Complexes in Tenerife are mainly (though not solely) governed by the Ley de propiedad horizontal (Law of Horizontal Division), and there are links Spanish and English versions on the Resources page. Below are some of the questions I’m most often asked.

Some questions, such as those concerning the specific percentages required for various votes, need to be answered by qualified administrators. If you don’t already have one, you could consult someone like René Campen of Hestria (website HERE), a generous adviser to this site and a qualified administrator.

Just click on any question or the + at the side to expand it.








































































This article has 72 Comments

  1. not just permission, you also need a licence from the town hall. You can put a gazebo up, but a pergola is a fixed construction. See the first point under “Alterations” above.

  2. Hi JANET wonder if you can advise, I reside on a very well run residential complex. We have a problem with one owner who continually tries to cause problems mainly to undermine the elected committee. This person has repeatedly taken out denoncias against the complex which have all resulted in the complex being in the right therefore no action necessary. However this takes up a lot of time resolving these triival matters. The latest request from this owner is to inspect all the day to day receipts and all financial transactions for the complex . At every AGM every owner is given a full copy of the communities audited accounts. I personally don’t believe that this owner should be in entitled to any more details, than which was provided to all owners at the AGM. I feel quite sorry for the committee as they seem to be get the run around I would welcome your views on this matter as to whether or not someone can rightfully demand to see this level of financial detail. Regards John

  3. The level of detail is really at the discretion of the administrator. Every owner is entitled to have access to the accounts, but not instant access to all detail. I think that the full copy at the AGM is prefectly acceptable unless there are reasonable grounds for more urgent access (such as suspected fraud). As far as denuncias are concerned, if there is a history of unjustified denuncias, the president could consider issuing a denuncia against him for issuing malicious or vindictive or pointless denuncias, which is a criminal offence … it might serve to remind the owner of this fact.

  4. Hi Janet.
    I have just vote president of a very small complex 14 bungalow in Fuerteventura with a very large swimming pool (118sqM). The 14 bungalow facing the pool in a horseshoe design. the rule say that the complex is not suitable for children and no children have very been in the complex. We also have a caretaker living in one of the bungalow on the complex. The complex is gated with 2.5M high wall around the complex and the gate is always locked. I am told we have to have a fence around the pool or is there another option.
    New president out my depth in deep water

  5. I’m afraid you’ll need to speak to your administrator – these are the professionals who help and guide presidents.

  6. Hi Janet
    Administrator does not answer all my questions or reply to all my email also has given wrong information to me. Where can I find the regulations that govern the swimming pool in English.

  7. Please see the Property & communities section of my Resources page HERE. There are links to the legislation and a government guide to it. As Canarian legislation, however, it’s in Spanish, and I don’t know where it might be available in English.

  8. Hi Janet,

    We have a severe and growing problem on our community with a tenant and their family. They used to own the property, but it was repossessed by the bank some time ago. They have remained as tenants of the bank, who have recently paid a large part of their arrears of community charge. The behaviour of the tenant and their family is getting increasingly out of control. They also have a dangerous dog which has attempted to attack other residents on more than one occasion. They are very noisy and extremely abusive and threatening when confronted. The police have been called on numerous occasions and at least one Denuncia has been served, yet nothing seems to happen. The President and the Administrator seem unwilling or unable to help. We are increasingly at the end of our tethers and are worried that the situation is spiralling out of control. Life is being ruined for the other residents and this family seem to think they are now untouchable. There must be something we can do but what – us and others are at our wits end with this problem ?

  9. The problem, in particular, is that owners are normally (relatively) concerned about the behaviour of their tenants because it is the owners who are responsible in law. When the owner is a bank, however, in my experience, they couldn’t give a damn. The only thing I can suggest is that as a community you engage a lawyer to write to the bank, and then to start some kind of legal proceedings against the bank when they fail to respond. Apologies, but this is a problem that is increasing and I know of no solution to make the banks care about the tenants they have in their properties.

  10. Hello Janet,

    Firstly, thank you for this very informative and useful Q&A section.
    Our community is made up sixteen properties. The majority are owned by non resident owners. I am a resident owner and am the current administrator. Our president and vice president are both non resident. The president is about to complete on the sale of his property and thus will relinquish his position as president. My question is will the position of president now default to the VP until the next AGM or does an EGM need to be called to vote on a new president?

    Thanks in advance.

  11. As I understand it, once the president sells he is (obviously) no longer an owner and so cannot remain as president. The community needs a legal figurehead, however, so yes it must devolve onto the VP … but the community needs an EGM as soon as possible to replace the president. Ideally, he would call one himself (if he does no 25% rule applies) before he signs to sell and is no longer empowered.

  12. Sean: In a residential complex there is no other option than to erect a fence.
    I did find an English translation of the pool law on the internet some time ago, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation. If you want a copy you can send me an email.

