Conflict in the Community

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23 Jul 2008 00:00 by Suzi Star rating in La Cala de Mijas. 23 posts Send private message

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We have owned a small terraced house in a community near La Cala de Mijas on the Costa del Sol for the past five years, and moved to Spain permanently last August (2007). In June I had the dubious pleasure of attending my first community meeting and what a shock it was! There were only 6 British residents at the meeting and about 40 Spanish residents, including the Management team.
The meeting was held completely in Spanish and that’s only to be expected, but I have never been to such a disorganised meeting in my life – and I have been to many as a former Administrator. The Spanish argued amongst themselves, stormed about the room banging tables and slinging insults; the President and Administrator never bothered to call the meeting to order; they didn't translate anything and never let us know when to vote or what we were voting about.  Consequently all us Brits were completely confused and in the dark as to what was going on.  We did manage to understand some of it (they were arguing about the amount of money spent on security – over €66,000 in the last six months – and, guess what, the President owns the Security Company! The Community also spent €8,500 on cleaning services (for a woman who walks around the urbanisation with a domestic brush and pan) and over €18,000 for garden services (for a completely inadequate team of gardeners who do very little except tidy up selected areas). Remember, all these amounts are only for six months, so double them for the annual spend. 
 
On a personal level, during the rainy season we had a roof put on our carport and, to stop the rain running off the roof and dripping all over us, we had guttering and a drainpipe attached to the roof. Apparently the President had received complaints that our drainpipe was an eyesore so, item 2 on the Agenda at the meeting, was the ‘Authorisation or removal of pipelines in a house of block 3’ – i.e. my drainpipe. Apparently we should have asked permission from the Community before we made any alterations to our house but, unfortunately, we have never seen or received Rules of the Community so didn’t know this. They kept putting off the topic of our drainpipe until almost the end of the evening and, when they showed a picture they had taken of the front of our house, I stood up to speak. I explained, in my broken Spanish, that I didn’t know that I had to ask permission but, since I had found out, I had done the best I could to make it look more acceptable. (See photo below)

 
 
The Management smirked a little at my dreadful Spanish and the Administrator told me that they had all decided we could keep the guttering up BUT it must be painted brown, and if we don't like their decision we can just remove it (the final bit said with a dismissive shrug of the shoulders).  I asked when they had decided that and they said they had just voted!  We didn't even know a vote was being taken!!!  We were so upset by the way we had been ignored and patronised during the meeting that all six of us Brits walked out in disgust. As a result of our shabby treatment we and several other members of our Community are now planning to get together an English Speaking Residents Association so that we can pay for a translator in order that our views can be heard. All we want to do is to work with our Spanish neighbours for the benefit of our Community. Surely that’s not too much to ask for?
 
If anyone has any comments, (perhaps you’ve had a similar experience?) or advice (any idea how we could improve matters?) I’d be very interested to hear from you.



This message was last edited by Suzi on 7/23/2008.

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24 Jul 2008 00:54 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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Hi Suzi,

Your description of the meeting will sound very familiar to anyone else who has attended a community AGM in Spain! 
A while ago I wrote a few articles for this site on my experience of being president in a small community just along the coast from yourselves. If you're interested, you can find the first one here: http://www.eyeonspain.com/Secure/articles/article.aspx?article=/president-rob.aspx 

Whilst language can certainly be a huge barrier to understanding what goes on here, I think you may have also realised by now, that there are clear cultural differences to contend with too, when making the transition from living in the UK to Spain. Forget all your training and experience in administration - the rules do not apply any more!!

