Community charges..... non-payers....direct action?

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22 Jan 2008 23:31 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6943 posts Send private message

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26 Feb 2008 20:09 by cooberpedy Star rating. 91 posts Send private message

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Hi.  I know most of what I am about to ask has probaby been covered here or elsewhere but can anyone direct me to the thread or tell me what happens when the community finally runs out of money?  our president has just posted on our community website the fact that our community ( two blocks of apartments  about 75 in total) now has 2 euro's left in its accounts.!!  Over 20 owners have not paid fees since the start of the community in 2006 ( two years fees now outstanding).

Shouldn't the administrators have started proceedings long before this? 

What should the other community members now be asking of the president/administrator.?

We have paid our fees on first call each year, and are feeling really worried as we have a fairly full rental book from March to end of August, so if the community is unable to pay the bills for cleaning, pool maintenance, and lifts,  are we going to have to start cancelling bookings?

I'd be glad of some advice ( reasurrance wouldn't be bad either!!)

von





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26 Feb 2008 20:40 by Karensun Star rating in Orihuela Costa. 1476 posts Send private message

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The community should have voted to take legal action against non-payers at an AGM, this gives the Presidente authority to act on the community's behalf ( although legal action takes an age in Spain )

The Administrators take their instruction from your elected Presidente.

It would have been handy if your Presidente had 'seen' this situation coming and adjusted the finances accordingly, ie., cut down on non-essentials or varied the contracts but it's probably too late for that now ( sorry if that's not reassuring!).

I don't know what can be done now cos it sounds as though you have big problems..................I know that communities can borrow money, but that is probably not a good idea in principal given your current economic situation.

You must approach your Presidente and / or Administrator and ask what contingency plans they have, especially as you have paid your fees..........you have a right to know where the money has gone and what will happen next.

Please let us know what happens.



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26 Feb 2008 22:24 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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I would imagine any community where about a third of all members are not paying their dues is going to run into difficulties pretty quickly, unless the annual budget was calculated anticipating this.

Definitely, the community should by now have started proceedings against the non-payers, especially since, as Karen said, it can take a long time to recover the outstanding debt through the legal process. I wasn't aware that communities can borrow money, since it is notoriously difficult to recover the money.

I'm sorry I can't offer any advice or reassurance either, but since you have a legitimate concern about the continuity of facilities, I would suggest you get in touch with your president and/or administrator ASAP to find out what's going on. Did the post on the community website not offer any insight into what course of action is planned? Maybe an emergency meeting is needed.

Unfortunately the only immediate solution that springs to mind is for the "good" payers to stump up next year's quota in advance to cover essential bills and maintenance, while the administrator sets about recovering the overdue amounts from the bad payers - hopefully plus a fine of some sort agreed by a vote at an emergency meeting.

I hope the situation gets resolved swiftly, and that it doesn't affect your rentals.

P.S. love your avatar - kind of sums up Spain at times!

P.S.S. interesting username, too. Curious place!




This message was last edited by Roberto on 2/26/2008.

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27 Feb 2008 10:16 by bluefox Star rating. 50 posts Send private message

hiya folk's, this community fee problem seem's bigger across spain than i could have imagined, but since i was elected pres. of our complex i'm slowly realising the problem it is, in our case we have our admin. who has a lawyer working along side him, a team so to speak, and up to now it seem's to work well, and true, the process of the court's is so slow, i reckon alot of community's sort of give up. what make's the honest owner's "blood boil" is these non payer's "prancing" around the complex with not a care in the world, if i had my way, i'd turn off elec. water etc. but apparently spanish law won't let you do this, i think this should be changed, it would certainly be better than all this "red tape" trying to drag it thru' the court's, if we had the power to make apts. etc inhabitable, until such time these parasite's start to pay there due's. we live in hope. regard's bluefox.



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27 Feb 2008 19:25 by liz Elford Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

Hi we have been told by our acting president that nothing can be done to recover fees until the AGM in May, we will have been established as a community for a year and I guess wil have more of an idea of what costs have been incurred througout the year etc, its difficult when your a holiday home owner as you don't get to know everything that is going on. I think that decisions have been made within our community without giving all owners the opportunity to comment.

Also it is very frustrating to think that facilities such as pool maintenance may be withdrawn if fees are not paid and the non payers should feel disgusted with themselves to have the audacitiy to use facilities they are not paying for. We have yet to pay our second half year payment as we wanted to find out what steps where going to be taken to recover the outstanding fees from the 16 owners who have yet to pay the first installment, however we will pay on our visit next week as we really dont want to see the community in trouble.