    Ronald: Janet is right. Banks are normally not interested to sort out these kind of problems. However they do not like court proceedings. You could convoke an extraordinary meeting and agree by a majority vote to start court proceedings under article 7.2. of the horizontal property law. You have a good change that the bank will solve the problem.

  13. Hi Janet.
    Our complex has a fenced pool of which everyone has a key. Owners and tenants have rules which say children 12 and under are to be supervised.
    Some ignore this rule even though we repeatedly remind them what can we do??

  14. I fear there’s very little you can do because internal rules can’t really overrule law, and the law says that children under 6 must be accompanied. You can try to enforce it, but I don’t know what leverage you will have if people ignore you.

  15. Hi Janet
    Can you advise one of our neighbour who live on our residential complex has had problems with an individual who is living on the complex under a long let and causing her no end of problems. After speaking with the president and he attempted to resolve the matter without success. She would now like to take out a denuncia against the renter who is causing the problem, but unsure how to go about it she resides in Los Cristanos. Is there a form in English which she can access online to fill in and take to the police station. If this was possible it would be a great assistance for her as she cannot speak Spanish

  16. No, she will need to engage someone to go to the police station with her and interpret.

  17. Hi the comple. I live on built toilets around the pool but no one can use them as they are permanently locked , I’ve spoken to the president and I was told they will not be opened as no one wants to clean them? It’s anoying that I have to take all 3 of my kids up 2 flights of stairs to use the toilet! She told me if the complex had inspectors she would tell them each appartment has their own key?? Is this legal? Many thanks

  18. Technically no, but if the community can’t find someone to clean them there would be health and safety issues. The administration has to put this on the agenda of the next general meeting for the community to discuss the matter and try to find a solution.

  19. Hi Janet, Hope you can clear up some confusion….I was told by quite a few people that in October last year that the holiday lettings has been suspended so I quickly spent money upgrading my Bungalow and moved out to a rental while I holiday rent my place through Owners Direct while the government takes time to make a finale decision on this matter……. but this morning I,ve been told that you can still be fined and it’s NOT suspended……so not sure if I received wrong information or the suspension has already been lifted…so as I,ve got bookings now through to Feb next year I need to know the truth ….could you advice me and if I,m illigal…what can I do ….. especially need to know if they have some sort of inspectors and what sort of fine if any if they decide to come to yr premises…should I give the next booked holiday guests a 3 mth contract that would finish the day they leave so we,re safe until the government decides we can be like other countries in the EEC or they will not allow you if yr property is in a residential complex …. by the way the community are happy and have made a booking for some of their visiting family …. thank you in advance for any latest info on this
    JANE 630097746

  20. It’s the usual confusion I’m afraid. What has been “suspended” is just a decree which was passed to allow owners to rent out privately if they had a residential property. It was just a decree which supplemented the fundamental tourism legislation – which has remained unchanged and in force. The full current legal situation is HERE: it is straightforward and easy to understand, so I can’t add anything to what that page says. There is also much more information in Q&A form HERE. Both pages are completely up to date, and written by me personally, and verified by a qualified lawyer.

  21. Hi Janet, thanks for your great help forum.
    Can you tell me please are there any circumstances where the President / administrator can take emergency action because of public health concerns. I am speaking specifically of rat infestations in the gardens of absent owners. The owners are not maintaining or even visiting their properties and in some cases they do not respond to notifications from the administrator. Can the administrator access the gardens to clear the nest sites and set bait traps without the need to get formal and expensive, I’m told, approval through the courts? How much does it cost to get the court approval anyway?

  22. Technically, I don’t think it would be classed as an emergency, and in the normal course of events, it’s the sort of problem that could wait a few days for an owner to be contacted and give permission for the community to enter and deal with it. In this case, however, you have owners who will not communicate, and as such, it seems entirely reasonable for the community to take action. I see no reason why the community could not make a last-ditch formal attempt to contact the owner, explicitly saying that after several attempts at communication (giving dates, methods and addresses) you will be entering the premises to deal with the rats unless you hear to the contrary within x period of time. Of course this wouldn’t stop such an owner taking the community to Court for entering without permission, but it’s not too taxing to imagine the dim view that the Courts would take of such a complaint.

  23. Thank you for your prompt response Janet.
    We have very good administrators but unfortunately some very bad owners.
    It seems obvious, but would gardens necessarily be included within the context of premises?
    How much would it cost, roughly, to obtain legal consent to enter the gardens if owners do not respond?
    The administrators say it is expensive but they will not quantify the expense.
    Many thanks for your help.

  24. yes, gardens are included within the context of premises if they form part of the escritura concerned. As I explained above, if the owners don’t reply, your simplest option is to tell them you’re going in unless they say you can’t within x period of time, and then let the owners take legal action in response if they want to!