Actually, in this instance, it may just be possible that your halting Spanish, which caused some amusement (albeit perhaps at the expense of your feeling somewhat humiliated) may have helped you. If you had got up and given a grammatically perfect argument in your defence, it may have been construed as defiance, and the result could have been very different.
Your best bet would probably be to paint the bits that are still visible in order to show your willingness to comply (however petty and ridiculous it seems) and move on. You most certainly should have sought permission from the community first, as well as planning permission from the council, so count yourselves lucky you don't have to remove the whole carport. *

That said, I think it would be an excellent idea to club together to get a translator for future meetings. 
Legally, meetings and correspondence etc. only have to be in Spanish, but, a resolution can be made to have other languages included. You don't say how many units there are in total, and how many are owned by non-Spanish? Judging by the ratio you quoted (40 to 6 against), the chances of passing such a resolution may be slim, so working together with other non-Spanish owners, and indeed any sympathetic Spanish owners (there's bound to be some - maybe someone who'd like the opportunity to practice English for free?!) would be the best way forward. 
A community website is a great idea if there are enough members to make it worthwhile, especially if there are many non-resident owners who would like to be kept informed and be able to communicate with other owners easily. Justin (of EyeOnSpain) has put together something for communities I believe, and also member Promedia, who is part of a community near Calahonda, can offer more advice on this. Search for his posts using the search facility.

As for the expenses you mentioned, again, without knowing the total size of the community, they're a little bit meaningless, but the mere fact that the president owns the security company should set alarm bells ringing. I smell corruption! It may be perfectly ligit., and the fact that he has a vested interest in them doing a good job may even be an advantage, but on the surface it would appear to be a conflict of interests, and that cannot be good for any community. If there is corruption going on, it's probably very deep rooted and will be hard and painful to sort out. What I would concern myself about primarily is, are the necessary repairs and maintenace jobs getting carried out? is the community in a generally good condition? are you able to enjoy your property and any communal facilities to the full? are you paying any more than people you know on similar communities, with similar facilities? does the community have a lot of bad debtors?
This last one is the bane of most if not all communities. If people aren't paying up on time, things will start to go downhill rapidly. If there aren't any huge outstanding debts, and the place is generally being well maintained, you're probably a lot better off than many, so be happy, enjoy the summer, and keep smiling!

* you may find it useful to have a browse through the Horizontal property law (in English): http://www.infotorremolinos.com/horizontal-laws.pdf


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24 Jul 2008 08:42 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 8577 posts Send private message

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Q. It is compulsory to use the Spanish language at the Owners´ meetings?
 
A. No, it is not compulsory. The Supreme Court of Spain has affirmed that it is not stated in the Horizontal Property Act that the meetings of the Community of Owners have to be held in Spanish.  The Supreme Court affirms that the holdings of these meetings are not official, public acts but private ones among individual, private parties.
 
 
Q. It is possible to use a foreign language in the meetings of the Community of Owners?
 
A. Yes, it is possible. Provision 13.1 of our Constitution affirms that “ foreigners have in Spain the public liberties gathered in the Constitution as they are established in the Treaties and Law”, and provision 27 of the Civil Code “ foreigners have in Spain, same civil rights as Spanish citizens, except what it is stated in Treaties and Laws”
 
The right to use a foreign language  in an Owner´s meeting is unquestionable but, as with every right, it is necessary to set a procedure by which the existence of this right won’t  cause any defencelessness to any other people.
 
The procedure in two sentences:

1. - Every President must include in the Owner’s meetings Agenda, a mention to the language that will be used , so that, those owners who speak a different language can ask for a translator.

2.-The Minutes of the Community of Owners must be sent to the owners in all the languages whose use or translations have been asked for. 


Of course the costs of the translation need to be paid by the whole  Community of owners as a neccesary expense for the running of the governing bodies!
 
 
 
 
 


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Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA

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Director www.costaluzlawyers.es

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24 Jul 2008 16:33 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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Interesting. 

The Minutes of the Community of Owners must be sent to the owners in all the languages whose use or translations have been asked for. 

Of course the costs of the translation need to be paid by the whole  Community of owners 

So, Maria, do you mean to say that if any ONE member of the community simply ASKS for another language to be used (let's say, Japanese, for example), the community as a whole is legally obliged to comply (at their expense), without any need for a resolution to be voted and approved by majority? 

This would be great, and I'm sure many members here will be firing off requests to their administrators right now, but, in practice, I doubt theyll have much success against the majority wishes. You may be getting a few requests to sue communities in the near future!!!!