We would like to restrict pool use but understand that this is illegal, however, many of us owners are of the opinion if the owners are not willing to pay their fees, are unlikely to pay a solicitor to act on their behalf to be able to gain access to community facilities, so what do you do for the best......





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27 Feb 2008 20:16 by bobaol Star rating. 2172 posts Send private message

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I note that one community in Quesada issues keys to the pool area.  Only those that have paid their fees will be issued with a key.  I guess this means new locks every year (and the possibly hundreds of keys) and the admin nightmare of ensuring keys are issued to all the holiday makers coming in.  Seems to work for them, though.  We have a list of debtors posted around our community, on gate, notice boards etc, and I am constantly amazed at the number of defaulters and the length of time they have been on the list for.  I also think it a bit daft to run up such big bills when the six monthly fee (€200) is quite reasonable.  I wonder if they realise they won't be able to sell the property without a certificate to say that the fees are up to date?

I also think your administrators need a kick up the pants to chase up these defaulters who either do it because they are unaware (unlikely) or think they can get away with it.





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27 Feb 2008 21:03 by liz Elford Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

Thanks bobaol

We are quiet close to Quesada and as a small community only 63 properties in total, many of us feel this would work for us, at the end of the day a new lock and 63 keys would probably amount to no more than 100 euros per year and perhaps this may encourage our owners especially those who rent on a regular basis to pay up front as if we don't do something it will be very frustrating to be sitting next to someone at the poolside who hasnt paid.

I can't wait to visit next month to take our name of the wall of shame! We have witheld our second payment and are now 6 weeks overdue as we wanted some assurance that steps were being taken to collect the outstanding fees from the 16 owners who havent paid their first installment. I think its about time something was written into the sale contract that the fees are legally binding and perhaps if a new community is formed the first few years could be covered in the sale of the property to ensure that a community can be well and truly established before running into dificulties. I guess we have to realise that things in Spain take time.

Let's hope our little urbanisation in Catral surivies its first year as we feel we have grown to love our Spanish village and community in the sun and it would be a shame to see our communal areas deteriorate, so come on all you non payers don't spoil it for everyone else, these charges are only a fraction of what we pay in the UK!





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27 Feb 2008 21:15 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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I hope the system of keys works out for that community. A large (500+ units) complex near me (I used to own a property there) put up, at great expense, fences and turnstiles around the pools a couple of years ago, and issued electronic cards to operate the turnstiles, that could be activated and de-activated by a central computer. Apart from a few fence jumpers, and people passing their cards through the fence to their mates, it seemed to work reasonably well for the first summer. Now however it seems competely broken down, and the gates are permanently open. A lot of money wasted, it would seem, in a community where some owner's debts are already into 5 figures! (I no longer own there, thank goodness!)

Some communities work well, but most have their problems. My experience has taught me that you are probably best off buying in a building with as few communal facilities as possible to maintain. Gardens and pools are very nice, but can be a nightmare to control, and there's nothing worse than an empty derelict pool and unkempt gardens.

We are approaching the end of our community's financial year (and this president's term?), and I'm pleased to report that we have NO debts or unpaid fees. However, we will probably only have about 2 euros left in the bank by the end of March, and of course nobody will like hearing that next year's fees will have to go up - again. We're already paying about 100 euros a month, so as Bobaol says, it's incredible that some people won't even pay much smaller amounts, especially as it's in their own best interest to maintain and protect their investment.



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27 Feb 2008 21:38 by cooberpedy Star rating. 91 posts Send private message

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Hi and thanks to everyone for pitching in with advice.  Some of your stories don't make happy reading as we are only just coming to the end of 2 years as a community, and it seems this could go on for a very long time. 

 If the community has no money - how does the administrator get paid?  don't tell me - they take their cut first ?

This looks like being a long and fraught summer period - most of the community rent their apartments fully in the summer months - its going to be fun telling customers that the green pool is a decorative feature!! and the fact that the lift doesn't work is a health measure.

que sera, sera!

von





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17 Mar 2008 20:45 by cooberpedy Star rating. 91 posts Send private message

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Sorry to crawl out of the woodwork again - but on the subject of administrators, can anyone tell me who regulates the administrative companies that work for communities?

Not wholly sure yet, but there may be a whiff of a suggestion that all is not kosher with our community administrator, unfortunately they are one of the biggest on the mar menor, and seem to be extremely powerful.

just wondering if there is a governing body to whom complaints (if there are any) should be addressed.





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18 Mar 2008 01:25 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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Not sure, but you could perhaps try this: http://www.coafmu.es/

 



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18 Mar 2008 06:56 by FibbyUK Star rating in UK, Surrey & Playa F.... 2351 posts Send private message

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Have read this thread with some interest, as we have some non payers in our community.

