REAL ESTATE PURCHASE & SALE WILLS AND INHERITANCE TAXATION CORPORATE LAW
Other expenses: Property maintenance costs in Spain
Community of property owners
The vast majority of properties in Spain are part of a community of property owners. The community of property owners is a legal person jointly made up of all the property owners of a building or residential complex. It is governed by a set of rules and it makes decisions on matters of general interest to the property owners: maintenance, repairs and improvement works on the common areas (entrances, gardens, swimming pools, etc.), outsourcing services (security, cleaning) and relations with other communities of property owners and local public agencies.
Each property is assigned a share coefficient, which corresponds to the property’s total surface area as a percentage of the building or residential complex’s total surface area. Each owner will contribute to the common expenses with an amount proportional to their share coefficient.
The community of property owners must hold at least one annual general meeting, although additional extraordinary meetings may be called if necessary. The annual general meeting is the time to present the income and expenses balance sheet for the year, approve the budget for the following year and vote on the community’s representative positions. Any other matters of general interest to the community can also be discussed if any of the owners explicitly requests so.
The community fees will largely depend on the size of the residential complex, the services and facilities available and the number of property owners. Many communities apply discounts for prompt payment and surcharges for late payment, so it is recommended to pay community fees by direct debit.
In Spain, the gas, phone and Internet bills are normally paid every month, electricity every two months and water every two or three months. Some communities still have a single water meter, but this is not very common. In these cases, the use of water is distributed proportionally between the property owners’ and the corresponding amount is included in their community fees.
It is recommendable to have a home insurance policy covering at least the basic risks (fire, theft, water leaks, glass breakage). Damages to the inside of your property are generally not covered by the 10-year construction damages insurance (which developers are legally obliged to subscribe) or by the insurance policies that the communities take out.