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24 Jul 2008 19:13 by Suzi Star rating in La Cala de Mijas. 23 posts Send private message

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Roberto, many thanks for your response - it was extrememly useful and informative.  I have just finished reading through the Horizontal Laws pdf and found some interesting points, e.g. Section 17 says that there must be a unanimous vote for changing security arrangements, and Section 18.1b says that the owners can take the President to court if s/he sanctions anything that is 'detrimental to the interests of one or several members of the Community'.  Hmmm!
To answer your questions.  There are 208 units in our Community although I am not sure of the ratio of Spanish/non-Spanish/Company owned properties.  At a guess I would say that there are roughly 50% non-Spanish owned, but the majority use their properties as holiday/rental homes and are not permanent residents.  
Yes, repairs and maitenance jobs are carried out, albeit slowly, and the community is generally in a fair condition (it is only 5 years old).  Community facilities are few - we have no shops or bars and our pool, owing to its cubic capacity, is only open between June and September from 12 - 8 p.m. because we have to have a life guard, according to Spanish Law.  Our Community fees are very high for the facilities we have, 130 euros a month which, I believe, is more expensive than most.  We also currently have aproximately 70,000 euros owing in Community fees.  
So you can, perhaps, understand more reasons why we are trying to organise a residents association.   Thus far we have over 30 proxy votes from non-resident owners.  The response has been quite extraordinary with many people saying they are so glad someone is prepared to put their views forward at Community meetings in their absence.  We have also had support from some of the Spanish residents, which is really cheering.  
Everyone who has responded has given a list of complaints that they wish to be put forward at the next Community Meeting on 7th August.  In the main they are as I have detailed above, namely lack of security, the swimming pool opening hours, general maintenance of the gardens, the high cost of Community fees, spiralling costs and the number of debtors/amount of debt.
As instructed in Horizontal Laws, we will be sending a letter to the President to let him know that we will be raising those points at the August meeting.  I will keep this thread open to let you know how we get on!



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24 Jul 2008 19:18 by Suzi Star rating in La Cala de Mijas. 23 posts Send private message

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Maria - many thanks for your reply.  Does that mean the Community could or should pay for us to have a translator at Community Meetings?  Or did you mean that the Community will pay for the translation of the Minutes of Meetings?  I don't want to quote you if I've midunderstood your meaning! 

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24 Jul 2008 19:51 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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LACK of security is one of the complaints???!!!!! By my calculation (based on a simple average) about €50 of your monthly fee is going on security alone, and you say there's a lack? Some one's pockets are getting nicely lined by the sound of things!

On a plus side, if you have 30 proxy votes for the next meeting, judging by the attendance at the last one, you're going to be able to pass whatever you want.  Brits Rule!

I can tell from the style of your posts that you have your head firmly screwed on and are very well organised (that admin background coming into it's own), and I think the other members of your community who have responded to your efforts are very lucky to have someone like you willing to carry the torch for them. President-in-waiting? Just be sure you know what you're getting into. It's not easy to un-elect yourself as a representative when nobody else wants to step up to the plate (and they rarely do), and running a community, or just being involved as a member of a committee, can be a thankless task.

Best of luck to you, and well done.

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25 Jul 2008 07:53 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 8577 posts Send private message

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Any owner can ask for the use of a language ( with translation costs -- both in the Meeting and in Minutes--included of course) to be mentioned among the points to be discussed in a General Meeting. The quorums will decide on the agreeement for that, being just majority needed in these cases.

English is quite an international language so it may be that the acceptance of a translator of english  for those communities with many international members will suffice... it depend on cases.

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25 Jul 2008 18:28 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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So, to clarify, there does have to be a majority vote in favour of including correspondence etc. in English (for example).

In the meeting Suzi attended, with 40 Spaniards and only 6 British, and an apparently hostile attitude to boot, maybe not much chance. But, with 30 proxy votes..............GO FOR IT! No one can stop you  Time for a big change, methinks!

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04 Aug 2008 08:37 by promedia Star rating in Cheshire/Riviera del.... 126 posts Send private message

Suzi

Not sure who your administrator is, but before your next AGM meeting it may be worthwhile going and having a chat with Lazara our administrator at Intercala. They are opposite the horse riding shop and diagonally opposite Biddy Mulligans on La Cala's Main street of shops.

