Living among neighbours

Spain Home Buying a house in Spain Living among neighbours Purchasing a house
Barcelona and Zaragoza Almeria Bilbao, a renovated city Spain’s Network of Paradores
Taste the wine culture Ibiza, The White Island Lleida, a city of Templars San Sebastian
Segovia, the Roman city Not without my pet Corpus Christi South Pyrenees
Philip II Isabel II, an early queen Leisure parks in Spain Theme parks in Spain
Spas in Galicia Majorca turns green Adventure in the Gallego Port Aventura
Ski Resorts
Ski Adventure

Living among neighbours

Some of the most common problems arising in communities of property owners deal with controversial or debtor neighbours, annoying building works, disputes, and inappropriate uses of the facilities or approval of agreements without the required majority of owners. In fact, who hasn’t ever been involved in any community dispute? In order to solve these minor problems, tenants must comply with some rules. We are talking about the Spanish Law of Horizontal Division, applicable from 1960 and changed on the 8/1999 Law, regulating relations between flat and premises owners.

According to this co-property system, at the moment of buying a flat you acquire rights onto your private housing as well as the co-property of the common facilities of the building complex (stairs, courtyard, façades and so on). In this way, every flat of the block has a share in the common property that determines the community charges of the homeowner. The ‘strata title’ describes the building in general and establishes the different modes of share.

The first task a community of property owners must accomplish is the election of a president from among all the community members. The president can be elected by a vote, in turn or by drawing lots. S/he will be the president for a time period of one year unless otherwise is stated in the statutes of the community or the other members do not approve of his/her management and ask for his/her resignation. The president is the community’s most important legal representative. S/he mainly channels any suggestion coming from the neighbours and calls the community members to meetings. The vice-president, the secretary and the administrator are also considered in the current legislation.

Decisions are taken by different processes depending on the proposal made. For instance, it is required a majority vote of the community members in order to approve or change the internal rules of the horizontal division or the statures of the community. On the contrary, three-fifths of the majority vote will be required to put or remove any service such as the lift, porter’s lodge, reception or surveillance. With reference to work building or services facilitating mobility to disabled people, a simple majority, meaning a majority in the shares of the common property, is required.

One of the new provisions of the last Spanish Law of Horizontal Division states that owners must pay for setting up a reserve fund devoted to the preservation of the building. This reserve fund must be a 2.5% of the annual budget for the community in the first year and a 5% from then onward. In addition, all the money coming from this common fund will have to be put back in the following financial year.