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What to do when one of your neighbours does not pay the community fees?

Due to the financial crisis that Spain currently faces, it is becoming increasingly common for Spanish Communities of Owners to find themselves with serious financial difficulties. These difficulties are caused by the non-payment of the community fees by one or more of the homeowners.

Even though the sense of neighbourliness should prevail, it is a situation that must not be tolerated by the rest of the owners who do pay their fees, which is why there are a series of measures and recommendations that can be taken in order to minimise the damages.

The first step, provided that the Community of Owners is not in a situation of asset imbalance, involves the creation of a savings fund, for which it is appropriate to set aside 10% of the quotes. This way, even if the Community of Owners suffers from non-payment by of one of the homeowners, it would not suffer from financial difficulties and those funds could even be used for community improvements.

Non-payment – Community of Owners

The regulations of the Community of Owners are stated in the Condominium Act (LPH), and it sets that the proper procedure for claiming the quota is the Procedimiento Monitorio. This procedure, following the amendment made in 2011, has no quantitative limit, meaning it can be applied to all cases.

In order to comply with all the necessary requirements, the following aspects must be taken into account:

1. To call a meeting with the Board according to the Bylaws.

2. Include in the agenda the list of owners that have pending payments and the proposal to take legal action.

3. The day of the Board Meeting all decisions must be made.

4. The secretary must draft a certificate that will included in the judicial process.

5. In the event that the payment is required via certified fax for example, it is necessary keep the receipt and to file it as an expense to the procedure.

The Procedimeinto Monitorio is used for due and payable money claims and is regulated in the Civil Procedure Act (LEC) and in the Condominium Act; in case that all documentation has been provided to the court, the court secretary will require that the debtor proceeds with the payment.

There are three possible cases :

– The first is that the debtor proceeds with the payment and, therefore, the debt is extinguished.

– The debtor submits a written reply arguing what is deemed appropriate in defence of his/her  interests.

– The debtor fails to pay or respond. In that case, the Community of Owners will proceed to enforce the ruling against the debtor’s assets.

In any case, this is a just a brief explanation of a problem that can, in some cases, be very difficult for a community of owners.

Lexland Lawyers has extensive experience in dealing with conflicts in community of owners, being able to provide them with legal advice.

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