Lazara is the owner of the administrators and she is fluent in English and Spanish, all the team in her office are multingual which is helpful, and above all that they do a really good job for us.

In our communities experience (we are up the road in Riviera del Sol) you have to be in communication with your administrators reguarly, have a spreadsheet of "things to do" and be on top of it by sharing the workload between the committee.

I'm sure that if you took your community budgets/accounts to her she would be horrified at the charges you are paying. We had a similar situation where we were not happy with some of the suppliers our old administrator was using, change has made us a lot more competative, we now get 3 quotes for any work, we get 2 and the administrator then gets a quote from her supplier and the most competative gets the job....its a bit like having a dog and barking yourself, but believe me when you see the difference in costs we are achieving its a worthwhile responsibility for one committee person to take on. It also gives us loads more budget to make improvements on the community
 
Your number one problem for the community is the 120,000 euro security contract supplied by the presidente...thats £100,000 year.....you must have 7-10 staff giving permanant 24 hour patrols........you should have or are you supplying the security to the whole of La Cala as well???  its farcical, possibly 4 security staff on 8 hour shifts to cover days off and holidays at 12K - 15K per person would be about right depending on the size of the community and then this could be cut down further if you spent 20K on a security camera system to replace staff.  

Our cleaner looks after 60 apts, 10 stairwells, 4 blocks our administrator employed this cleaner for us at 11,000 euro's a year, gardeners (16,000 euro's for 24 hours labour between them each week inc pool cleaning) the same as you they are maintainers not landscape gardeners ( we do that ourselves, 4 men on community, put a few hours in when we are all over to plant some new plants to ensure we get the gardens looking right) 

In our experience the Spanish are the ones that are insistant on keeping the community charges to a minimum and looking for corruption and rip offs, so i'm surprised that none of these have challenged the presidente or the administrator to justify themselves. 

How long has your presidente been incharge, we look for a president to be in charge for 2 or 3 years and then it does good to have a change, if you cannot overthrow the presidente for some reason, then get yourself elected as treasurer of the community and impose some rules that all invoices need to be signed off by the treasurer and that no signatory can sign a cheque made payable to themselves. That puts an initial hurdle in the way of any corruption, plus you get to work with the administratopr to see whats being spent and where.

You will only get out of your community what you put in, and if thats just complaints and whinges...youll just get back authorative answers and rules quoted at you...... step up and take action.

Form your British residents association and then ask for 2 or 3 of you to be elected to the community committee, but dont form a secret society, do it in the open and invite english speaking spaniards on the community to attend so that they can understand your frustrations plus importantly ask the presidente and administrator along, if you are now living with them, work and integrate with them, but do it properly, professionally and above all be organised and see it through.

If its useful to you, have a look at our community website as it will give you an idea  of how much we pay for everything as our community accounts are published there and also what we as a committee are doing on a daily basis for the community   golfgardensmiraflores.co.uk

The good thing about this situation is that your community has someone that wants to step up and do something to put things right, so many people just want to come over live quietly and moan about everything around them....there again thats what most old people do for a living....ask my 76 year old mum!!!


have fun making changes



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Ian Cook - Golf Gardens Miraflores - The best place to live on the Costa del Sol

"A day without sunshine is like.................night"




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09 Aug 2008 15:12 by Suzi Star rating in La Cala de Mijas. 23 posts Send private message

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Many thanks to you Promedia for your response which gave us a lot of pertinent information that we were able to use to our benefit at the Community meeting on 7th August.  We had a terrific turnout of English speaking residents and were so grateful for their support.  In fact we managed to push through some decisions which have been three years in the 'pipeline' and get them approved.  So we actually feel that we're getting somewhere at last!  
Obviously, Security is our biggest expense and our biggest concern.  At present we have a guard from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m. and a 'watcher' from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.   We are also paying for 15 security cameras and a new closed circuit tv hut and I imagine that some of the huge amount of fees we are paying is covering that.  However, we're not yet sure of the breakdown of costs and are currently looking into that.
One of the things we were successful in getting approved was to have seven parasols installed at the Community swimming pool but some questions were left unanswered.  Appararently the cubic capacity of the pool means that we need to employ a lifeguard.  I would be extremely grateful if anyone could answer the following:

1.  What size has a swimming pool got to be before Lifeguards are needed?

2.  Is it actually Spanish law that you cannot take food & drink around a pool i.e. pop, crisps, ice cream (not a full blown picnic)?

