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Real Estate Spain - Community Fees and the community of owners Spain

With all new property developments in Spain it is a legal requirement that the purchaser becomes a member of the Community of Owners - the Comunidad de Propietarios - what we would term in England a Residents Association, but with the full weight of the Law behind it. The Comunidad de Propietarios have their own rules, which will be set out in a document supplemental to the Contrato known as the Estatutos. Often the Estatutos are not finalised until the development is completed. But of course there will be variations for each development and the solicitor/abogado acting for you has therefore to study the Contrato Privado about the Estatutos and obtain a copy of the Estatutos for the development and advise you accordingly.

Owners of apartments or villas in an "urbanisation" are jointly responsible with the other owners in the building or the estate, for the expenses of the community. Usually, each owner's percentage of costs is fixed by eg. the size of each apartment, or plot, dividing the total area of all the apartments or plots on the development. Expenses, however, can vary substantially, according to the services required by the community, which might for example include salary of a hall porter, garden and/or swimming pool maintenance, lift maintenance, repairs, electricity for lighting in common areas, insurance, refuse collection and management/administration fees. Accordingly, your legal representative should make enquiries on your behalf as to the method of fixing of the community charges and the amount payable and provision for review of the charge.

By Law the Comunidad de Propietarios elect their own Chairman (Known as the President), and appoint an administrator who can be a paid official. Where the development consists mainly of holiday homes it is generally a professional property manager who, at the Annual General Meeting would present the budget for the forthcoming year. The administrator is frequently elected from one of the residents at the development.

The Annual General Meeting is all important because at that meeting the payments for maintenance are discussed and agreed. If you are unable to attend in person at the meeting you can appoint a proxy known as a Poder - by an Escritura de Poder de Compra or Venta - to attend and vote on your behalf.

There is usually also a sinking fund, into which payment has to be made to provide for the repair of all jointly owned properties, which is known as "Elementos Comunes". This does not include personal repairs, such as the guttering and roofing to your particular property, which are known as "Elementos Privativos".

Each development has its own annual charge which can be around £450.00 per annum per property in popular resort developments, but lower elsewhere. Each agreement for the Comunidad de Propietarios states in it which properties are involved and has a list of the regulations to which they are bound. Each community and development is, of course different, but where footpaths, roads and lights have been provided by the developer their maintenance is part of the responsibility of the community, as is the drainage system: even time-sharing purchasers have to be members.

The Chairman of the community takes the chair at the Annual General Meeting. He is appointed annually from the members so must be known to them. The Chairman together with the administrator are the authorities for agreeing for work to be done, giving orders and signing any documents that may be necessary. Full minutes should be kept by the administrator who also maintains a register of the members of the community and their individual addresses. The main duties of the administrator are to ensure that the communal parts, the units, the utensils and fixtures and fittings are kept in a good state of repair and condition, and are kept clean and tidy to ensure that the gardens, swimming pools, tennis courts etc., are maintained to a satisfactory condition, that all the furniture, fixtures and fittings are insured, and all rates, taxes, assessments and outgoing charges imposed or assessed in respect of the community have been paid, and that each member pays his share. The original Estatutos can always be altered by a resolution at the Annual General Meeting, providing that the relevant notice has been given, A two thirds majority is generally required for any change to be made.

 

Protect Your Interest
Buying Property in Spain
Tax Incentives
Main Taxes on Purchase
Main Annual Tax
Community Fees
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