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We have not been notified of the community meeting that has taken place in our building. The agreement is detrimental to our interests. What should we do, if anything?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

2nd of January 2000

Q. In the apartment block where we live in Spain, apparently a community meeting was held last month where it was agreed that the building facade would be painted. We live on the other side of the building, which to our surprise is not to be painted, since it was said it was in good state. The president of the community lives on the side which is to be painted. We are not happy at all, and would like to challenge the decision, since nobody notified us that the meeting was being held at a given date. Moreover, we suspect the president of the community intends to sell his apartment, and wants to have his "side" of the block looking good. Is there anything we can do?

James Whitbank
Holland On Sea (Essex)

    A. I presume the owners of the 'bad' side have been duly summoned up to the meeting held and have voted to leave their side as it is. If this is case, get from the president, or administrator, if there is one, copies of the minutes of that meeting and read them carefully. Then ask the president why were you not notified of the existence of that meeting.

    The following can happen:

    • You were not duly informed of the meeting: If you never received any direct communication of the meeting, and yet you indicated to the secretary, president or administrator of a domicile in Spain for any summons, or no relevant communication has been posted on the notice board of the community, or a visible place asigned for this purpose (inclusive of date nad reason why this form of notification has been adopted, signed by the secretary and endorsed by the president), then you will be able to challenge the outcome of the meeting.

      If you cannot prove you gave a domicile for communications to the community representativea and there has been a summons on the board, no remedy is available.

    • You were informed, but the summons lacked one of the following:
      • Matters to be dealt with. If a matter has not been included in the agenda of the meeting, and it has been dealt with, it can be rendered null and void. Think that many owners decide to assist to the meeting according to the nature of matters in the agenda.
      • Place, date and time of the first call, and where applicable, of the second call.

    If these requirements are not met, the meeting is null and void.

    Having been informed correctly and the matters being dealt with coincide with those of the summons, you attended the meeting, voted against the decision and still the agreement was adopted. In this case, your remedy will be slighly weaker, since you will have to challenge the agreement validly adopted on one of the following grounds:

    • that it is either against the law or the community statutes
    • it is seriously detrimental to the interest of the community and benefit one or several unit owners,
    • or where they are seriously detrimental to some unit owners who has not the legal obligation to sustain such detriment or where they have been adopted in abuse of power.

    We recommend your lawyer also checks that the numerous time-limits for implementing these formalities are in accordance with the Horizontal Property Act.

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