3.  If you put up signs to put the responsibility back on to residents " There is no Lifeguard on duty" could we still use the pool?

We are meeting with the President and Administrator at the end of August to look through the accounts of the Community.  It should be very interesting - will let you know how it turns out

 



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09 Aug 2008 18:41 by promedia Star rating in Cheshire/Riviera del.... 126 posts Send private message

suzi

Good to hear that others can learn from our experiences and benefit from them. interested to hear the explanation of the 120,000 euros when you get it? 

personally i would expect  your security guard to be coming in at about 8pm and not 3 pm which would save you a 1/3rd on your guard cover, what does the watcher do, sit in the hut and look at the cctv? It would be interesting to see what the difference in cost would be to get an external cctv monitoring service and some panic help buttons installed around the complex that a patrol guard comes when the buttons are pressed and also have a walk around  every day as a visible deterrant. i'm sure you would notice a dramatic drop in your community bills and if your perimiter fencing is good enough then you shouldny have that many problems, the money could even be diverted into providing other benefits for the community.

Just for your own interest and to monitor the spend we purchased 2 new full straw parasols with posts and metal supports for the ground and they were 125 euro's each, do you know how much you paid?

On the pool front, we have been going through the same hoop, i understand that if your pool/pools have a surface area of more than 200sq Mtrs then you will proberbly need a lifeguard at certain times of the year.

You also need to check up on the new rules regarding swimming pool legislation and fencing off your pool area for health and safety purposes. (on a thread on EOS)

We are just under the 200 sq mtrs so get out of the lifeguard situation, however it looks as though everyone will fall fowl of the fence laws, we have minuted in our AGM that we are still trying to find a company that we are satisfied could do the job properly for us and god knows how long that will now take with every community having to get this installed. We have also had to have some new signs for the pool made saying that use of the pool is entirely at your own risk. This is essential and also signs to say no diving, glass etc etc etc. the community needs to cover itself against any ambulance chasing claims.

The food and drink one is a new one on me, dont know how you are going to stop kids having ice creams or water to drink around a pool, think its more the possible broken glass concerns.

One tip for you on the "going through the accounts" request that the sections are listed in english and Spanish or you wont know what you are reading, every owner on a community is entitled to see the books at anytime, so ask for the accounts showing current expenditure against budgets a week before your meeting, that way you have chance to go through them, see where the overspending is on the community and then at the meeting ensure its at the administrators office so that they can get you out the invoices there and then. Otherwise if there is something "going on" it will be covered up. Another useful report to ask them for is to see copies of the bank statements and query every payment out over say 1000 euros in the last 2 months, when the money was paid  and against what invoice, look at the bigger sums going out as they do the most damage to the community.

Ask what the procedure is for the checking of invoices and the work being done. perhaps as we do, you could offer to become a committee member who does a monthly walk around with the presidente and the administrator to look at what needs repairing, maintaining and if the gardeners and cleaners are doing a good job. when any work is required, we get a quote and the administrator gets a quote as well and the cheapest one gets the job, when the work is done the invoice cannot be paid until it has been signed off by the committee member that has checked the work, be aware administrators are very quick to pay suppliers with communities money, if the job has been done badly and youve paid them, then you dont have a leg to stand on!!!  Get a quote and sign off system in place.

One final piece of advice, nobody on our community can sign or countersign a cheque that is made payable to themself or their own company, that also puts pressure on anything crooked.

You must also remember that Spain has operated on "Backhanders" for centuries, its in their culture and everyone expects it, so remember, generally everything that your administrator organises for you will have some sort of overide for the administrator built in, thats why its essential to get a comparable quite, if they know you are doing this it keeps them on their toes.