    As to you obtaining legal permission in advance, expense is probably the least of your concerns … you could be waiting years! And since you’re arguing it’s an “emergency”, taking that route knowing the time it could take might actually undermine your case. The administrators won’t give you an idea of cost because they won’t know … it will depend on how many hearings are involved, whether the case will be one of those which attract the justice tax, whether a procurador will be required … you are talking many hundreds, if not thousands, of Euros, though.

  25. Hello Janet,
    We would come the next election of our community (Adeje Paradise), and we want to send a manifest to each owner as we deplore the current community turns 23 illegal apartments for rent.
    We asked our manager to broadcast this show on all owners to inform them of our candidaditure, but they refuse to broadcast because they can not violate the secrecy of addresses. We do not ask the addresses, but only that they send the manifest.
    Is the community as a right to refuse us this shipment?
    Thanks in advance

  26. I’m afraid the community administrator is within their right not to assist a campaign for president of a community. You should be given a chance to present yourself at the next AGM along with any other candidates and, presumably, the existing president.

  27. Hi, I have an issue with safety on my community. We have lots of old stairways made with what I can describe as raiway sleepers. They are rotted and in winter the moss, when wet, is really just like walking on ice. I have raised this issue at every annual meeting, They have even agreed that something needs to be done. At the last meeting, so it is in the minutes, an owner stood up and said he broke his back falling on these stairs. I was there, he fell and was taken to hospital . He never realised the extent of the damage to his back until he returned to the UK and had more extensive tests.
    Clearly this is a very long story, and the danger of these stairs has been raised at several AGM’s. Basically what I want to know is the legal liability of the President, and the Administrator, as we have both, to ensure the safe use of the premises. Is it the President or the Administrator and can I bring an action against them. Finally, is there some system, via town hall etc, where safe use of communal properties can have an inspection. Being as it’s a private urbanization. Thank you

  28. This is clearly a community issue and you were right to bring it up at general meetings because that’s the appropriate forum in which to decide what’s to be done. The community should have insurance to cover any incidents, but you would need to ask a qualified lawyer about whether there’s a wider or specific legal liability. I would think, though, that any liability would rest with the community itself, not a particular president or administrator because they can only act in accordance with the decisions the community makes at its meetings.

  29. Hello Janet can you tell who is responsible for the telephone cable from outside my house to the junction box. The engineer says a new line is required as it is broken somewhere outside the house. It is on a community.

  30. no, I can’t … it depends on the specific details of your own escritura and the community statutes. The one to advise you is the administrator.

  31. Hi, I want to stand as President at our forthcoming AGM but unfortunately, I’ve just had an accident and won’t be able to attend the meeting. I have almost half of the votes given to me as proxies. Cam I still stand as President even if I am not at the Meeting.
    Many thanks in advance.

  32. We have called an EGM with a letter signed by over 50% of the owners specifically to elect a new president. I know we need 25% of owners to convene the EGM am I correct to assume that a vote of over 50% at the EGM for a new president is sufficient?

    Thanks for your knowledge & help

  33. Hi Janet
    I have just returned from our AGM where I lost by one vote sadly.
    However, the vote was for President and Vice President as a pair, not individual votes I.e. Vote for the president and vote for the Vice President. Is that legal?
    Many thanks

  34. Pls can someone let me know if WE have to pay for electric meter to be fitted on a property we are going to rent for long term

  35. By law you can accept any conditions a rental contract imposes, even if they are unusual or not required by law. I myself would seek another rental where electricity is already connected and the responsibility for the supply has already been undertaken by the owner.

  36. Hi Janet
    I wonder if you can give some advice on this problem. We live on a residential complex in the south of the island built around 1987. The problem we have is that there is an owner who has let their apartment on a long let. The renter has a disabled scooter which he attempts to drive throughout the corridors of the complex presumably to get to his apartment door.
    The gentleman is around 17 st and the extra weight of the scooter is constantly damaging, breaking the tiles on the walkways. The walkways in the corridors when originally constructed and tiled were not designed for this type of transport combined with his weight, hence the problem. We have spoken to the gentleman and asked him if he could park the scooter at the end of the walkway, which he is more than capable of doing and walking along to his apartment door. He flatly refuses to cooperate.
    I am aware disability is a very sensitive subject and we are trying not to be offensive towards this person but the community have to carry the costs of this damage. I would welcome your opinion on this matter, and if there is anything we can do.

  37. Well sensitive subject or not, it is clear that this is a vehicle, and it is also clear that you are talking about “walkways” – i.e. areas of the complex for pedestrian access only. Vehicles may not just use any parts of communal areas, and although it might be unfortunate that a disabled person lives in an apartment where disabled access doesn’t reach, that misfortune doesn’t bestow rights to break community rules.