We too have pools keys, but not for a full year yet, so it will be interesting to see what develops.

As for non payers, I am no expert, only know bits & bobs through chats with our Presidente......................

But in the long term, the community can put an embargo (is that the right word?) on their property.

The community can take possesion of it, board it up to prevent access and ultimately sell it with the monies going into community funds.

Phew, lucky I pay my fees, we fly out today and would be gutted if the front door was nailed up!



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18 Mar 2008 07:31 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 8580 posts Send private message

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The place to complain/claim against Administradores de Fincas is the Colegio de Administradores as Roberto has very well said and Consumers Offices too.

Best,
Maria

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18 Mar 2008 09:19 by cooberpedy Star rating. 91 posts Send private message

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I knew I could rely on EOS members to come good, thanks everyone. Hopefully my jittery feelings are misplaced, but going on the lack of help we have had from the administrators re chasing up our non-payers, I feel I am right to be a bit wary,  They know that they are looked to to provide sound fiscal advice to communities - and are trusted to work on the communities behalf - if we start to get inklings that all is not as it should be, then I think our president would be wise to look to the college and consumer offices.

Fibby, the embargo of the property, is a million miles away from the first couple of years of non-payment, and very much depends upon how proactive the community is and how much influence they have with their administrators - in the meantime the galling fact of the matter is that those people are entitled to use their property and rent it out,  as well as using  all the community amenities and no-one is allowed to make any attempt to stop them without running the risk of finding themselves denounced.  Mad or what???





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18 Mar 2008 09:44 by FibbyUK Star rating in UK, Surrey & Playa F.... 2351 posts Send private message

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Thought that was a long way down the line, told you I was no expert!

Personally, if I had not paid my community fees, I wouldn't have the bare faced cheek to use the amenities.

I would even feel shame faced to arrive an use my apartment.

So these people who do not pay, are not nice people anyway.

Good luck with it, hope you get a solution.

Kind regards,



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18 Mar 2008 15:51 by Karensun Star rating in Orihuela Costa. 1476 posts Send private message

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The speed at which an embargo can be placed on a property ( by the Court ) depends entirely on how soon your community has instigated legal proceedings and how long it takes the court to give judgement.

Apparently, if the debt is over 300€ the community does not have to pay anything to instigate the proceedings and at the 1st AGM after the debt has reached this figure the community of owners can vote to give the Presidente the authority to take these debtors to Law.

From the point of view of with holding facilities from debtors, by law, you cannot do it...........however fustrating this is, it's just against the law.



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18 Mar 2008 17:26 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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Maria, the link I gave earlier was for the Murcia region colegio de adminstradores (because Cooberpedy is in Mar Menor area*), but I was unable to find, with a quick Google search, if there is a central body to which complaints should be directed. Is it correct that each region has it's own colegio overseeing administrators?

Although it's going slightly off-topic, this thread is interesting in that it seems to have exposed yet another issue that many property owners are disappointed and disillusioned with, namely community administrators. Does anybody here have anything good to say about theirs? Do others feel like I do, that too much responsibility is dumped on the president, who is usually an unwilling "volunteer", is unpaid, unqualified, inexperienced and in quite a few instances not even necessarily able to speak Spanish.

I only have limited experience of how the equivalent of a community operates in the UK (and that's from quite a few years ago), but I'm fairly sure that the management company of a block of flats looks after pretty much everything, and the secretary/treasurer/president or whatever he/she is referred to, basically just checks the accounts and authorises the budget. Why does it seem to me that here in Spain, professional, qualified paid-for administrators have to be coaxed to do even the most obvious and elementary tasks involved in running a community, let alone get stuck into the less savoury aspects?

Comments?

*Before any smart ar*e mentions it, I know Cooberpedy is actually in Australia and not Murcia, but I'm referring to the EOS member, not the town!



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19 Mar 2008 09:26 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 8580 posts Send private message

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http://www.cgcafe.org/indexx.htm

Roberto:

Above is the website of the General Council of Property Administrators of Spain. Not in English, buy we couls contact them and request an english version due to the great number of property owners in Spain.

I agree with you on that this activity needs more proffessionalism.

Best Semana Santa,

Maria

This message was last edited by mariadecastro on 3/19/2008.

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19 Mar 2008 18:18 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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Thanks for that Maria, I've added it to my "favourites"! Some useful links (enlaces) on that site, too. For example, all the various region's own colleges. So, should complaints be directed to the regional college first?

A translation of at least the homepage, explaining their function etc., may be interesting for members to read.

¡Feliz fiestas!

Roberto



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