Suzi, now that your community is coming together a little more, get a committee together to share some of the work and responsibility, suggest also that at your meeting you dont go in all guns blazing, offer to assist and want to get involved more as friends and neighbours and that other people on the community...not you...... have asked you to ask them what this is for so that you can go back to them with answers. hence seeing the figures early? If youve got an accountant on the team it also helps as they really know what to look for.

One final question Suzie, our apts look out over La Cala, how many apts are on your complex and where abouts are you?

Dont forget that if you need some examples of comparative costs we are 60 apts and have our accounts and budgets on our website golfgardensmiraflores.co.uk and there is also loads of great information at lacalaowners.info 


good fun all this isnt it???


   

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Ian Cook - Golf Gardens Miraflores - The best place to live on the Costa del Sol

"A day without sunshine is like.................night"




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09 Aug 2008 19:10 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6942 posts Send private message

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Suzi has been an internet friend of mine for ages & I encouraged her to post about this after we chatted for ages on messenger around 1am one morning.  I said I'd ask Promedia, Rob & Maria to advise her so thank you all for doing so in response to my PMs. I think I sent a PM to Denise too but not seen her around lately. 

Suzi, so glad you feel better & are so much more positive.
 x     

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05 Sep 2008 21:44 by promedia Star rating in Cheshire/Riviera del.... 126 posts Send private message

Suzi and Trevor

how did your meeting end up, was lazara at Intercala able to help?

Sorry i didnt manage to meet up, seperate email to you trevor on that one, but i understand you had a good chat with Joke (yokee) from our community, hope she was able to help.

looking forward to hearing how it all went

ian

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Ian Cook - Golf Gardens Miraflores - The best place to live on the Costa del Sol

"A day without sunshine is like.................night"




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25 Sep 2008 21:19 by promedia Star rating in Cheshire/Riviera del.... 126 posts Send private message

Suzi and Trevor not heard anything from you for a long time on this topic, has everything settled down and been sorted out? how did your meeting end up, was lazara at Intercala able to help? looking forward to hearing how it all went ian

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04 Aug 2009 02:33 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6942 posts Send private message

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Hi, I've had an email today from Suzi, who is a good friend of mine. She is having problems posting & asked if I could do it on her behalf. She can read the posts just not post. If this doesn't post it's bacuse she sent me a word doc.
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COMMUNITY OUT OF CONTROL!
 
I have posted on Eye Of Spain before under the heading ‘Conflict in the Community’ when the 40% of English speaking owners on our urbanization in La Cala de Mijas were being ostracized and ignored by the 60% of Spanish owners.
All we wanted to do was to live peacefully and in harmony with the Spanish and see the urbanization flourish. However, our opinion and views were not taken into account and we were not ‘allowed’ an interpreter, so much of what happened at community meetings was, at worst, incomprehensible and, at best, confusing.  
 
Helped and encouraged by two or three EOS members (notably Ian!) we managed to gather enough votes and proxy votes (from ‘foreign’ owners and some Spanish too) to put forward a candidate for President. Trevor was duly elected as President on 31st January 2009 and, because we truly wanted a united community, Rafael (a Spanish owner), agreed to be Vice-President.
 
Since Trevor was elected the community has never been so well looked after.
The irrigations system is working for the first time in four years, the gardens are blooming and well cared for, the lawns are green, complaints are dealt with promptly and, most importantly, Trevor has been instrumental in reducing the outstanding community fees debt (more than €100,000) by over €30,000.
 
In spite of this Trevor has been harassed, verbally abused, threatened and insulted on a regular basis by some members of the Spanish community.  We are certain that the Administrators are working with the Spanish to discredit Trevor and vote ‘rigging’ is rife. We have no way of checking the Spanish vote and our proxies are frequently discounted as being ‘in debt’ and, when we check, the are not!
 
There seems to be a lot of angst against ‘our’ way of working in that Trevor will not accept ‘backhanders’ and this has meant the Administrators are refusing to put out tenders for quotations because they get nothing out of it.
 
At a recent meeting, on 31st July, the majority of the Spanish owners present declared that they were extremely dissatisfied with the work that Trevor is doing and, understandably after all the hassle and upset, he has resigned.
 
