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Frequently Asked Questions

If I am elected President of the Community, can I refuse to take the position?

Those persons who are elected to be the President of their community have the obligation to take the position. They can refuse if there is just cause, but they will have to go to a judge and plead their case; this will only be accepted if in effect the cause is reasonable.

Can the President of a Community change the Community Administrator without presenting the matter to the General Meeting of Owners?

The appointment of an Administrator, as that of any officer of the Community, must be agreed in the General Meeting of Owners as required under the provisions of section 13 of the Spanish Horizontal Property Act. Such resolution, as all those corresponding to community administration, must be adopted by a double majority (of owners and of quotas) relating to those persons present and represented in the meeting.

How can the necessary majorities be obtained when so few people attend the General Meeting?

The new Act establishes the obligation that each owner has of informing the Community of an address for notifications and, should this not be done, then notifications sent to the corresponding apartment or commercial premises are valid. The votes of owners who do not attend the meeting will be considered as favourable if, once they are notified of the adoption of the resolution, they do not declare their disagreement within a period of thirty calendar days. It is therefore very important that owners of second homes, whether by the beach or in the mountains, make known where notifications should be sent; this will normally be to their habitual residence, so as to avoid any notifications which go to the second home, normally unoccupied, being valid.

Is it necessary to have a favourable majority vote in order to install a satellite antenna in the Community?

For this kind of resolution the favourable vote of one third of owners, representing one third of the quotas, is sufficient. But then part of the cost cannot be passed on to those owners who may have voted against. Even so, if those owners who voted against request to have access to the service they must pay the part of the cost which would have corresponded to them, up-dated to include legal interest.

Does the new Act imply an increase in community fees?

The fees do not have to increase with the new Act, however it does establish the obligation of every community to set up a reserve fund in order to be able to meet the expenses of upkeep and repair of the property. This fund must amount to a sum that is not less than five per cent of the ordinary budget, which means that each owner will have to contribute to the fund five per cent of the annual fees paid to the community. On the other hand, this charge has the advantage that the community has funds available with which to undertake necessary repair works as and when they may be required, without having to wait for an agreement for extra quotas. Obviously, money from such fund can only pay for this kind of expenditure or pay for an insurance premium to cover the damage caused to the property for extraordinary risks or for a maintenance contract for the building and its general installations.

What happens if I purchase an apartment which is not up-to-date in the payment of the fees?

At the time of signing the public deed of purchase and sale, the person who sells the apartment is obliged to provide a certificate from the Secretary or the President of the General Meeting of Owners in which it is recorded whether or not the apartment is up to date in the payment of fees or what is the amount that is outstanding. Without this certificate the Notary will not authorise the title deeds, except in the case where the purchaser relieves the vendor of such obligation. It goes without saying that it is not advisable to do this unless one has complete trust in the vendor’s word.

What can the General Meeting of Owners do if one of the owners uses his/her property to undertake some prohibited activity?

In such cases (for example, when a property is used for business premises or an office and this use is prohibited in the by-laws of the Community), the President of the Community must order the owner or tenant to cease such activity and if this does not happen then the President will be able to go to a judge who, in the event of approving the claim, can decide to agree to deprive the person who is carrying out the prohibited activity from using the property; although if this is the owner then this can only be for a maximum of three years. The penalty, as can be seen, is extraordinarily severe and it can only be hoped that the cessation of the prohibited activity comes about before such a serious decision is given.

What to do about neighbours who play loud music until the early hours of the morning.

According to the new regulations, the owner or occupier of an apartment is not allowed to carry out activities in the property prohibited in the by-laws that may be damaging to the property or that contravene the general provisions regarding activities that are annoying, unhealthy, harmful, dangerous or illegal. The President of the Community must be informed if this happens and, after listening to the requests, will order the person carrying out these activities to stop doing so immediately, giving a warning that if this is not done then the corresponding legal action will be initiated.

Measures to facilitate the collection of bad debts

The new Act establishes some actions to be taken to facilitate the collection of bad debts: it establishes the application of an extraordinarily short legal process; the corresponding court decision can only be appealed against if the outstanding amount according to the claim has previously been paid or deposited at court; the credit at the time of the claim, in respect of the current yearly payment and the previous one is especially preferential, so the Community has the right to collect payment in advance from other non-preferential creditors; the apartment or commercial premises in question is expressly affected by the payment of these annual payments, etc. Moreover any person who is not up-to-date in the payment of the Community fees will not have the right to vote in the General Meetings of Owners.

What do I have to do to receive digital terrestrial television?

This depends upon one of the following two solutions:

1. Newly-constructed buildings must have a collective network to distribute digital television services in accordance with the regulations of the Common Telecommunications Infrastructure (CTI).

The Community of Owners of a recently-constructed building will be provided with the following documents justifying the existence and services of its CTI:

Plan approved by the corresponding Professional Association.

Official report issued by the installation company responsible for carrying out the installation (company registered in the Registry of Telecommunications Installers).

Certificate issued by the Works Engineer Director, at least, in the case of buildings with more than 20 dwellings, in residential buildings that include active elements in the distribution network and in non-residential buildings.

Testing protocols with measurements of the installations.

2. Older buildings, without CTI, which need to adapt their installations in order to receive digital television, since their collective antennae were designed only to receive analogue television.

The works to be carried out will depend upon the quality and condition of the existing television network in the building and must be adapted to the technical specifications detailed in CTI regulations.

In any event, we would advise you to consult a telecommunications installation company which is an expert in Digital TV and accredited by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce. You can also consult registered design professionals.