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Community Life in Spain
03 November 2011 @ 11:25

Many foreigners purchase property in Spain. Some live abroad full time, I am one of them and others are part time, perhaps escaping the winter months. Whereas once the foreign areas were fairly separate from the Spanish neighbourhoods, over the last 10 year I´ve noticed that the trends have changed, the taste and budget of buyers are different. While the foreign communities are still lived in by and occupied by foreigners, in those same areas many Spaniards have acquired second holiday homes, bringing together a mixture of Spanish and foreign nationalities in those areas.

 

Well in Spain all communities, residential urbanisations or blocks of flats are all governed by the Horizontal Property Law, in Spanish “Ley Horizontal de Propiedad” This is similar to the commonhold law in UK,
Germany and elsewhere. All communities must elect a president and if necessary, a vice president and committee. These roles are decided by the owners; the president is the person in authority for
that community. The president also may appoint an administrator (known in Spain as Administrador de fincas) to deal with all the book keeping and maintenance of the community.


Community life in Spain can be a hit and miss depending on your president and administrator.
I moved to Spain just over 10 years ago. While many things are available on the internet, the community for
homeowners seems to have lagged behind. Everything is usually on paper and there were no tools or shortcuts. Usually all meetings have to be face to face which can be difficult when travelling or
working. In the past four or five years, I have seen that finally communities are slowly catching up and are now using the Internet to their benefit. Whether the community is all Spanish or a mixture of Spanish and foreigners, the communication within the community is vital. In the early days of me owning a Spanish home my community was active and used an online software called MyCasaonline (www.mycasaonline.es) . It was an online based website that allowed each owner to login and see their community fees, comment on all the issues and vote for the various projects at that time online. Since I moved to Granada 6 years ago the apartment block where I live has a less active community of homeowners and they are not as interested, however we have still setup a website for ourselves using Urbytus (www.urbytus.es). The Software is actually multilingual and offers the same facilities. A friend of mine in Madrid is using Votoweb.com and I have managed to find others available such as accured.com and vecinos.net which offer a similar service.

 

What is most important is that if you decideto buy a property in Spain to live in, or maybe as an investment, you should push to get your committee setup on an online website. This will allow you to be informed about what is happening when you are not there, should you work and travel such as myself or be a part time expat, it will also help with transparency too. If the Neighbourhood committee resists such a move, then you can get together with some of the other owners and setup your website: There are plenty of free services like Urbytus which will allow you to setup a place to communicate online straightaway.

 

Having a website for your community ensures a better interaction in between owners. Even if you live in the community permanently it helps, it can even help to reduce your community fees if you begin to use it as a full online system.



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2 Comments


Jim English said:
29 January 2012 @ 18:38

How big is your community?. We have 14 flats (5 British), 4 locals ( 2 occupied) and an underground garage with 28 plazas. I think it would be too small for the system to be valuable, alto' existing communications are very limited. For my sins, I am Administrador but, with other commitments, find it too time-consuming. Presidents rarely do anything and I am just losing a very good Treasurer(retiring for more free time).


piccavey said:
29 January 2012 @ 18:58

Hi,

actually my block is of a similar size, 2 local (shops) 14 garage spaces below the building and 20 flats.

This system has worked particularly well with the people who rent the parking spaces but don´t live in the flats. They have to pay some extra maintenance occasionally but weren´t attending the community meetings.

Maybe you could trial the system, as it is free, if you don´t find it to an advantage you won´t have lost anything.

I think people don´t really enjoy having to attend the community meetings and it is difficult to get everyone there for voting etc.

Rgds from Granada
Molly


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