Trevor’s parting words on leaving the meeting were:
“I have tried to do my best for this community but I have to say that it will never work as long as there is a divide between the Spanish and the other nations.  You must learn to work together in harmony to make the community a better place for all to live in.”
 
Is there not a ‘governing body of communities’ in Spain that can help us? Does anyone know how we can monitor all the votes to see if they are genuine? This community is being controlled by a handful of racist Spanish and we are at a loss of what we can do to stop them and bring this community together.

 

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This message was last edited by morerosado on 04/08/2009.

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04 Aug 2009 22:03 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 3871 posts Send private message

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Maybe Suzi is not logged in?

The situation in this community sounds horrifying. It makes me quite sick to read about this kind of thing. I feel for Trevor and all those who just want to live peacefully with their neighbours in an environment of mutual respect. Thank God I don't live there.

I have been away in the UK for a month, and today went to the pool for a cool down (bit of a shock to the system after a month of rain and grey skies); within 5 minutes the president had spotted us and came out to pour out his troubles. I'm supposed to be free of all the cr*p this year, but I know what the poor sod is going through (bitter experience) so was happy to lend a shoulder. Plumbers who refuse to fix badly done work without further payment; tenants giving keys to the pool to all their friends, who come and use it (and abuse it) whenever they feel like; tenants letting their friends park in any empty garage space, and subsequently owners of said places coming to the president expecting him to "do something" (garage spaces are not communal property therefore not really the president's area of jurisdiction); said tenant's friends without remote controls for the garage door just forcing it open, thereby breaking it; gardener needing constant supervision; the bank saying we have no available funds until 26th of the month, despite everyone's payment being taken on the first; etc.etc.etc. It never stops.

Why is it that community life in Spain is so fraught with problems?



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05 Aug 2009 01:53 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6942 posts Send private message

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Suzi is reading this but hasn't spoken to me tonight, Roberto & you posted late. Maybe she's not then. I know she has a new PC, a Mac that she's very pleased with but says it seems to stop her doing certain things. Let's hope it's that simple. Yes, she's really beside herself over this attitude.



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05 Aug 2009 09:33 by spanishsolicitor Star rating in Murcia. 140 posts Send private message

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Why it is that community life in Spain is so fraught with problems

 

Central to the concept of commonhold land is the principle that each owner, in exchange for the benefits of association with other owners, must give up a certain degree of freedom of choice which he might otherwise enjoy in separate, privately owned, property. In order for a community to serve the best interests of the owners, it is necessary to create a sense of community, which is developed through education rather than through the law.

It is nothing to do with nacionalities as much as plain bad manners and selfishness. I would like to invite you to a real hot meeting of an inner-city community. You’d hallucinate. The worst insults I’ve ever heard in my life and the worst rudeness take place in these meetings. For some of the people is the only place where they can insult without any inmediate consequence

It seems that you have to call the police and sometimes you have to do so.

Some owners vent their anger by insulting everybody, blocking the normal ongoing of the community and breaching every rule. It is a constant fight for those presidents or administrators actually working for the benefit of the community.

Regarding the culture difference between brits and spaniards, to be honest I’ve never seen any brit misbehaving in a meeting. British people know when have to behave badly and when not. That does not mean that brits are more well-mannered than spaniards but a brit is always aware that in some places and sometimes is ‘time’ to behave properly.

When I was a child 30 years ago (first time to visit England) I was in Oxford biking on the pavement (in that time nobody dared to bike on the pavement) and one man approached, grabbing me by the arm and said ´I would like to explain you something boy´, and he talked and talked and talked. He jabbered, nodding his head, pointing. It was a mini-mixed-conference about politeness, coexistence and the rule of the law. Next Friday I saw him in the afternoon completely drunk walking erratically in the street and asked about his behaviour, he answered me that in life there is time and place for everything and that you should choose your manners depending on the circumstances.

 



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05 Aug 2009 12:01 by morerosado Star rating in Guardamar del Segura.... 6942 posts Send private message

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Personally, I think those who cannot actually help my dearest friend, Suzi, should not post huge posts such as that. It doesn't help matters.  Apologies if I offend but I've a very upset friend who needs constructive help here.


 



This message was last edited by morerosado on 05/08/2009.

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