Questions and answers about the community of owners in Spain
Below, we set out a series of the most frequent questions (and their answers) related to horizontal property matters.
What kind of work can I carry out on my property in Spain?
Although an owner has the right to carry out work on his or her property in Spain, the work must be done according to regulations. In this sense, Article 7 of the law 49/60 on Horizontal Property sets forth that work may not alter or damage the building structure or its security, configuration or exterior appearance. Exterior work, such as the installation of air conditioning, terraces, balconies, etc., involves changes to the façade. The law sets out that no kind of remodelling may prejudice the rights of other owners. Any work you wish to carry out must be communicated to the community and approved beforehand, and you must be granted authorisation by the town hall, insofar as the work alters the configuration of public space’s structure.
Must the current owner pay any community fees owed by the previous owner?
Yes. According to Section e) of Article 9.1 of the Law of Horizontal Property, the debts of the previous owner are enforceable to the current owner, up to a maximum of three previous years, plus the fees for the on-going year.
How does the president of the community of owners get appointed in Spain?
The appointment of the president of the community of owners corresponds to the Assembly of Owners, by means of election by majority, provided that members introduce them voluntarily to be president. If no one presents him or herself as a candidate for president of the community of owners, the law sets out the possibility of regulating the appointment by rotating turns or by drawing lots.
Can a representative go to the meeting in my place?
Owners may be represented by a voluntarily proxy or a legal power of attorney. A legal power of attorney will be needed in cases where one is legally compulsory, such as in the case of a minor, a disabled person, etc. Generally, issuing a proxy is voluntarily, as in a case when you cannot attend the meeting. Then, the owner, or his or her legal representative, may authorise a third party to attend the meeting in the owner’s place.
Can an owner who has debts vote at the meeting?
If an owner has debts and has not judicially challenged the debt, then he or she may deliberate and participate at meetings, but will not have the right to vote.