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Comunidad de Propietarios: Avoid Problems with Your Neighbours in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt - Lawbird Legal Services
26th of June 2009

On buying property on a development or in an apartment block you will become a member of what is known as a “Community of Owners” (Comunidad de Propietarios, CO for short). A Spanish Comunidad de Propietarios is composed of all the owners of property within the same development or building.

The gist of this article is to give some guidance on what becoming an owner in a community implies, with particular focus on Andalucía. I strongly recommend reading the Commonhold Act (English) itself as I have considerably abridged the sections pursuant to it, on reviewing them, giving only a brief overview of what they entail.

General Legal Framework

There is a general nationwide legal framework acting as a common denominator to all communities in Spain, set out by the Commonhold Act 49/60 (aka Ley de Propiedad Horizontal orHorizontal Property Act) and by the Spanish Civil Code (arts 396 et seq). The Law on Horizontal Property was amended most significantly by Law 8/99, amongst others, to update it to social reality.

Bylaws and Rules of the Comunidad de Propietarios

In addition to the above general laws, the day-to-day running of each community is really determined by the Communities’ Bylaws (Statutes) which are drafted at the time of lodging the Master Deed (aka Escritura de División Horizontal or Horizontal Deed). Unanimity is required to amend either the Master Deed or the Community Statutes (arts 5 and 17). So in practice it’s quite a feat to change either of them.

That’s why a community may, at its discretion, approve its own Community Rules (in Spanish Normas de Regimen Interno or Normas de Funcionamiento de la Comunidad de Propietarios), not to be confused with Community Statutes. These Community Rules need only a simple majority vote to be approved and amended so as to waive the unanimity rule. They allow for great flexibility and will rule, for example, on communal services such as garbage collection or the use of communal facilities such as the swimming pool or lifts. They cannot rule on matters reserved only to Bylaws.

Normally, on buying off plan, there will be a clause by which the purchaser allows the developer to draft and lodge the Master Deed as well as the Community Statutes at the Land registry. Owners may later on amend these, complying with the strict majorities that are required by the Commonhold Act (unanimity).

This means that every development may enact their particular laws governing it but always subject to, and, in compliance with the general legal framework that must be respected at all times. Bylaws will rule for example the Community’s governing bodies such as the need or not of the role of a vice-president or how must the owners be notified in advance of an owner’s assembly.

Bylaws stem from Spain’s Commonhold Act and adapt it to the requirements of each particular Community of Owners.That’s why each Comunidad de Propietarios has its own unique Bylaws, tailored to suit their individual needs. Naturally, in this article I can only offer a general overview of the shared legal framework and concepts which underpin all communities without focusing on particular Bylaws, which are unique to each Community of Owners.

Commonhold Quota

On drawing up the Master Deed before a Notary, every property within the community is assigned a quota or percentage thereof. This quota is composed both of privative and communal elements which are assigned to each property. Store rooms and garages are included as well for this purpose.

This quota is important mainly for two reasons:

  1. Because the expenses of the community will be allocated in proportion to your quota. So the larger the quota, the more you will have to pay.
  2. Secondly, on voting at owners’ assemblies, the quotas need to be tallied for majority vote purposes. So, each owner does not equate to one vote. There may be a single owner, such as a developer, holding a significant communal quota which translates into great voting power. The resolutions reached bind all units within, regardless of whether they cast an opposing vote as majority rules apply (read below).

Owners’ Duties

Section 9 rules them in detail. The main duty will be, of course, to contribute to the maintenance and financial upkeep of the Community of Owners.

Failure to pay the community fees will result in the Community of Owners placing a lien against your property and possibly auctioning it off. This legal procedure in Spain works surprisingly efficiently. You have been warned!

This important article mentions as well the endowment of the communities mandatory reserve fund, in accordance to each owner’s commonhold quota. The purpose of this fund is to create a financial pool for the maintenance and repair of the building i.e. façade’s flaked painting or lift repair work. This reserve fund shall be endowed with an amount not lower than five percent of its last ordinary budget. Its funds will be used as well to pay for the building’s insurance cover.

On buying a resale in a community, the new owner will be held liable for the prior owner’s communities’ debts for the current year of transfer of ownership as well as the natural year immediately precedent (art 9 e). The property itself will be burdened with a lien for unpaid communal debts.

Which is why under law, the signing of the deed of transfer of ownership requires a Communities’ certificate stating that communal fees are up-to-date for that unit, signed by the communities’ administrator. The purchaser can however waive this requirement voluntarily.

Governing Bodies of a Comunidad de Propietarios

Art 13 establishes the governing bodies are the Owners’ General Assembly (whether annual or extraordinary), the president (vice-presidents are optional), the secretary and the administrator.

Presidents and vice-presidents must be appointed from among unit owners only. The roles of secretary and administrator can be held by unit owners as well as by outsiders providing the latter hold the necessary professional qualifications and are legally licensed to perform such roles.

The Statutes will be the ones which detail exactly what roles exist in each Community of Owners.

Community of Owners’ Assembly (AGM’s and EGM’s)

At least once a year an AGM will be called to approve the budget and accounts. An EGM may additionally be called at anytime, needing 25% of the unit owners’ quotas.

The notification must be given with a minimum of 3 days’ notice. This creates practical problems to non-residents owning second homes in Spain. Therefore, communities with a high number of non-resident owners may include in their Bylaws more realistic notices of, say, 14 days and to be notified by email in addition to placing it on the Community’s Notice Board. There’s freedom and flexibility to rule on this as each community deems fit in accordance to their own needs and circumstances.

Majority and Unanimity Votes

Section 17 deals with when unanimity votes are required. Basically, unanimity is necessary for modifying the rules contained, either in the Master Deed or in the Community’s Bylaws.

A majority vote (three fifths of the owners’ assessed quotas) is required for things such as the lift service, janitors, security services or any other common service or facility. This type of majority vote will be the one used to decide on the Community Rules. Proxy votes are also allowed. Only owners who are up-to-date with their community fees may vote at owners’ assemblies.

You may find that in new unsold off plan developments, a developer may hold the majority vote as he still holds a large stock of unsold units. Conversely, it can be its lender, if they have taken over the developer’s units. Either way, they are both obliged to contribute to the communities’ upkeep, paying their communal fees in proportion to their communal quotas, like everyone else.

Resolutions of the General Assembly

Section 19 deals with the recording of the resolutions reached. They will be recorded in a book of minutes, validated and stamped by the Land Registrar. A copy of the meeting’s minutes will be sent to each owner with the adopted resolutions following the AGM or EGM. The secretary will act as the custodian of the general meetings minutes book.

Challenging the General Assembly’s resolutions

Section 18 rules on how assembly resolutions can be challenged at court.

This can be done on three accounts:

  1. Whence such resolutions are contrary to Law or the Community Statutes;
  2. On them being seriously detrimental to the interests of the community and benefit one or several unit owners.
  3. Whence they are seriously detrimental to some unit owner who has no legal obligation to sustain such detriment or when they have been adopted in abuse of power.

There’s a deadline of just 3 months to challenge them after they were adopted or else a year if they are contrary to Law or the Community Statutes. Only owners who are up-to-date with their community fees may challenge community resolutions before a court. Alternatively they can lodge the owed amounts before the law court prior to litigating.

Comunidades de Propietarios in Andalucía

Following arts 7 & 9 of Decree 218/2005, off plan vendors of property located within the autonomous region of Andalucía must hand over the DIA (Documento Informativo Abreviado) to purchasers. The DIA is the Spanish equivalent of the UK’s HPI, Home Purchase Information, or Seller’s pack. Both the Community’s Statutes and Community Rules must be included in the DIA pack.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that Community Statutes or Bylaws are the ones that really rule each community and are unique. No community has the same statutes as another.

It is always highly advisable that, prior to purchasing property on a development, you always request a copy of the Community Statutes, known in Spanish as Estatutos de la Comunidad de Propietarios, as well as the Community Rules, if existent. You may avoid unpleasant surprises, such as communities that ban domestic animals or even piano players!

Communities of Owners should be run, in theory, like small tidy democracies. Well, that’s the theory anyhow. In practice, they resemble more dictatorships with full blown egos as many owners can vouch for.  I would advise you bring your tin hat to owners’ assemblies and prepare for some serious and protracted trench warfare, whereby each owner will hold his own ground, yielding occasionally to fleeting interests.

Maybe it’s a good idea to bring along a Spanish lawyer as added reinforcements!

Good luck; trust me, you’ll need it!

More on this Subject:

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Lawbird Spanish Property Lawyers is a law firm with a broad experience in Property Law, andis specialized in representing clients affected by real estate and planning problems.

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Discuss this Article

  • Lynda Cripps Says:

    Has anyone any answers to my problem. I have lived in a block of 4 apartments for over 23 years. My neighbours to the side have always maintained their own and I and my late husband have maintained our side without asking for any monetary contribution from our neighbours below apart from painting the exterior. The barbecue, front walls & pillars, we have done at our cost and I have carried on since my husbands death. The driveway which is communal, they refuse to clean because it is "not their mess", it's caused by a pine tree in next door. The exterior painting was last done over 4 years ago, is in a bad state, again we have painted the bottom half each year because of flaking and green moss, now my neighbours refuse to pay half to have it done and insist I pay to have the top done and they will do their own. Where do I stand legally?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Madam, As explained in the article above, you all have to get together at least once a year calling an AGM. In that AGM you can go over issues such as approving new actions (cleaning the driveway from pine cones) and adopting a budget that has to be approved by yourselves. One communer cannot adopt unilaterally decisions (even if it benefits the communityt as a whole) without having reached a consensus. CO should be run democratically. All neighbours should be contributing financially to the upkeep of the CO as explained in the article (statute nine of the Commonhold Act) in proportion to their assigned commonhold quota. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Arudelhoff Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam We live in a community of 8 villas and share a pool and community garden. Before we bought the place, there was a neighbour (a former president) who had illegally ie without community permission extended his property by almost twice. A few other neighbours have followed suit. A new neighbour has just moved in and wants to close their terrace. All these changes/extensions have greatly altered the coefficient of the community. How can we go about changing the quota when it is pretty obvious those who have extended will not agree to it. We can legally make them agree to changing the quota??
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, First of all these extensions may not be legal. Supposing they are legal, these owners must pay the Town Hall the tax for building the extensions. Following that, a new build deed would have to be done before a Notary whereby the extension of the properties is lodged at the land registry. This deed then has to be registered at the land registry. Only then will the description of the properties match reality. Then you would all have to agree unanimously into amending the Master deed of your Community of Owners to apply the new communal quotas. Please read my article on the last point: Comunidad de Propietarios: Avoid Problems with Your Neighbours in Spain - 26th June 2009 Bylaws and Rules of the Comunidad de Propietarios In addition to the above general laws, the day-to-day running of each community is really determined by the Communities’ Bylaws (Statutes) which are drafted at the time of lodging the Master Deed (aka Escritura de División Horizontal or Horizontal Deed). Unanimity is required to amend either the Master Deed or the Community Statutes (arts 5 and 17). So in practice it’s quite a feat to change either of them. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Peter Meadows Says:

    We have a neighbour who has a dog that keeps us awake for hours. She is renting from the owner and the dog is causing problems that breach one of our community rules. What power do we have to change the situation?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr Meadows, You are in your right to complain. You should lodge a complaint before the President of your community so he communicates with the landlord/tenant to muffle the dog. If that doesn't work, then I suggest you file a police report against her for the barking noises at night. People's right to sleep cannot be overlooked. Yours faithfully,
  • David Williams Says:

    At our recent AGM of 16 properties, those present voted to change unanimous voting to majority voting. Despite clarification from the management company this went ahead and all subsequent voting was based on a pure majority and not 3/5th majority. The Vice President, in the chair, and the management company ignored the fact that there were at least 4 objections to changing to majority voting. As a result of their self interests, community charges are now equal and not proportionate, and the majority of previous agreements were overturned. This is clearly illegal as the law states that it requires unanimity to change the Statutes, and this was taken on a majority vote. My problem is how to proceed now. I am aware that this can go through protracted court proceedings, but could this be resolved through calling an EGM? If so, how best to proceed. 25% of the community at least are prepared to call for an EGM, but does this have to be with the blessing of the new president who was at the meeting and spearheaded this campaign?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr Williams, To call an EGM you need either 25% of the commonhold quota or else 25% of the owners backing it. You will have to call it with a minimumn of two week's notice. You can have the President removed and overrule, as clearly illegal, the decision to amend unanimity votes. Spain Commonhold Act gives a great deal of liberty to communers to oversse their communities. But the red line is drawn on breaching it such as changing unanimity votes to a simple majority. If the EGM fails then you will have to challenge this resolution at court hiring a lawyer. Challenging the General Assembly’s resolutions Section 18 rules on how assembly resolutions can be challenged at court. This can be done on three accounts: When such resolutions are contrary to Law or the Community Statutes; On them being seriously detrimental to the interests of the community and benefit one or several unit owners. When they are seriously detrimental to some unit owner who has no legal obligation to sustain such detriment or when they have been adopted in abuse of power. There’s a deadline of just 3 months to challenge them after they were adopted or else a year if they are contrary to Law or the Community Statutes. Only owners who are up-to-date with their community fees may challenge community resolutions before a court. Alternatively they can lodge the owed amounts before the law court prior to litigating. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • John Castle Says:

    I often hear that there is a law forbidding the use of inflatables in swimming pools in the Valencian region but no-one is able to tell me which decree covers it. Is it possible to visit a government website to view this law, or to at least get the decree number and date? Kind regards.
  • Unregistered Says:

    No-one has ever been able to find this supposed law which bans inflatables in community swimming pools. I'm guessing that it's an invention of management companies, community presidents and killjoys who are hell bent on spoiling holidays for viisitors.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, I believe the laws on the matter of swimming pools strictly for the Comunidad Valenciana are decree 255/1994 amended by decree 97/2000. Some municipal (public) swimming pools do forbid the use of inflatables. Another matter is what communal pools within private gated communities agree on this. There's freedom on drafting the Internal Community Rules as per the article which starts this thread. Unsurprisingly 12 children drowned in swimming pools in Valencia in 2008. http://www.lasprovincias.es/valencia/20090709/valenciana/cerco-piscinas-privadas-20090709.html Yours faithfully,
  • Unregistered Says:

    Nobody has ever been able to produce the relevent decree banning li-lo's in swimming pools-because there isn't one. There is no law banning li-lo's from any pool private or otherwise. It is only kill-joy presidents and management companies who spread this nonsense. It's an urban myth, similar to the non-existant law that says you can't wash your car outside your own house because it wastes water. If you think about the irony in that, you cant use 50 litres of water once a week to wash your car but you can top your swimming pool up each day with 500 litres.
  • D barker Says:

    Has the president of the community to "sack" a member of the elected committee ? and then to tell all other members that any requests must go through him and not directly to the administrators
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, A Community President is powerless to "sack" fellow board members, That is something reserved to AMG' or EGM's. Queries from fellow commonholders should go through the President, yes. It is most sensible, unless the President is hiding something and becomes non-responsive. In which case an EGM may need to be called in. Yours faithfully,
  • D. Anchell Says:

    Can an owner who has an outstanding debt to the community become president of that community whilst still owing the debt?
  • D. Anchell Says:

    What circumstances can prevent an owner be elected as community president?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, He can be elected President, but he cannot vote. Only commonholders who are up-to-date with their community fees can vote on EGM's or AGM's. Not much point really in electing a Community President who cannot vote (unless he clears his arrears) is there? I'm not aware of such circumstances. The Commonhold Act specifies the requirements that need to be fulfilled to be elected, not viceversa. As long as he/she is of legal age (>18 y.o.), owns a property in the Community he is eligible for the role of President. It's advisable not to elect neighbours which hold a Criminal record (i.e. embbezlement of funds). But that's just a recommendation. Yours faithfully,
  • Unregistered Says:

    Dear Sir, He can be elected President, but he cannot vote. Only commonholders who are up-to-date with their community fees can vote on EGM's or AGM's. Not much point really in electing a Community President who cannot vote (unless he clears his arrears) is there? I'm not aware of such circumstances. The Commonhold Act specifies the requirements that need to be fulfilled to be elected, not viceversa. As long as he/she is of legal age (>18 y.o.), owns a property in the Community he is eligible for the role of President. It's advisable not to elect neighbours which hold a Criminal record (i.e. embbezlement of funds). But that's just a recommendation. Yours faithfully, Thankyou for your response. The election of this person as president is advantageous to a number of residents financially. Surely one of the presidents duties is to ensure that any debt owed to the community by any owner is paid, if necessary by legal action through the courts. As it is doubtful the president will sue himself, how can he legally hold the office?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, You're welcome. Indeed, its one of the -very- unpleasant tasks of Community Presidents to take to court fellow neighbours for lack of payment of Community fees. Post credit crunch this has become all too common and many Presidents are now caught in legal wrangles. It's a burden associated to the role of President as it entails great responsibility. Presidents have to pursue non-payers otherwise more will follow suit and the community as a whole will just crack down. Gardeners, security guards will stopped being paid, gardens will overgrow, green pools etc. Break-ins will become all too common as the whole place is in a derelict state, property values will plummet etc. It's just a downwards spiral that can serioulsy tarnish what would have been a nice development. It is highly doubtful that an elected President will pursue himself, granted. That is why it is not recommendable to choose as President someone who is in arrears as it stands to logic. At the end of the day its the individual who fits the role of President which makes all the difference. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Sanita Says:

    Dear Raymundo Larrain Nesbitt. I would like to thank you for your articule..it was very helpfull.I have one problem,which I hope you might know answere.I am aware,taht property owners with unsetled debts can not vote..my problem is,I have property for 3 years,paid my maintance every year in time.As we never had any meetings or explanations where our money going..in 2009 I asked for all bills for this years maintance.I get got suspicios,when I been ignored for 6 months,alerted my neighbours,and refused to pay maintance until I see for what I am been paying all 2 years.We forming community only now,in 2010. How legal is to charge us for maintanace,when community dosent exsist?Is director in position to hide all bills and be bullie??Am I wrong not to pay,untill I know for what?I know I am risking loosing my vote,but I have a feeling I been robbed for 2 years. Woul love to hear what you think.Thank you in advance.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sanita, Thank you for your kind words. As per my article, if you are not up-to-date servicing your community fees you are in no position to criticise, demand or vote in an AGM or EGM. In fact you are actually jeopardising your own property as the Community may decide to issue legal proceedings against you for unpayment in which case you may even lose your property as it can be seized and auctioned off publicly. Law courts are now clogged with such properties being auctioned off for unpayment. Having written the above, I fully understand your predicament and it's a matter that is becoming all too common in new developments on the Spanish costas. An AGM should be held mandatorily once a year. In those AGM's a full breakdown for the Communitie's running expenses is disclosed with a detailed breakdown and consequently voted upon by all commonholders which are up-to-date with their comunity fees. Make sure you bring along someone witha high command of Spanish to the first AGM as it's likely to be held in Spanish. The Community can decide for ensuing AGM's to hold it in both languages depending on what the majority of commonholders vote. In your particular case I advise you to first clear your arrears, hire a lawyer and force the Administrator and President to disclose a full breakdown with the running expenses requesting invoices where deemed necessesary. It is your right and that's why you are paying. Your President acnnot at anytime withhold information from yourselves such as bills or even bully you as you write. Misallocation of community funds is tantamount to embezzlement of funds which may even lead to a Criminal action being taken against the President and Administrator. Perhaps your President is someone who has been directly appointed by the developer. Maybe your community remains largely unsold and the majority of the votes are still in the hands of your developer. Is it the case? You are liable to pay for community fees as from the time a Licence of First Occupation is issued for your property by the Town Hall or as from the time you complete on it (in the case where no LFO has been issued yet). Please read my article for more details: The Licence of First Occupation Explained - 29th January 2009 Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Sanita Says:

    Dear Raymundo. Thank you very much for very quick response,it helped a lot. I asked lawer for advice(but I really hope ,we do not have to go to court),he is ready to take action,if I want to.His advise was to write last letter,send with recorded delivery and demand(on 10th time during 2009 and now) to see all invoices 7 days before our first meeting,as required by law..Then I will have inaf days to sort my fee..I think,director dont have any invoces and only money retyrn to owners will go via court.I been adviced to pay ONLY when I see for what Im paying.My property is second hand property..it was aparthotel before,now 2 blocks is still hotel and only my block with 20 apartments are privat.By the way,prezident lives in our block,and his apartments are 2 made in one and he pays only for one(thought is 2 times bigger that mine.)Is that correct?And I will ask again..are thay alloud to charge us,if it is not such a community here?Prezident was sole owner,now block 1 wants community and thay making up new rules every time thay wish!! Thank you for your response.. Regards..Sanita
  • Sanita Says:

    ps.I forgot to write,that during 2009 ,director changed my fee 3 times..To be honest at this moment I do not know which one to pay..probably I will go for cheapest one,if thay have a proof of money spending.Thank you.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You're welcome Sanita. The advice from your lawyer is sound. You must in any case send him that registered letter prior to issuing legal proceedings against him. No, it's not legal as per my article. Community fees are paid on the basis of your quota on the commonhold. The larger your quote, the more you pay. That's the logic behind it. From what you write it would seem your President may have been tampering with the assigned quotas so as to pay as if he owned only one property. Very devious. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Sanita Says:

    Raymundo..thank you very,very much!!You been very helpful with your advice.I am surethat I am ready for our meeting!!I will definetly let you know about outcome of it.. Yours sincerly..Sanita
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Anytime Sanita. Quoting my article on Community of Owners :) I would advise you bring your tin hat to owners’ assemblies and prepare for some serious and protracted trench warfare, whereby each owner will hold his own ground, yielding occasionally to fleeting interests. Maybe it’s a good idea to bring along a Spanish lawyer as added reinforcements! Good luck; trust me, you’ll need it Regards
  • David Says:

    How can we remove a president who only stays in place because of proxy votes at the AGM from owners who rent out their apartments commercially to whom he provides cleaning and laundry services? Such commercial renting is actually illegal on a residential complex on Mallorca but he encourages it to make money while our complex deteriorates.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir, A very interesting question. It's the Owners' Assembly (whether AGM or EGM) that has to vote him out. If the majority vote wants him to remain for vested interests you simply cannot oust him...at least formally. You can however easily bypass the above. The activity of commercial letting is illegal in Mallorca, as you correctly write, unless you are duly licensed to operate by the Town Hall which does not sem to be the case. If someone should report this illegal activity it would cease (besides being heavily fined) and the President would no longer have a reason to remain in his post... Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • david Says:

    Thank you Raymundo. Many owners have reported the renting owners to the Conselleria de Tourisme in Palma and their inspector has started to visit and interview renters after which proceedings have been started. That's great and no doubt the Summer will see many more visits and many more proceedings. However our President is very thick skinned and he won't allow us access to his rental customers to let them know they are breaking the law. That's crazy, of course, so I imagine that the next AGM in April will be very heated. My question is, does anyone have a direct right to sue the president for what he is doing in encouraging commercial renting on a residential complex and profiting from that renting by leaving his customers exposed to fines and our complex like a holiday camp. Many thanks, David.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear David, You are welcome. Of course, any commonholder may choose to sue him. Quoting my article which starts off this thread: Challenging the General Assembly’s resolutions Section 18 rules on how assembly resolutions can be challenged at court. This can be done on three accounts: 1. When such resolutions are contrary to Law or the Community Statutes; 2. On them being seriously detrimental to the interests of the community and benefit one or several unit owners. 3. When they are seriously detrimental to some unit owner who has no legal obligation to sustain such detriment or when they have been adopted in abuse of power. There’s a deadline of just 3 months to challenge them after they were adopted or else a year if they are contrary to Law or the Community Statutes. Only owners who are up-to-date with their community fees may challenge community resolutions before a court. Alternatively they can lodge the owed amounts before the law court prior to litigating. Yours sincerely,
  • Loopylou Says:

    If you want to be voted in as President or a member of the Committe do you have to attend the AGM of the community.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Not really, no. There is no provision in the laws requiring this. But logicly it is highly recommendable if you want to stand up to be elected. Presumably there will be other contenders present at the AGM who will also opt for the post. Yours faithfully,
  • loopylou Says:

    We have a non-resident who wants to be elected onto the committee again for a second term. He will not be at the AGM in person. How would he be voted in.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    In that case someone acting on his behalf will have to propose him at the AGM. That is not an issue really. A vote is called and the winner is elected.
  • patoc Says:

    It has only recently emerged (after some 6 years) that our Community fees have been calculated incorrectly. Cuotas have been ignored and all fees rather than just the pool/garden maintenance costs as laid down in the Master deed, have been calculated on an equal basis. Ours is a 97 property Community raonging from a 70 sq m Apartment to a 600 sq m Villa. I have reported this to the President but had no response as yet, and I intend to put it on the next AGM agenda. As this is an ERROR that needs to be corrected, am I right to assume that no vote is required ( effectively this is an illegal change to fee calculations) ? If a vote IS required then are those Properties who have underpaid entitled to vote as technically they are in arrears ? How should I proceed with regards to previous over/underpayments - does this need a vote ? Any other advice or tips would be greatly appreciated
  • Unregistered Says:

    Thank you Raymundo. Many owners have reported the renting owners to the Conselleria de Tourisme in Palma and their inspector has started to visit and interview renters after which proceedings have been started. That's great and no doubt the Summer will see many more visits and many more proceedings. However our President is very thick skinned and he won't allow us access to his rental customers to let them know they are breaking the law. That's crazy, of course, so I imagine that the next AGM in April will be very heated. My question is, does anyone have a direct right to sue the president for what he is doing in encouraging commercial renting on a residential complex and profiting from that renting by leaving his customers exposed to fines and our complex like a holiday camp. Many thanks, David. Would be very grateful if you could let me know how you go about denouncing the owners who let their property out to holiday lets even though it is not allowed. According to our Community Statutes, our complex is for vivienda. When we bought our property, the conveyancing lawyer told us that is was residential. However, at least two villas in our complex (of 10 detached villas) rent theirs out to holidaymakers. Is the Town Hall or the Consellaria of Tourism the point of action???
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Patoc, You will need to vote this at your next AGM or EGM, yes. The joint owners should not be regarded as "technically" in arrears as they cannot be held accountable out of no fault of their own on an "error" caused by the former administration. In fact such a relevant change may even require a unanimous vote as it affects the Master deed no less. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Sir or Madam, Even if the development is labelled as "residencial" it is not illegal to let properties out. Another matter is if the complex is located in one of Spain's regions in which a Letting licence is required i.e. Mallorca Quoting my next article: 8. Buy-to-Let If you are buying with a view to rent the property out, either as short or long-term, make sure the region of Spain in which you are buying allows for this. Some regions, i.e. Balearic Islands, have stringent regulations whereby a special licence is required to rent. Failure to comply will result in the Town Hall fining you. Disgruntled neighbours always make apt whistleblowers, so be warned. Other regions in Spain, such as Andalucía, do not require letting licences but do have their own regulation in place on letting out property. i.e. Decree 218/2005. And as a final word of caution, unless your property is in a prime location, do not rely on the let to offset the mortgage repayments. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • patoc Says:

    Raymundo Thank you for the quick reply. Let me see if I understand you correctly. You say "You will need to vote this at your next AGM or EGM, yes." and also that " In fact such a relevant change may even require a unanimous vote as it affects the Master deed no less". Just to clarify the situation ; 1. The current allocation of fees is not only incorrect but also illegal as it does not reflect what is stated in the Master Deed 2. If the President / Administrator or anyone else wishes to CHANGE the way that fees are allocated into an equal share calculation this would need to be changed at an AGM / EGM, with a unanimous vote as the Master deed is to be changed. This cannot be done just because the Administrator made an error some time back. 3. As this would NOT get a unanimous vote to change I assume that the Administrator MUST immediately start calculating the fees correctly, as stated in the Master Deed How should I proceed with regards to previous over/underpayments - does this need a vote and would everyone THIS TIME ONLY get an equal vote, rather than one based on cuota ? Otherwise the Villa owners who should be paying much more would get too many votes. Many thanks Patrick O'Connell
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr O'Connell, Votes are based on the commonhold quota owners hold, as per my article and as per the law that rules all communal developments in Spain.- Commonhold Quota On drawing up the Master Deed before a Notary, every property within the community is assigned a quota or percentage thereof. This quota is composed both of privative and communal elements which are assigned to each property. Store rooms and garages are included as well for this purpose. This quota is important mainly for two reasons: 1.Because the expenses of the community will be allocated in proportion to your quota. So the larger the quota, the more you will have to pay. 2.Secondly, on voting at owners’ assemblies, the quotas need to be tallied for majority vote purposes. So, each owner does not equate to one vote. There may be a single owner, such as a developer, holding a significant communal quota which translates into great voting power. The resolutions reached bind all units within, regardless of whether they cast an opposing vote as majority rules apply (read below). I think we can safely assume your administrator knew they were being incorrectly calculated which is why I added apostrophes to the word error in prior post. This is hardly rocket science and it's how all communities fees are normally calculated throughout Spain, unless specifically agreed otherwise by unanimous vote. I'm not quite so sure this blatant "error" could go undetected for so long, six years no less. If all of you have have approved year after year the annual community budget there may be a right to have it calculated in such a way it can be argued by villa owners regardless of the Master deed. Am I correct in writing I have the sneaky suspicion you are going to face heavy opposition from the rest of the owners (namely those who own a villa, larger commonhold quota) to have the system amended as per the Master deed? You may even have to resort to litigating at court to push through what was agreed at the onstart in the Master deed on lodging the Horizontal Division deed before the Land registry. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • patoc Says:

    Raymundo Thanks again for your quick response. Why was this not noticed before ? I think because we concentrated on what actual money was being spent and assumed (wrongly) that the Administrator could be trusted to allocate the fees correctly. Most owners are from the UK and the cuota system is unfamiliar therefore. It was only when a neighbour and myself looked into it more deeply, having read articles like yours, that we came across this error. The same President and Administrators have been in place for some 5 years now and this has not helped either. I am not sure that it was deliberate or just sheer incompetence but what I now know is that the many Apartment owners are subsiding the few Villa owners illegally and unjustly. You say " "you are going to face heavy opposition from the rest of the owners (namely those who own a villa, larger commonhold quota) to have the system amended as per the Master deed? I apolgise for being a little slow but I still do not undertand this. Regardless of when (or why) it was done, the system in place is illegal - an illegal change to the Master Deed has been made, and all I wish to see is the illegal change stopped and the correct amounts calculated as per the registered cuotas/master deed. Why can I not propose this illegal change offficially and, when the vote is not unanimous, get it voted off ? Regards Patrick O'Connell
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You're welcome Mr O'Connell. I think you understand very well the gist of my reply. Regardless if the Master deed enshrines it you are going to face huge opposition from the villa owners and those with large quota share as they hold a vested interest in keeping the statu quo and not having the current system amended as its detrimental for them My view is that you are not going to sort it out amicably on your next AGM as you foresee and you will end up leading a protracted fight over the issue in a Spanish court. Again I repeat, I don't think it was a mistake because of incompetence, or maybe I'm just being oversuspicious. Best regards, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • david Says:

    Hi Raymundo. From the previous threads it's obviously AGM time in Mallorca. Our president would like to change the election of the president to every three years instead of at each AGM. He is proposing to put that to a vote. Can it be subjected to a vote or is it the law that the presidential election is an annual event? Many thanks, David.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi David, As you well write it cannot be done. AGM's have to be held once a year statutorily as per Spain's Horizontal Property Law (Commonhold Act) pursuant to section 16: Section 16 1. The meeting of the general assembly shall be held at least once a year to approve the budget and the accounts, and in any other time the president sees fit or upon request of 25 percent of the unit owners or a number representing, at least, 25 percent of the assessment quotas. Regards, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Unregistered Says:

    Hi again Raymundo. But can an AGM vote to have elections for president every 3 years? All the best David
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Apologies David, I had misunderstood your query. That's up to the owners to decide if they want to vote a president once a year or every 10 years for example. Section 13 of Spain's Commonhold Act rules: Artículo 13. 1. Los órganos de gobierno de la comunidad son los siguientes: ... 7. Salvo que los estatutos de la comunidad dispongan lo contrario, el nombramiento de los órganos de gobierno se hará por el plazo de un año. What the above means is that by default communities should vote annually on the elected roles of president, vice-president etc. However, if the Community Statutes state that these elections ought to be held for example every three years, then it is legal. Owners have freedom to amend these elections that by default the HPL rules should be held on an annual basis. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • John Says:

    I live in a fairly large, residential complex in Tenerife. Our Committee is correctly formed and they are very good at having maintenance work carried out and accounts published, etc. However, there is a problem with barking dogs left on balconies while their owners go out. The Committee seem unwilling to tackle this problem, despite a number of complaints. The worst problems are caused by animals owned by people renting properties. Is it possible to change the Community Rules to stipulate that owners renting out their property must ban all animals? Is it possible that these owners are renting out their properties illegally if they are not licensed to do so by the local ayuntimiento? Do you have any recommendations as to how we can successfully tackle the problems with barking dogs and yowling cats?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Do you have any recommendations as to how we can successfully tackle the problems with barking dogs and yowling cats? Yes, how about a moonshade? J/K Jokes aside, yes you can include this in the Communitie's Bylaws. As I write in the conclusion to my article on Communities of Owners in Spain: Conclusion The bottom line is that Community Statutes or Bylaws are the ones that really rule each community and are unique. No community has the same statutes as another. It is always highly advisable that, prior to purchasing property on a development, you always request a copy of the Community Statutes, known in Spanish as Estatutos de la Comunidad de Propietarios, as well as the Community Rules, if existent. You may avoid unpleasant surprises, such as communities that ban domestic animals or even piano players! Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • John Says:

    Raymundo, Many thanks for your confidence-building advice. After following your website for a while, I was aleady fairly sure of the path I needed to take so now I'll get on with prodding the Committe into action. Thanks again. John
  • maurice webb Says:

    I live in a community with 12 villas and 14 appartments. The villas and ground floor apartments have their own private gardens, fenced off from the 'community' gardens. I do not have a garden but am expected to pay my quota towards the cost of the maintenence of these gardens. Is it correct that I should pay this?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    You are welcome John.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr Webb, That's a very interesting point you raise. Are you sure those gardens are not communal? I write this because I know first-hand a development which lower apartments have these gardens, which happen to be communal, and owners are now busy fencing them in with cute little wooden gates. This should not be tolerated by other community owners as these gardens are communal, paid for by everyone. They are not for privative use of these lower apartments. Only because some people act as if they owned the place does not mean they are really the legal owners. You would be surprised how often this occurs. Appearances can be deceiving. Do not take matters for granted, research them on your own. If the gardens you mention are effectively privative, you should of course not be paying for them as they are not communal as explained in my article which starts of this very thread. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • maurice webb Says:

    Many thanks for your prompt reply which has caused something of a stir at our community here in Alcossebre!! The gardens are indeed private. The whole of the garden of each villa is contained within a boundary wall. A hedge is included within this boundary wall and the dispute is to whether the trimming and maintenence of this hedge is the responsibility of the villa owners or not. Inasmuch as I have been expected to pay my quota share for the private garden work for the past six years, can I claim retrospective refund for the amount I have paid?
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Mr Webb, That's the problem with this job, can't make everyone happy. The trimming of hedges, as its effectively a boundary, needs to be paid for by the Community as it can be regarded as "communal". A different matter is the garden, which being privative, should be paid for by the owner who is the only one who can enjoy it. Please note that my comment regarding the lower gardens were referring to a closed community made of flats only, not villas. Yours faithfully, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • maurice webb Says:

    are you saying that as the hedges are around the villa gardens then they are a community problem? If so are the railing round my balconys and patio also a community responsibility
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Well façades are a communal element. All Communities pay to have them painted every 3 years or so and that may include the balcony railings as well, indeed. In fact, if you try to paint your balcony in pink colors you will likely receive a nasty letter from the Communitie's President informing you that you are not allowed to do it. Or pehaps if you want to fence in your balcony using a removable glass curtain this may not be allowed either by the Community and will probably be taken down at your own expense unless the Community accepts it. The reason is because the exterior may be a communal element. Ground floors also pay for lifts they never use. It may seem unfair but it happens. Penthouse owners may not own some of the terraces which may belong to the Community of Owners as it may be a communal element. When you buy into a Community you are also made responsible for the contribution to the upkeep of communal elements of the Community to which you may not even have access to. Yours sincerely, Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • Suzi Says:

    Hi, I´m new to this forum and live in Tenerife Canary Islands, Do ALL property laws that apply in Spain also apply to Tenerife?:)
  • johnnylogon Says:

    I own a property in Orihuela Costa on the Costa Blanca in a complex of some 148 properties in total built right on the seafront, basically 'to the line' of what is permitted, i.e. you cannot build in the area in front of the walls of the building. Every year the same few people try to get a few projects carried out which are basically to their benefit, and no matter what discussions or rows take place at the community meeting, they try it again the year after. In the complex we have three communal padel tennis courts, and a large swimming pool facility with adjoining children's play area, constructed in the area to the front of the apartments, in the area which ptherwise cannot be constructed upon. They are very nice facilities and allow for extensive areas of garden as well. These are all part of the original project approved by town hall, on the basis of which we purchased our properties. These residents now want to remove one of the paddle tennis courts and construct a new multi purpose court, approximately twice the size of the exisiting padel tennis court, which will in effect remove at least one third of the exisiting communal grassed garden areas. It will also severely change the visual impression of the complex when entering from the seafront. They have also proposed the construction of toilet facilities adjoining the pool, again in the area where construction is not permitted. We will be discussing these matters once again at the next meeting, (this coming Saturday). Can these matters be approved by the majority at a meeting, or am I correct in understanding as since they are changes to the actual project and the general asthetics of the complex, that they require a unanimous vote by the community rather than just a majority of those present on the day? What percentage of the proprietors have to be represented in order for such changes to even be discussed never mind voted upon or approved? Can a toilet block be constructed in an area where otherwise construction is not permitted? Indeed where it is not necessary, (no apartment in the complex is more than 100m from the pool in question). All comments and advise would be greatly welcomed.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi, I´m new to this forum and live in Tenerife Canary Islands, Do ALL property laws that apply in Spain also apply to Tenerife?:) Hi Suzi, Not all of them. Spain is divided administratively into 17 autonomous regional entities as well as two insular cities (Ceuta and Melilla). Each of these 17 regional entities can enact their own laws in certain matters besides the national legal framework. So in Tenerife's case, besides the national laws common to all of Spain there will be additionally specific regional laws and even local regulation (from its Town Halls). Yours sincerely Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • kevin511 Says:

    can you explain how the voting works in a community. I live on a golf complex, 36 houses are still owned by the developer. Does this mean that they have 36 votes. I live in the canary islands.
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Dear Kevin I'll quote my article which explains how votes are tallied at Owners' Assemblies (AGM's and EGM'S): Commonhold Quota On drawing up the Master Deed before a Notary, every property within the community is assigned a quota or percentage thereof. This quota is composed both of privative and communal elements which are assigned to each property. Store rooms and garages are included as well for this purpose. This quota is important mainly for two reasons: 1. Because the expenses of the community will be allocated in proportion to your quota. So the larger the quota, the more you will have to pay. 2. Secondly, on voting at Owners’ Assemblies, the quotas need to be tallied for majority vote purposes. So, each owner does not equate to one vote. There may be a single owner, such as a developer, holding a significant communal quota which translates into great voting power. The resolutions reached bind all units within, regardless of whether they cast an opposing vote as majority rules apply (read below). Sincerely Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
  • kevin511 Says:

    Thank you Raymundo,. Based on this system, the owners will never win a vote, as the developer will always ensure that they block anything that they do not agree with. e.g. Our communial pool was repaired by the developer in november 2009, after arguing for 4 years for them to agree to the repair. The estate is 6 years old. We have asked the developer to have the repairs carried out again, it went wrong 2 weeks after the repair. They have blocked the vote and refused to repair it. Do we have any chance.. Many Thanks Kevin
  • Lawbird Lawyer Says:

    Hi Kevin You are welcome. You can always change the voting system amending the Master deed, but that requires unanimity. So it's a catch-22 as the developer will most likely not cave in and turn down a proposal that would affect him negatively reducing his power base. Regarding the pool problem, the whole Community would have to pay it in proportion to the share quota held on the complex by each owner.
  • kevin511 Says:

    Hello again. Can you please tell me how high a wall has to be around a communial pool. Many thanks Kevin
  • maurice webb Says:

    Another problem. I have been told that once the minutes of our AGM have been published, I have 30 days to query any points recorded in them. Is this the law in Spain? I was in the UK when the minutes were finally sent out and I did not recieve them within the 30 days. The minutes are totally wrong. Do I have any recourse? Thanks
  • david ash Says:

    can you help, i live on an urbanisation and recently attended our AGM which a vote was carried by 36 to 32 for astro turf to be installed in our pool area, since then a resident has gone to the administrators to object to this approval and has been told on reflection the vote was counted wrong, can you tell me should this vote stand or if it is allowed to be altered can we appeal or force an EGM for a revote
  • STEVEN KEOGH Says:

    I am president of a community. A long term renter has a large dog that keeps on escaping into the garden area and leaves excrement on the grass area. She has had a written warning about this but does not care. Can we do something about this, particularly as we have banned renters from having dogs on the community. This was passed at a community meeting 2 tears ago.
  • Unregistered Says:

    Purchased apartment in Tenerife from resale of part of ex time share complex the other part is still in operation it purchased for letting in 2006 It was marketed for rental and said it would be ok as it was old timeshare and had a licence the company that sold the complex even put us in touch with a letting agency that was going to let out for us on the complex We signed up with him and but 18 months later he closed his business and we had to let out ourselves. This we did not want to do but had no other alternative. We have declared all profit for tax purposes in Spain and UK but we have now been informed that we are illegal over 60% of the complex rents out their apartment not sure how many declare but that not my problem. There is a purge going on at present in Tenerife and worried but have tried to do everything by the letter of the law. I use Accountant in Tenerife and have a meeting next week. The complex is appox 20years old and part is still operating as time share. Its still classed as a complex as we do not pay individualy for our water or electricity they are calculated buy our commity and charged accordingly. Any comments would help.
  • Paul Says:

    I understand that Spanish Tourist laws prohibit the renting of properties on a complex that is not licensed by the Tourist board for letting. However, some publications claim that it is legal to rent properties to family and friends in Lanzarote. Is this correct?
  • J Colbran Says:

    We have recently had a report done by one of the members of our community to look at disabled facilities. The community has a number of swimming pools but none have a hoist for disabled access and some of the footpaths to some of the pools are not suitable for wheelchair access. However the pools are not open to the public, just owners and their visitors or tenants if rented. Can you confirm what liability we have as a community to legally provide access under the disabled disability act and the law in Murcia Spain? Secondly our roads have been adopted by the Local Council but our statutes say we are responsible for maintenance! The report noted that footpaths do not have an area recognisable underfoot (tack tile surface) for the visual impaired and falls short of the DDA requirement. Would this not be a responsibility of the Local Authority now they have adopted the roads?
  • Teri Says:

    i have just moved into a semi detached villa, with private pool and garden (there are no communual areas at all) in fuerteventura as a renter. The owner gave me permission to erect a satellite dish. Without prior notice, the presedente sent a note demanding that it was taken down within five days or he would do it and charge us for it and the repairs to the wall. There are fifteen other dishes up in the same developement. To save hassle, I moved the dish, but I feel he is being very heavey handed. now he is demanding access to inspect the damage. A lot of people have moved out because of the harrassement from the president. ASa result a lot of properties are empty. The two villas either side to us are empty and there pools are neglected and as a result we are invested by moscitos, but thats seems to be ok. I asked for a copy of the rules, but he said he can not talk to us as we are mere tenants. The owner is none resident and he also asked for a copy and was ignored. The presedent is coming to inspect the 'damage' on SUNDAY at 11.30. As a good catholic, I feel that a working day would have been more appropriate and I feel that this presedent is trying to get us to move out. I would appreciate any help on this matter you can give
  • John Oakhurst Says:

    In our community a question has arisen as to who is responsible for the retiling of a balcony floor when water seeps into the downstairs apartment due to break up of those tiles and waterproof membrane. The owner concerned did retile himself some 3 or so years ago but tiled above existing tiling without repairing the tar membrane so the tiles are now higher than the inner floor and the tracking of the patio doors. It has always been the community view that a balcony or terrace which is accessed by an owner who has sole use is the responsibility of that owner. The owner concerned considers the terrace is communal property notwithstanding he has sole use and the escritura saying that a private apartment starts at the front door and continues to the vertical wall adjoining the communal garden. Another owner says the situation is covered anyway by the Civil Code which says that even if the terrace is not private, from the moment that an owner who has sole access changes something, that person is responsible for the work and any liability arising. The community insurer states the problem only arose due to the nature of the repair work will not pay the claim. Kindly advise your views - thankyou.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Teri, Welcome to the belegal forum. The President t of the community does not have the right to force you to set an appointment to visit the property on a Sunday and he cannot enter your property without your consent, under any circumstances. After reading the information that you have given us, our advice is that you, in the first instance, insist the owner of the property claims to have a copy of the statutes of the Community of Owners, and then forward the copy to you. If the President still ignores his petition, the owner can take the Community of Owners to court in order to defend his rights. Form your side, you can end the rental contract or report the case to court so the problem is solved. You will need to evaluate the importance of the matter and decide if you wish to take legal actions, as these will entail legal fees and expenses. We also advise you to report the President of the Community of owners to the Police station for harassment and constraint. Regards,
  • Lesley Dutton Says:

    Do Residencials in Ibiza need a special licence from the ajuntamiento to allow rentals? Is there a law governing the right to have a president? Do we have the right in law to have an annual fully detailed breakdown of all the incoming and outgoing expenses of our community. Does the community have to provide a bank of mailboxes - we have none and have to get our post from the administrator's office - he closes from Dec 1st to Jan 16th each year, effectively cutting off our access to our post during Christmas. We are 20 apartments and the administrator has the voting rights of 11 mostly absentee owners (we do not have a president) and so we have no chance to oppose anything he decides to do - he is NOT an owner. This is only a small example of the many problems we have. This Residencial is about 14 yrs old and has been run this way all of that time - we are owners from only the last 5 years and feel like we are up against a wall with no way out. Would appreciate any help/advise you can give. Thank you.
  • terry gibson Says:

    For two years now we (the community ) have payed 30€ each to be put into a separate bank a/c for the painting of the community block. This hasen't been done and is being swolled up in community expenses. Can we force the president to open a separate bank a/c. Thank you. Terry
  • Marta Says:

    Hi Terry, Sure. You need to speak to the community administrator or president and ask him to hold an extraordinary meeting in order for this to be discussed. Opening a separate bank account can be agreed on.
  • Ian Says:

    We have just been advised by the local council that our residencia of 400 plots, the majority of which are detached villas, is to become a CO. I am trying to find out the details about establishing a CO from scratch, such as timetables, etc., but cannot make any of the links work at your excellent starter article. Can anyone help with the links please or point towards a starter guide for all of the new residents. Many thanks, Ian.
  • Ian Says:

    Further to my last question, we have just been advised that our development is to become an Etidad de Conservacion instead of a CO. What is the difference in rights and do we have any choice in the matter? Many thanks, Ian
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Ian, I believe your question has already been answered via e-mail, but I think it is good to reply it here as well so it may help anybody else. An Entidad Urbanistica de conservacion is a public Law entity; not Private like Community of Owners. The Entidad Urbanistica de Conservacion is formed by the Owners and other individuals to collaborate with Building purposes, as for instance conservation and maintenance of the Urbanization construction works, public services, etc. This type of entities work in the same way as ordinary Communities, as there are quotas/fees to be paid regularly by the owners, and its establishment is processed by the corresponding Town Hall. In your case, we believe that after the builder has finished the urbanization, he has transferred the streets and green areas´ ownership to the Town Hall but the Owners of the houses on the plot are responsible for the conservation and management of the same. The existence of such entities is not necessary if there does not exist any building/construction Works that need to be conserved and managed at the urbanization, though this will not mean that, in anticipation of its future existence, the entity is established beforehand in order to accomplish its future obligations. The establishment of this type of entity is only compulsory when the responsibility of the Works of the urbanizations belongs to the owners of the industrial or housing plot, by virtue of the indications of the Urban Ordination Plan or Programmed rules of Urban Intervention or should them be obliged by legal dispositions. The ordinations and regulations of these entities will vary depending on the province. Our advice is that you approach the Town Hall department of Urbanismo and make an enquiry on the current status of the establishment of the Entidad Urbanistica de Conservacion of your urbanization. Regards,
  • penny Says:

    in a vote of no confidence from the floor against a committe member can that person use proxy votes to ensure they stay in office. The person holds many proxy votes.
  • Charles Says:

    The president of our community has erected a glass enclosure around his terrace. The statutes state that no alteration to the terraces can be made without the unaminous consent of all owners. It also says that the president must represent the community in the court. How do I get the president to take down the illegally erected structure?
  • Ian Peters Says:

    We live on a large urbanisation of over 500 properties including detached, and semi-detached villas, pueblo style blocks, and several large multi-story blocks built so close together as to be effectively one large block. We are having serious corrosion problems in the pillars and supporting beams in several parts of the urbanisation. Our president and administrator have decided that each group of owners must pay for the damage under their part of the buildings. In a neighbouring urbanisation with very similar problems their administator advised that under the Law of Horizontal property the the beams, pillars and other supporting structures under the affected units were in fact "communal" and the whole urbanisation took responsibilty for the repairs using the "cuota" system to allocate costs. I would be very grateful if you could give your opinion as to which version of the law is correct.
  • Piet Rietveld Says:

    We do have a community with 20 detached villas. The only common area is a swimming pool. In the minutes of the last AGM is stated that according to the Horizontal Property Act (HPA) the owners are responsible to keep their properties and also their gardens in "good condition". Could you explain to me how I must understand "good" in this case according to the HPA?
  • Patricia Says:

    We do have a community with 20 detached villas. The only common area is a swimming pool. In the minutes of the last AGM is stated that according to the Horizontal Property Act (HPA) the owners are responsible to keep their properties and also their gardens in "good condition". Could you explain to me how I must understand "good" in this case according to the HPA? Dear Mr. Rietveld, Owners are responsible for the maintenance and good keeping of their gardens, in relation to Safety and Hygiene. Each Town Hall has its own regulations regarding the good keeping of the green areas and swimming pools, indicating the specific requierements to be met in relation to Safety, Hygiene and correct working order. You can reach the Town hall and request a copy of the specific ordinances to have a clear idea of what is considered to be in " good conditions " . Regards,
  • Patricia Says:

    We live on a large urbanisation of over 500 properties including detached, and semi-detached villas, pueblo style blocks, and several large multi-story blocks built so close together as to be effectively one large block. We are having serious corrosion problems in the pillars and supporting beams in several parts of the urbanisation. Our president and administrator have decided that each group of owners must pay for the damage under their part of the buildings. In a neighbouring urbanisation with very similar problems their administator advised that under the Law of Horizontal property the the beams, pillars and other supporting structures under the affected units were in fact "communal" and the whole urbanisation took responsibilty for the repairs using the "cuota" system to allocate costs. I would be very grateful if you could give your opinion as to which version of the law is correct. Dear Mr. Peters. You can easily find out what are the communal elements: 1. To all owners of the urbanization 2. To each block 3. To one sole owner ( villa or apartment owner ) This information is found in the Title deeds of the Horizontal division of the land, as well as the articles of the Community of Owners ( Estatutos ). These deeds must be accordingly registered in the Land Registry Office and you can request a copy from the Community of Owners Administration office. Best Regards,
  • Yvonne Fischer Says:

    I have no comment.I would like to know if the Administrater and the President of an urbanisation have the law on their side to do anything they want
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Yvonne, Certainly not. Their roles and rights are defined and regulated in the Law of Horizontal Property: Ley 49/1960, de 21 de julio, sobre Propiedad Horizontal. Rergards,
  • Monica Cannon Says:

    I own an apartment which is registered in my name only, can my new husband put himself forward as a committee member or president. We have been legally married for many years, but the apartment is still in my pre marriage name, does he have a right to stand for an office.
  • Michael Says:

    If the registered owner of an apartment is a company, can a representative of the company or a shareholder in it be elected to the office of Community President?
  • Gerald Says:

    Is the flat roof of an apartment block communal property? If necessary can I get access to my satellite dish which is on a communal wall only accessible via another resident's apartment roof.
  • Patricia Says:

    Is the flat roof of an apartment block communal property? If necessary can I get access to my satellite dish which is on a communal wall only accessible via another resident's apartment roof. Hello Gerald, The best thing to do in these cases is to check the property title deeds and Community of Owners statutes ( that the Community Administrator could provide ) and check if there is a “right of way” ( derecho de paso ). In the event there was nothing established to that effect, you would be in your full right to request the said derecho de paso was indicated in the Community statutes. Regards,
  • Polykrates Says:

    We have no communal swimming pool in our small community. A strong minority of owners is against building one, since they fear the running costs. Our administrator says: It needs a 3/5 majority in the AGM and dissenters are only free from sharing the building costs, if the costs exceed one normal yearly budget. But the horizontal property act says in Art. 11, that nobody is forced to share the costs, if it exceed 3 monthly rates. Are there recent amendments changing this from 3 months to one year? And the quorum for the AGM is ruled by our community statutes: "No owner can demand new installations, services or improvements that are not required for the adequate maintenance and habitation of the building, except if agreed by owners representing two thirds of the quotas." Or is Art. 17 of the Horizontal Property Act applicable with a 3/5 majority?
  • lorraine Says:

    i have an apartment in an urbanization in tenerife and the apartment above terrace is very old and has caused damage to our ceilings in the lounge and single bedroom we informed the owner stating the problem as the rienforfing bars of the terrace will have rusted due to neglect the owner has had the terrace retiled but not addressed the underlying problem wich needs to be addressed from our cieling am i within my rights to have it done and give the community the bill to put alien on the owner as she is quite arrogant and has refused to pay but the consciquences are a colasped terrace into our apartment and will also afect the aparetment aboves and maybe more
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Polykrates, That is correct; a new swimming pool installation will require that 3/5 of the community owners agree to it, providing that fraction equals the 3/5 of the community shares. Any owner can refuse to make payment of this extra community charge if it exceeds the cost of 3 monthly fees for communal expenses. That owner will not have a right to use the said swimming pool once installed if he does not get up date with the extra community fee for the purpose, including any interests generated. Regards,
  • Arthur Ennimore Says:

    We are part of a small enclave of 19 private houses built in 2004 by a rogue builder who refrained from informiing the buyers of the illegality (Built on rustic land etc) Until now we have had an owner's association with a lawyer advising - most expensively! The lawyer has on occasion told us that we do not need to form a Comunidad , as there are no communal services whatever except an unmade road running through the centre. There are no communal areas whatever just 19 individual houses. The same solicitor who said we do not need a Comunidad has now suggested forming one - no doubt who the paid administrator will be!! At least three owners on the site including me, think this is completely unnecessary. We are NOT a community Can we be forced to join it and and bow to the wishes of a simple majority ? We are about 50/50 pensioners and people working here who are much better off than most of the pensioners, and trying to push this through
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Arthur, It is certainly convenient to have a Community of Owner set up, however, there is no obligation whatsoever to be part of the Community if you do not wish so. If the Community is finally set up and you, plus the other 2 owners that disagree, do not join it, you must be aware that you will not be able to enjoy any communal areas managed by them. You mention that the only communal element is the road that runs through the centre, however please be aware that this may not be considered a communal element but a public use element, so the Community of owners is not the entity responsible for its use, management and maintenance. Regards,
  • David66 Says:

    I am Vice President of a Community. We have mixed nationality and most of us have only a little knowledge of Spanish. We therefore hold our meetings in English. Minutes of the meeting are produced in English and this English version is signed, sent to owners and approved at the next AGM. The Administrator produces a Spanish copy which is sent to the Land Registrar. I have been told that it is a legal requirement that this copy is in Spanish. My question is, in case of problems with translation, which is the legally binding version of the minutes?
  • Marta Says:

    Hello David66, The legal binding version would be the one which was originally agreed by the owners. This is the English version. The Spanish version would need to be corrected to match the original agreed minutes.
  • stuart16 Says:

    Hi, we are paying over 500euro a month in community fees (Fuerteventura) and never see any detailed accounts. All the maintenance and cleaning work carried out on site is by the Presidents own company. So our unrealistically high fees are going straight in his pocket. He owns the rest of the property and we never see any copies of bank statements to show he puts in the same. Can we withdraw from the community and only pay necessary maintenance on receipt of invoices etc. Please help. It is a small community of 3 villas and 8 apartments with a pool. Now we have the Tourism Licence issue which we were never told of when he sold us the property. A nightmare on every level.
  • Kitch71 Says:

    I rent on a community and have 2 dogs, I recently lost my mother and have rented a house for her dogs with someone to look after them on the same community. I made the mistake of telling my neighbour who is an owner, he is most upset that more dogs have moved onto the community. Our dogs are not noisy and we are responsible owners,with the mess cleared up twice a day. The owner of my villa and the one we rent from do not have a problem and are happy to have a tenant that maintains there property and pays the rent on time. We have now had a letter from the community, saying a complaint has been made by a neighbour re noisy dogs and the garden being a mess and that the community law allows only 2 pets, and that we must remove one or more dogs. However, we rented the property with the community acting as agent, as my mother had been a tenant at another development they had and they acted as the referee for us. So it seems funny that this issue arises 4 days after my disagreement with my neighbour. I hae permission from the owner to have the dogs there and the community knew we had 3 dogs when we moved in. They can not surely then issue such an ultimatum. Without us being able to put forward our case.
  • Rupee Says:

    We have a similar problem to Charles (Wed Aug 4th, 2011). Our President has erected a wooden terrace outside his 1st floor living room, and metal stairs descending to his ground floor level and garden. I believe the law is that such extensions need the permission of other owners, which he has not sought. The terrace and stairs mean that our garden area is intrusively overlooked. What recourse do we have now that it already exists?
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Rupee, Before taking any action, the statutes of the Community must be checked to determine if the terrace construction has any effect on the communal areas. Also, the town Hall ordinances have to be checked. If you wish to explain the case in more detail, you can contact me personally on the details below. Regards,
  • Rupee Says:

    Thanks Patricia. I could not see your contact details. Can you send them again.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Rupee, If you click on http://www.lawbird.com/staff/Patricia.Martin, you will be directed to my page and you will find there my e-mail address and telephone number. Regards,
  • Lesley Says:

    Pool maintenance contract: Our previous presidente sold his apartment in Oct 2011, therefore could not stand for election at our AGM in 2012. We now have a new presidente and committee. One of the aims was to look at the pool contractor, who we as owners were not happy with the service they provided. Our new Presidente asked the contractor and the previous presidente for a copy of the contract. It took them nearly 2 weeks to produce and we then found out that the contract had been renewed in February 2012 for 2 years, signed by the previous presidente. The contract is very biased towards the contractor. Was our Presidente wrong to sign a contract for 2 years when he knew that he was standing down. We have been told from another owner that when a Presidente is no longer an owner, then the vice presidente should sign any contracts etc.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Lesley, If the President of the Community was still in his role as President, chairing the CO, when the pool maintenance contract was renewed, his action was totally valid before the CO and before third parties ( the contractor ). The fact of having sold his property before his Presidency role ends does not invalidate any decision taken by him. Regards,
  • Terry Says:

    Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but it is not something that can be explained in a few words, and I did make a similar post elsewhere (that got no replies), when it would have been perhaps been better if I had used this Thread instead. I live on a Tourist Board registered Complex on Tenerife, where some owners are permanent residents, and others live on-site for part of the year, and rent out their apartments for the remainder. For a couple of years now there has been a power struggle taking place for control of the Community between, on one side the vast majority of owners, and on the other side the 'sole' Lettings Company. To initially gain the necessary 50% + 1 number of owners to register with the Tourist Board in order to be able to gain their License, most owners signed up with a new Lettings Agency, even the ones who let “privately” or never at all. The reason being that owners wanted to remove the previous Lettings Company as they were paying over very little of the monies legally due to the owners who had let through them. When signing up with the "new" Lettings Company, most owners didn't notice a clause in the document they were signing, which said the Lettings Company could use the owner's vote if they did not vote themselves. When this clause was spotted some time later the Lettings Company said they would never use that clause and would have it removed – but they have since “reneged” on this, and at the most recent AGM used all the “blank” proxy votes they requested be sent to them,to try and vote out all the existing Committee and also tried to register the votes of anyone registered with them, but who had not sent in a proxy form. That meant the Lettings Company had almost as many votes as everyone else put together who attended the AGM, or had sent in a “completed” proxy form with their voting choices pre-filled in. Using their block votes, the Lettings Company had only 2 votes short of a majority on every item voted on, and are now challenging the President's right to refuse those votes which neither she nor the Administrators had had sight of, but which they tried to use (those referred to in bold red above). They had one owner who was sympathetic to them stand from the floor for the Presidency on the day of the AGM, and if that person had been voted in, they knew they had would have enough votes to elect a new Committee from floor consisting of just themselves and their few supporters. One of the "third" shareholders of the Lettings Company (who is not an owner themselves, and doesn't live on-site – only works there), had more than 50 blank proxy votes which that person then used to vote against the only nominated candidate (the existing President), and vote for the person they put up from the floor (who had no Presidential qualifications at all and would have been President in name only and purely the Lettings Company "puppet"). Many owners who couldn't attend the AGM were not aware of what the Lettings Company were planning, and because the existing President was the only person who had sent in a Nomination paper beforehand for the Presidency role, assumed she would be elected automatically, which was one reason they hadn't filled in a voting form, or had sent in a blank one direct to the Lettings Company. When it came to light at the AGM what was going on, apart from the Lettings Company and their few friends there, everyone else (the great majority) were disgusted with the tactics they had employed, having kept their intentions secret until the AGM itself. The majority of owners said it must never be allowed to happen again, and quite a number of those who sent in blank proxy forms to the Lettings Company, have since written in “rescinding” the Lettings Company's right to use their vote in the future. The real reason (I and others believe) that the Lettings Company want control of the Communidad, is so that they can force everyone who lets an apartment to let only through them, but many owners are now not happy with who the Lettings Company put in their apartments, the charges they make, and the standard of cleaning etc., and choose instead to let out to only people they know and trust, mainly family and friends. Those that do let out privately have paid the Lettings Company an Annual fee of €100 each for the privilege (which the Lettings Company demanded) in order to be covered by their “umbrella” so to speak, but I am not sure if this is legal?. The vast majority of owners are very happy with the current President and her Committee, and what they do, and do not want a change in favour of the Lettings Company and their few friends, who seem to want to take control of the Communidad and dictate to owners how the Complex is run. The Administrators of the Complex are currently being bombarded with emails from just a few individuals who support the Lettings Company (and it is thought? have verbally agreed to take over shares in the Company when the present elderly owners retire). Lawyers are presently having to be engaged to look into and answer the questions that are being raised by these individuals, which is costing the Community time and money. The few owners that are sending in the questioning emails are also trying to get the previous EGM and the current AGM declared “illegal” so they can overturn the voting decisions that weren't in their favour {such as no owner of an on-site substantial organisation (such as the Lettings Company itself) can also be Committee Members of the Communidad}, and they are also challenging the right of the President to refuse the “virtual” proxy votes previously referred to. Although the Community's own Lawyer is looking into all of the above, it would be nice/helpful to have a second opinion at least, especially on the question of the block use of votes by the Lettings Company, and their right to use owners votes who have registered with them, but didn't send in a completed vote form themselves. One of my questions would be - Would it be “legal” say, to have a Communidad Rule that says if anyone doesn't send in a vote, and doesn't attend personally (an AGM or EGM), then their vote becomes “Null and Void”, which would stop others from using it.? Regards Terry
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Terry Following my answer on another thread, we will leave the question for someone else to reply, as we are unable to provide a more thorough answer at this moment. Regards
  • Bettina Says:

    please could someone help clarify the following: 1) is there an actual spanish law dictating that there has to be disabled access to a swimming pool? If so, where can i read this? My community building has ramps outside for wheelchair access to the building but the pool is small and we currently have 2 metal ladders.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Bettina, You can check article 10 of the Law of Horizontal Property that indicates the Community of Owners is obliged to carry out the necessary construction works for the good maintenance and conservation of the building and its services so it meets all the structural, living and accessible conditions. In section 2 of the said article, the Law establishes that the community will be obliged to carry out works that provide access to old and disabled people if the owners, workers or volunteers in the community so request, to be able to use the premises and services in accordance to their disability. This includes the installation of electronic and mechanic devices that helps access in and out. For this obligation to be effective, the cost of this work cannot exceed the amount of 12 ordinary community fees. This limitation will not apply if the family unit of the disabled or old person belongs to have an annual income below 2.5 times the IPREM, except the case the family has access to benefits. If there were owners against paying the fees for the construction works, they would be fined by the Administration. If there were different opinions and opposition about the obligation or nature of carrying out those works among owners, the Community would have legal right to discuss and resolve via a General Meeting. As you can see it is an issue that must be raised in a meeting and resolved accordingly. Regards,
  • Jill Hayles Says:

    Where can I find a copy of the Statutes for a community of owners, written in English.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Jill, If you are member of a community of owners, you have the right to request a copy of the current Community statutes, in Spanish ( the official language ). You must approach the President or Community administrator for this purpose. Some communities register the statutes at the Land Registry when the horizontal division is made, though as time goes by it happens that if there have been changes made on the said division, these are not registered thus updating the current statutes. Therefore, the quickest way to get a copy of them is by asking the President. A copy in English will only be provided if the Community Office offers that service to their members, as they are not obliged to do so by Law. Regards,
  • Polykrates Says:

    I am coming back to a previous posting (Dec. 9th 2011): Which quorum is to apply, if the statutes are raising the hurdles against the HPA? For building a swimming pool the horizontal property asks in Art. 17 for a 3/5 of shares represented in favour. Our community statutes say: "No owner can demand new installations, services or improvements that are not required for the adequate maintenance and habitation of the building, except if agreed by owners representing two thirds of the quotas." Am I right, if I presume, the law here gives just a minimum standard of minority protection and every community is free to raise the standard. So the quorum asked by the statutes has to be reached?
  • Polykrates Says:

    If someone could answer we previous posting she/he could make me really happy. Our AGM is in two weeks time. Still hoping.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello, As you have mentioned, your CO statutes and regulations agreed that 2/5 would be enough to approve the installation of a service, Communal swimming pool in this case. This system differs from the one observed in the current Law of Horizontal Property, that is 3/5 ( article 17.1 ). There seems to be a confrontation between what has been stipulated in the statutes and the current Law, therefore we need to clarify if the rules to be applied are those approved in the statutes, internal operational rules or the current LPH. Article 396 of the Civil Code, last paragraph indicates, in reference to Joint Property ( as your Horizontal Property is ), that the same are ruled by special legal dispositions and whatever it allows for, by the parties' will. On the other hand, we must regard Law on Horizontal Property as special Law, as determined by its article 1.1: " The present Law purports to govern the special system of ownership established in section 396 of the Civil Code, known as horizontal property." In section 17, paragraph 1 of the quoted article, it is established: " The resolutions of the owners’ general assembly shall be subject to the following rules ". The content does not offer any possibility for the parties to alter these rules set forth as being imperative. As a consequence, we consider those regulations to be regarded void as not being in accordance with the Law stipulations in connection with the established quorum for the swimming pool installation, as it must be ruled by the 3/5 system established on the LPH, not having the community members any right to modify it, neither to extend nor limit the legal percentage. Regards,
  • Peter Wilkinson Says:

    At this years EGM our President attended for the first time in 7 years. Prior to the meeting my wife asked how often the trees within the community were trimmed. We have one tree in front of our 2nd floor apartment that has been trimmed twice in the 7 years we have owned the apartment as have other trees generally in the community. However, at the EGM the President gave a lecture that we cannot expect our views - from windows or terraces to be retained and put a vote to the community that no one has a right to a view. The Spanish neighbors usually back the president ( absent or not) so the vote - mostly by proxy - was passed. THis has led to neighbours having no view from their windows - but they can open their shutters but only if trees are cut to allow them to open but not view. To me this is ludricous as for 7 years we have no problem. I asked why there is a problem of the President but got no response. Surely this is simply crazy. We get on well with everyone in the community and just find this childish. Any thoughts? Thanks Peter
  • Sue Parrish Says:

    Hi, I live in and own a apartment in Mallorca. This is mainly residential, but some owners rent out to holidaymakers, which I know is a grey area. My immediate neighbour (Spanish owned), rents her apartment every year to young workers. This is usually for a six month period. We have had a terrible few years of this. No sleep, loud music and being sworn at. We are not unreasonable, but all we ask for is a nights sleep. We have been to the police, but that does not seem to help. I want to know if her renting out is legal, I do not think she pays any taxes. I dont want to get nasty, but after nearly six months of no sleep I am worn out. Where do I stand?
  • Dawn Says:

    Hello My husband has brought two locals, We have had the communtiy charges but they dont show IVA. now we can claim the IVA back so got in touch with the communtiy office and asked them to send us a facture with a break down of IVA exempt and non exempt and a facture Number, they have told us that they wont do one. Now I did explain that if we were paying communtiy for 20 years and some of it had IVA in and we couldn't claim it back, we would be lossing a lot of money. Can anyone help please.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Dawn, The community of owners cannot charge VAT on the community fees, unless they were renting out premises, and therefore making profit. Therefore they are correct in refusing to apply VAT on the bills you pay and issuing an invoice for it. You mention some community charges had VAT?? This is against Law, as a Community of Owners is not a money-making entity and is not obliged to charge VAT. The CO´s purpose is to maintain the communal elements and does not generate income. Regards,
  • Doulton Says:

    Hello can anyone help or advise..we have had a new president for the last 6 months it's been he'll ever since he lives in larger villas at the to of the street along with the vice presidents they have been changing everything in place from the previous tenant when t worked has caused upset in the community by disregarimg our emails in fact not even responding and labelling those who have as a group out to get them for the change this couldn't be further than the truth he has lied about things happening everyone he says is threading him all done he says by email to all to oust them out ...this community has worked like clock work for years and years prior they cut back on the gardening the pool pumps said we were lying when complained about the gardens being over grown the pool was dirty we called an EGM two monthis ago and were neck and neck on the a vote of no confidence so it was sent to the courts and was decided that until this was taken to court the administration would ru. Things till the courts decided the administrator has now resgned after years of so much done for us as the three involved were attacking her verbally she's had time of for stress then they called a EGM to get rid of the administrators and they were bombarded with false accusations and it resulted in them resigning and enough is enough they then declared they were back in as president and vice presidents and would be leting us know about quotes for new administrators is this legal they say...they have consulted lawyers and they were removed illegally so now administrators have resigned they are mow back in help please they have destroyed our beautiful community bombard residents who don't live here with emails to suit full of lies referring to us who dare question then as the group out to get them..
  • John Staircome Says:

    We live on a development with around 80 properties, it’s made up of individual villas, villa type houses with 2-3 apartments and around 10 townhouses, it was started around 30 years more or less. Our President lives in a house that has doubled in size years ago (measured online from cadastre) but it is still not updated in the town hall records, so his IBI will be underpaid for the size of his property. There are other owners who have increased the size by between 70 - 200% but have had town hall approval, so their IBI is most probably correct (again seen on data from online cadastre). All these people are in a small minority group voting to keep the quota %s as they originally were before these reforms/rebuilds, (against the original statutes also). The original coeffecients were never approved and registered and the administrator claims that the coefficients have never changed since he has been administrator - this is a lie as 2 years after he took office in 2002, 2 small houses were demolished and rebuilt as one with over 550m2 constructed. These “official quotas” suddenly appeared on a sheet handed out with the call to AGM around 2008, and although the community bylaws were written in 1996 – nobody knew back then who was responsible for deciding on the quotas (they should have been calculated according to the statutes, which ALSO have never been registered). Although the administrator admits to receiving the coeffecients from the previous administrator whereby he says the coeffecients were approved in the statutes of 1996 – he states he holds no original approved record of these documents and now produces this list from the sky? This small elite group is obviously vetoing the "100% unanimous vote" needed to change the quotas - which is now to the detriment of the smaller properties on the complex (around 70%). Can we take action against the President for knowingly keeping things to his own and friend’s advantage? Community fees have more than doubled since 2003 despite the utilities and other things being handed over to official departments or upgraded so as to be maintenance free, so there is almost nothing left to pay for as a community anyhow. This fact alone has thrown up a lot of question marks and alerted certain diligent owners to start asking pertinent questions as to where is all this money going??. From the budget we know that repairs are charged at double if not more, than it really costs and also I know of someone who injured themselves due to the fact there was no lighting on the way to their property and still is suffering six months after the fall. Your input is greatly appreciated.
  • JAMES NICHOLLS Says:

    HI, I OWN AN APARTMENT IN A BLOCK OF TWELVE APARTMENTS, IN SPAIN.18MONTHS AGO I HAD INSTALLED, THREE AIR CONDITIONING UNITS BY A COMPANY. BUT WE HAVE NOW HAD A LETTER ,FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE COMMUNITY, STATING THAT THEY MUST BE REMOVED, AS THEY ARE SPOILING THE FACADE. BUT THEIR IS NOT ANYWHERE ELSE TO PUT THESE UNITS, AS WE HAVE NO OTHER WALL SPACE. AND WE WERE ADVISED BY THE COMPANY THAT INSTALLED THEM , UNDER SPANISH LAW & HEALTH & SAFETY,lTHAT BECAUSE OF MY ILL HEALTH WITH MY HEART CONDITION & BREATHING PROBLEMS, THAT I WOULD NOT HAVE A PROBLEM INSTALLING THEM. AND NOW THEY ARE SAYING IT WAS IN THE MINUTES OF APRIL 2010. WHICH WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED, AND SEVERAL OTHER PEOPLE HAVE NOT HAD THESE. HOPE THAT YOU CAN HELP THANK-YOU JAMES NICHOLLS
  • Marta Says:

    Dear Mr. Nicholls, It is true that the community can forbid the installation of this equipment if the owners don’t agree with it. However this is something which needs to be carefully looked into. The impact they have on the façade, earlier assumptions and your important health condition which would imply the need of its installation, are all matters which will need to be considered. It is difficult at this point to advise you as it would imply studying your case individually. Therefore we recommend that this matter is taken care by a lawyer as if left unattended, the chances are that you will receive a lawsuit from the community. Being at this point a little late to best defend your interests. Please feel free to e-mail us more information on your particular case. You will find my e-mail address on my profile
  • Graham Johnson Says:

    Hello There,I live in a CO that has the usual debtors and ever year our administrator says they are working on getting them acted against in court to pay up or have their property auctioned off. But at every AGM it is stated that the process is still being worked upon. I have seen on several web sites were this process can be carried out in 3 months. What I would like to know is there anyway that the Comunity can make the administrator do this job quicker besides getting another administrator. Also I believe that debtors can be stopped from using shared facilities eg. Swimming pool,TV reception etc. is this true as the administrator said we can not stop them. Any references to these rules would be helpful as we have our AGM next month. Thank you in advance.
  • Margaret Steel Says:

    Can my husband who is disabled due to a Brain injury be forced to be the President of a complex?
  • Ted Says:

    Doulton reply: In response to your communication which incidentally I found difficult to read, I cannot believe there could be two such Communities with the same problems. In March 2012 a new President and Committee were voted in at our AGM. Prior to his appoint,met, the President appeared to be a quiet resident who cared for our Community. He has become a tyrant who harasses and intimidates the Community. He and his Committee are to be seen walking though the Community, each with clipboards, entering private properties without permission, giving orders to Residents and making our lives a total misery. I have been a homeowner/resident from off plan, some 12 Years and have never experienced this authoritarian regime during my lifetime. Yes they have verbally and physically attacked residents; have "sacked a vice president" (without consultation) because he did not agree with their oppressive regime; have blatantly lied; have bombarded our Admin with abuse and emails to the point where the Admin have now Resigned. The EGM 2012 where these 3 men were ousted from post awaiting a Court decision, have now illegally reinstated themselves; are Interviewing 3Administrators without calling an EGM allowing homeowners the right to ask questions and make decisions. It now appears they are trying to take control of our Community Funds - even though they are NOT recognised legally as the Management Committee. Yes these three men are destroying our lovely Community all because they wish to abolish the Horizonal Act as they are Villa owners and do not wish to pay more towards the Community on quota. These three men also returned to their home countries for 3-4 months this summer, leaving instructions that the gardens were not to be watered, the pools to be cleaned once a week, thus the pool was dangerous for swimming and the gardens began to die. In their absence they were over- ruled, an EGM called and Admin started Court proceedings. Our AGM is in March Heaven only knows what that will be like! I am sorry I don't have an answer or a way forward. I can only hope they are not allowed to be re instated or voted in again.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Margaret, If the disability your husband suffers is as severe as to render impossible taking on his duties as President, he cannot be obliged to accept the role. You would only need to provide the Community of Owners with medical certificates proving the incapacity of your husband to take the President´s position, so he would obviously be exempt of his obligation. Regards,
  • Bleriot Says:

    Hi Ted / Doulton, Is is very obvious we live in the same Gulag. The 3 men, and 1 very nasty lady have made it their business, to try and make our life a misery. However if we get the bums on seats promised for the AGM we might make some changes. Their worst insult was to deny a democratic vote at their EGM as they knew we had the support of 35 owners, the same number as voted at the previous EGM. The have to be made to realise we don't want them or their management style. Best regards, Bleriot
  • MarbellaOwner Says:

    Hi. I own a house in Marbella that I have owned for 25 years. It is in a community of 26 town houses. In the original Statute it stated that the swimming pool would be painted every 2 years and the houses would be painted every 5 years. This was to ensure all the houses had a uniform appearance and in fact you weren't allowed to paint your house individually but in reality this is ignored by many house owners. My house was painted by the Community after the first 5 years but hasn't been painted since. I have brought this up at many AGM's but the response has always been that there isn't enough money, largely due to many people owing Community Fees. The result is that all the houses are different states of repair, some are good, those who chose to ignore the rule, and other's are quite bad with more damage occurring as the houses are no longer weatherproof. I would like to take the Community to task on this and would like to know what my position is legally. Thank you
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello MarbellaOwner, You are in your full right to claim that the CO fulfills the obligation to paint the buildings. It is not only an aesthetics issue but also necessary maintenance and conservation duties that must be accomplished. The usual procedure would imply the President including the proposal when calling for the Annual Meeting or even an EGM to discuss the matter. You can certainly claim in advance that the President includes that issue in the Minutes and if you are supported by other property owners the President will be obliged to include it. The Owners must know, prior to the Meeting, the issues that will be discussed, and whoever has proposed the matter, together with the CO administrator, must obtain at least 3 quotations from different companies for the work completion, and these must be voted on and approved at the AGM or EGM. Obviously, the financial capacity of the CO must be considered to foresee the expected costs and economic impact of the expenses, as well as the increase in the community fee, as there are certain limitations that cannot be exceeded. If the President finally decided not to include the matter in the Minutes, or if the said mater was unjustifiably rejected by the property owners, you could challenge such refusal at the courts of Justice within the legal timeframe and meeting the legal requirements to do so. We recommend you to ask for legal aid from a solicitor as each case is different and the particulars and specific circumstance must be studied, so legal advice should be required before taking any action. Regards,
  • Carol Says:

    The majority of villa owners on my small estate of 33 houses have voted to apply for touristic status. I am concerned that losing our current residential status I might only be allowed to live in my property three months out of every twelve. Can they do this or does such a monumental change to the classification of my home need 100percent unanimity. That is if I am the only one to say no then it can't go ahead.? Thank you
  • Unregistered Says:

    Hello There,I live in a CO that has the usual debtors and ever year our administrator says they are working on getting them acted against in court to pay up or have their property auctioned off. But at every AGM it is stated that the process is still being worked upon. I have seen on several web sites were this process can be carried out in 3 months. What I would like to know is there anyway that the Comunity can make the administrator do this job quicker besides getting another administrator. Also I believe that debtors can be stopped from using shared facilities eg. Swimming pool,TV reception etc. is this true as the administrator said we can not stop them. Any references to these rules would be helpful as we have our AGM next month. Thank you in advance. It is a shame this post never received a response, as this is indeed a concern or many Communities all over Spain. Nonsense that the law deals quickly or efficiently with debtors, our Ommunity is still awaiting results from legal case regarding 2007/8 debts. What can honest fee paying owners really do to change things?
  • Angela Says:

    Good Afternoon, What paperwork should a landlord have to prove that work to change a residential building to a commercial has been approved by the local town hall in the Valencia region ? I am looking to rent a property that has been changed but want to make sure this has had the full approval of the town hall as I do not want to be liable for any problems later on. Many Thanks
  • Ian - Tenerife Says:

    I read somewhere that people owning more than one apartment on a complex could only have one vote in order to stop someone who owns 51% of the units from hijacking all decisions regarding the community for their own benefit to the detriment of the remaining owners. Despite bookmarking it I seem to have lost the relevant quote. Is this true or can multiple unit-holding individuals play fast and loose with other owners wishes?
  • Sue Parrish Says:

    I own/live in a residential apartment in Mallorca. My neighbour rents out every year to long term workers. We are woken up every night, by doors slamming etc. I have been to the owner, police and administrator, but to no avail. It has started up again,being woken at five every morning. Can you tell me is it legal to rent out in a residential block?
  • betty Says:

    our urbanisation has over 100 properties divided by gated roads which all have the same access locks.Our road has 18 houses in it & we have had a robbery,a case of vandalism overnight & also drunks accessing our road from local bars & leaving our gates open.We want to have the locks changed on our access gate so that only the people in our road have the access plus the president & meter reader.Our president says we are not allowed to do this but we feel very vulnerable as the majority of us are senior citizens.Can you advise please?
  • J.C. Says:

    I have the exact same issue to Graham Johnson, I copy his comments posted previously (I hope he doesn't mind) I hope this can get answered, Thanks for a great site. Hello There,I live in a CO that has the usual debtors and ever year our administrator says they are working on getting them acted against in court to pay up or have their property auctioned off. But at every AGM it is stated that the process is still being worked upon. I have seen on several web sites were this process can be carried out in 3 months. What I would like to know is there anyway that the Comunity can make the administrator do this job quicker besides getting another administrator. Also I believe that debtors can be stopped from using shared facilities eg. Swimming pool,TV reception etc. is this true as the administrator said we can not stop them. Any references to these rules would be helpful as we have our AGM next month. Thank you in advance.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Betty, Your right to change the access locks should not be limited within your Community and especially if such decision is based on those strong grounds. The President must not stop you from putting those Locks. I recommend you to expressly include the matter in the Minutes of the next AGM or EGM, with the aim to get to an agreement. In case the Community did not approve it, and depending on the case, the matter can be taken to the courts due to the unjustified position of the Community. Regards,
  • Stephanie carrington Says:

    Hi I own an apartment in a block in Mallorca. We have patio doors facing the sea & 3 windows on the side ( we are a corner unit ). My issue is the windows round the side would be great if they were 2 feet lower to make the most of the amazing view whilst sitting. They are not on view to the front facade. Could the president or other residence stop us making that small change. Thank you.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Stephanie, Yes, they could certainly stop you. You need to get the authorization of the Community of Owners to do such modification in the Windows, as the appearance of the building will be affected. Also, a license from the Town hall will be required as they are external windows. Regards,
  • patoc Says:

    Hello Stephanie, Yes, they could certainly stop you. You need to get the authorization of the Community of Owners to do such modification in the Windows, as the appearance of the building will be affected. Also, a license from the Town hall will be required as they are external windows. Regards, Patricia You say that Stephanie "needs to get the authorization of the Community of owners to do such modifications" . This authorization would be obtained at an AGM I assume - with such minor works would a majority vote be sufficient ? Regards Patrick
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello Patrick, The matter must be discussed in an AGM or EGM, to be voted upon and dealt with. The Law establishes that the unanimity of votes will be required to validate those agreements implying the approval or modification of the rules contained in the horizontal property title as well as in the statutes of the community. In this case, the alteration in the modification of the windows will entail a change in the appearance of the building and most probably a possible modification in the horizontal property title; therefore, the unanimity of the owners attending the meeting discussing that, ad other issues, will be mandatory. Regards,
  • Plain Jane Says:

    Hello, I'm new to your forum and as JC asks, can debtors be stopped from using shared facilities eg. Swimming pool, TV reception etc? We have always been told that this is not the case, but have just found out that a new ruling would allow us to ban him. Is this the case? This is a member of our community who blatantly uses our pool even though he has never paid a cent into the funds for the last few years - we have a court action in process for debts - but we have no right to take the pool-key from him. Thanks for your help.
  • patoc Says:

    Stephanie, Many thanks for the response. I have one further query ; you say that "The Law establishes that the unanimity of votes will be required to validate those agreements implying the approval or modification of the rules contained in the horizontal property title as well as in the statutes of the community." In my own Community we do not have any specific Community Statutes. We chose instead to incorporate everything, including the rules for modifications / development, in our Internal Rules. As such we assumed that most minor developments, including changes in appearance, would be covered at an AGM/EGM but would be settled by a majority vote, whereas only major developments would need unanimity as covered by Section 12 of the Horizontal Property Act. Bearing in mind what you said I looked at my own Title Deeds. Am I right in thinking that if I changed the square metres of my property from what is stated in the deeds, or if the cuotas needed to be changed for any reason it would need a unanimous vote ? I cannot find any other rules or anything else relevant so if are other minor developments OK ? Many thanks Patrick
  • Unregistered Says:

    I am president of a small community of 9 apartments whoo share a garden and pool with another community of the same size The other community wants to change our garden and pool maintenance company. The alternative company will provide an adequate but not as comprehensive service but for about 30% less cost. They have a n 8/9 majority in favour. Our community are 6/9 against the proposal. My response to the presindent of our sister community is that we don;t have a majority in favour of change and therefore shoudl not change. She has taken advice and believes that as we share a pool and garden contract, for this contract we are a SUPRACOMMUNITY and therfore a decistion to change contracts can be made if there is a simple 50% majority across all 18 owners. This is a BIG issue for our community as our administration ( who also provide the existing garden and pool maintenance ) have refused to provide us with an Administration only contract and we really don;t want to move away from them. Can our sister community force through a change of garden and pool maintenance contract . We need to make a decision within the next 4 weeks as the contract is due for renewal at year end
  • Unregistered Says:

    Can debtors be stopped from using shared facilities eg. Swimming pool, TV reception etc? We have always been told that this is not the case, but have just found out that a new ruling would allow us to ban him. Is this the case? This is a member of our community who blatantly uses our pool even though he has never paid a cent into the funds for the last few years - we have a court action in process for debts - but we have no right to take the pool-key from him. Thanks for your help.
  • Patricia Says:

    Hello, There has not been any new regulation in that respect. However, there is the possibility - based on recent court rulings- that the Community Statutes establishes a clause agreed unanimously, that bans community debtors from using swimming pools, tennis courts and communal areas only ( as they are not necessary services a community has to offer ). Nevertheless, you need to be aware there is not any specific regulation or By-Law in this respect. Regards,
  • ShelleyS Says:

    Hi I live on a small community of houses with a no through access road running between . "Supposedly" this road is just for accessing our own properties and driveways and not for parking (you can fit 2 cars down at a very tight squeeze) each drive faces the opposite house and if anyone parks outside it makes it practically impossible to put a car on your own drive. The community is currently in the process of obtaining vado permanentes for the bottom of the street to show it is a no parking zone, but in the meantime there are residents who constantly block a neighbours driveway meaning they cannot put their car on their own drive and have difficulty even opening their own gates. They have been told by the community president to either park on the drive or the street at the bottom which has ample quiet parking, but were told that it was too far to park and that their own car was too big to fit on their own drive, thus inconveniencing others for their own selfish sakes. My main question really, after all this background is can the police legally and correctly be called to deal with this, or is this wasting valuable police time and resources for a couple of ignorant individuals.? (hopefully the vado´s arrive sooner rather than later) Regards Shelley
  • Dan W Says:

    Good Afternoon. I live in a urbanization with 6 blocks. I live on the highest block in an atico. At our last community meeting i asked if i could install a chimenea. I have all the correct paper work from the local council. However one women objected, and she lives no where near me and also on a ground floor piso. so my request was denied because of one women, is there anything i can do? Regards Dan
  • xxspanglishxx Says:

    Our Administrator has told us that if we don't pay next year's community fee prior to the meeting, then we can only discuss items and not vote on them. Surely this can't be correct as next year's fee hasn't even been voted in. I'd appreciate any comments.
  • Unregistered Says:

    Stephanie, Many thanks for the response. I have one further query ; you say that "The Law establishes that the unanimity of votes will be required to validate those agreements implying the approval or modification of the rules contained in the horizontal property title as well as in the statutes of the community." In my own Community we do not have any specific Community Statutes. We chose instead to incorporate everything, including the rules for modifications / development, in our Internal Rules. As such we assumed that most minor developments, including changes in appearance, would be covered at an AGM/EGM but would be settled by a majority vote, whereas only major developments would need unanimity as covered by Section 12 of the Horizontal Property Act. Bearing in mind what you said I looked at my own Title Deeds. Am I right in thinking that if I changed the square metres of my property from what is stated in the deeds, or if the cuotas needed to be changed for any reason it would need a unanimous vote ? I cannot find any other rules or anything else relevant so if are other minor developments OK ? Many thanks Patrick HI, I am in the same boat as you are. My understanding is that the community rules take president over the Horizontal law. Therefore a simple majority vote at the AGM (as well as the town hall planning permission) and bingo my roof terrace is legal. in the community rules established in 2016 it mentions that that all previous alterations will be tolerated, so I am assuming as long as you got your windows tiling roof terraces swimming pools etc. prior to the rules being established in 2016 you are fine from a legal pint of view?
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