during the year if requested by owners holding 25% or more of the votes.

How will I know about it?

When you become an owner in a Community, your lawyer should have provided the Administrators with your personal contact details, both for postal communications and email. Obviously the preferred method these days is electronic communication as it is quicker and so much cheaper than using the post, especially with the large volumes of international post that it would involve. It is your job to ensure that you keep the Administrators up to date with any changes so that you don’t miss out on any news and notices which they send you.

The notification of the meeting (‘notice’)that they send you will contain details of when and where the meeting will be held, and usually, especially in larger communities, it will all be in your own language. The notice should also appear on the Community Notice Board as well.

By Law, a minimum of 3 days’ notice must be given for the AGM. As this short period creates logistical problems for non-resident owners, communities with a high proportion of these owners may include in their Bylaws a more realistic notice of, say, 14 days. There’s freedom and flexibility to this rule as each community deems fit in accordance with their own needs and circumstances.

The notice will also contain the ‘Agenda’ for the meeting so that you will know exactly what will be discussed on the day. It is the Chairman’s job to make sure that these items are adhered to, especially important for those who are not in attendance, as they would otherwise claim that they hadn’t been correctly notified.

A typical agenda may include:

  1. Reading (and approval ) of the previous General Meeting minutes (not compulsory)
  2. Approval of the previous financial year’s accounts
  3. Approval of the current financial year’s budget and changes to community fee charges
  4. Discussion and approval of debtors (i.e. those owners who owe community fee charges) and judicial action proposed for the recovery of the debts (note that anyone in debt to the community of owners at the beginning of the meeting will not have the right to vote at that meeting. It is therefore extremely important that you make sure that your fees are fully paid up in good time before the meeting).
  5. Renewal or reelection of the various Committee members and Administrators
  6. Specific Important issues which need voting on affecting the community as a whole, for example proposed building works and pool timetable changes etc.
  7. Any other business (not compulsory)

Appointing a Representative or Proxy if unable to attend

If you find that you are unable to attend and vote at the meeting, then do not worry as all is not lost! You are entitled to appoint another person to attend and vote in your place which is known as appointing a proxy. There are specific rules governing how you need to notify this appointment, and these should be laid out in the notice of the meeting.

 

Minutes of the Meeting

After the meeting is held, the secretary of the meeting, who will have kept a record of the discussions, will circulate copies of the minutes (once approved) to all owners, even those who didn’t attend.  You should check them and keep them safely as a record and also note the date of the next AGM, if one was decided during the meeting, so that you can plan ahead for attending next time.

 

 

 



Like 0        Published at 12:58   Comments (11)


Community of Owners - What does it mean??
02 February 2016

Those of you who have spent a long time here in Spain will probably already know exactly what a ‘community of owners’ is and how it operates. But there are many people for whom it is a big surprise and something which they have never come across before.

A community of owners is a legal entity made up of all the property owners in the same building or urbanisation and is governed by the rules and by-laws agreed by them. While it is not physically an independent legal person, it retains many of its features, which enables it to perform certain legal transactions, such as operate a bank account and contract for services etc.

Those of you who have lived in a block of flats in the UK may be more familiar with the idea, as you will have been responsible for paying service charges in respect of the building’s common areas such as gardening, lifts and lighting. These areas and costs relate solely to that building, which means that the local council won’t be responsible for their upkeep or bear the cost. Instead, the costs have to be shared amongst the individual owners.

However, for those of you who have only ever lived in a house, this concept is probably a completely new one.

Here in Spain, it isn’t just flats and apartment blocks which are affected, but any property which is part of a development, otherwise known as an urbanisation. This means that the property owner does not only own their home, but also a share of the communal parts of the building or urbanisation, including entrance halls, passages, lifts, terraces, gardens, sports facilities (such as swimming pools and tennis courts) and sometimes even the roads.

In general, the only properties that don’t belong to a community of owners are detached houses built on individual plots in public streets or on rural land.

When you buy a community property you automatically become a member of the community of owners and this applies to two-thirds of foreign property owners in Spain.

So it is of upmost importance to find out exactly how being a part of a community will affect you and what it will add to your monthly or quarterly costs of maintaining your home abroad.

In Spain, where there is a community of owners (called a ‘comunidad de propietarios’ in Spanish), there is a law which governs how these costs and the running of the community shall be carried out. This is known as the Horizontal Property Law (‘Ley de Propiedad Horizontal’ in Spanish), and this applies in all areas of Spain, except Catalonia. In addition to these laws, specific statutes are drafted by the community of owners governing the organisation and minimum standards expected of residents, landlords and tenants alike. For example the swimming pool timetable, security measures and colours of external walls, types of fencing etc. In many cases these serve to set standards and avoid conflicts of interests which may otherwise arise.

The main points of interest governed by these laws are:

  1. Property owners are required to represent their community as presidents or secretaries. Communities can establish criteria through their bylaws for regulating the rotation of duties, length of service required etc.
  2. Every owner is obliged to contribute to the cost of the community in accordance with their share as established by the horizontal law of division.
  3. An Annual General Meeting shall be held at least once a year to approve the budgets and accounts. Other meetings may be held (by request of the Chairman or owners, but subject to certain criteria).
  4. A property buyer is responsible for the seller’s outstanding debts with the community of owners on the date of purchase which is why the seller is obliged to provide a certificate of debts, unless they are expressly exempted from this obligation by the buyer. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on this matter and is in fact obliged to inform the community of owners of any changes in ownership.
  5. The day to day management of the community is usually carried out by an Administration Company (‘Administración de Fincas’ in Spanish). The Administrator shoudl be registered on the "Colegio de Administradores de Fincas" (Official Association of Administrator) as a guarantee of knowledge, quality and good performance.


Like 1        Published at 14:05   Comments (1)


Spam post or Abuse? Please let us know




This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x