    The bottom line is that assuming the complex has legal disabled access, such vehicles are limited to the designated areas. This is clearly something that should be discussed at a general meeting, or at least brought up with the committee in the meantime so that the administrator can be requested to contact the owner of the property to ensure his or her tenant complies with community rules.

  38. Dear,
    My question is about the Section 7 of Horizontal Property Act. Are pergola’s on top of the roof on individual houses allowed? are the external modifications see section 7 also for external window schutters, awnings,… Is it right that if one owner is not agreed because he lost his view to the see. He can alone forbid the constructions of all pergolas or must we vote over this issue?

  39. The administrator will advise if there are any specific differences in your community but pergolas aren’t allowed on outside areas because they’re fixed, and roofs are not always owned by the property underneath them. Anything fixed must be approved both by the community, and by the local council, which will require an application for an obra menor (minor works) licence. I don’t know about the percentages who can oppose plans – this is something a qualified administrator will need to confirm.

  40. Dear Janet,

    I see on this forum a lot of problems with renters in a community.

    In a new co-owners complex where an important number of owners rent out their houses for holiday purpose are their restrictions / laws for owners who put their houses on the rental market?
    As SUMA, Town Hall regulations, community restrictions and regulations?

    What if a renter cause damages to the common installations of complex or don’t want to follow pool regulations? How to deal with it? Is the owner at all time responsible for acts that his renters do inside the complex?

  41. yes of course there are restrictions to holiday letting. Please see HERE and HERE and HERE where I have spent years explaining it all in some detail. As to damage caused by tenants, the overall responsibility remains with the owner at all time.

  42. Dear Janet,

    My question is about the Section 7 of Horizontal Property Act
    Is there a clear definition of what is a Pergola and what is an awning, where is the limit between Pergola and awning ?

    Merged second question:
    My question is about the Section 7 of Horizontal Property Act. Are the items bellow also concerned ?
    You can answer Y/N for each item.
    – glass panels for privacy
    – satelite dishes (TV + internet)
    – Awnings
    – External metallic furniture (storage)
    Many thanks

  43. A pergola is a construction fixed to wall and floor that creates a permanent covered area. An awning is a community approved fabric shade that rolls out over terraces and balconies. I’m afraid I don’t understand what you’re asking in the second question.

  44. Janet, thank you for your fast answer.

    The Pergola I intend to install will be wall fixed (not floor fixed) with NON PERMANENT covered area (I can open or close the cover).

    My second question was about installation of glass panels on roof terrasses, Satelittes antenna and all item fixed but visible from outside the house. Is it in line with HPA sec. 7 ? Sorry, I’m not English speaking.

    I see (your answer of 12/06) that we can install Gazebo on roof terrasses without asking any permition.
    There is somewhere any official definition about what is Gazebo and what is Pergola ?

  45. You must have misread my reply – you need permission to fix anything to any outside space but you can install a gazebo on your own terraces without permission. As I said before, a pergola is a construction which you need permission for, while a gazebo is freestanding and moveable. It sounds as though what you’re intending is more like a gazebo rather than a pergola, but you will need to clarify your plans with your community by asking the president and/or committee, and the administrator.

  46. Hi Janet
    We live on a complex in the south of the island, the pool has been closed since August 2014 but the administrators are still including the costs for upkeep in our community fees, myself and a couple of other owners have queried this with the administrators and the response we had was “you pay a percentage of the budget whether you receive services or not based on the co-ef of your property” surely this is tantamount to stealing? We have not had our community fees reduced either. Why should we pay for a swimming pool that we are unable to use? We would appreciate knowing where we stand legally.

  47. Well, the community fees are paid to the community, so since you’re paying into your own fund there’s no sense of theft involved. The community fees pay for everything, not just the pool, but in any case presumably the closure of the pool was agreed at an AGM. As such, like all community decisions, it will be legal, and legally binding.

  48. The pool was closed by the previous president without a vote at either an AGM or EGM he took it upon himself to close the pool when someone on the complex complained and as yet has given no reasonable explanation why. Surely the cost of upkeeping the pool when it was open should now be deducted from our community fees? Furthermore what are the administrators doing with those funds? I don’t know of anywhere else whereby you pay for a service you are not receiving?

  49. I would advise you to speak to other owners and call an EGM to discuss the matter. You seem to think, however, that someone is charging you fees … community fees are the owners paying into their own fund, and administrators can only do with those funds what a community instructs them at a general meeting.

  50. Hello Janet,
    I’m one of the 2 Vice-President of my Community. I would like to resign of this function. Can you tell me what I have to do. Just a mail to administrator explaining the reason (or not) is sufficient ? Or there are other actions to do ?

  51. It’s not a formal position like the presidency, so an email to the administrator and president should be sufficient. At least then they will be able to advise you if there should actually be anything extra that you need to do.

  52. Dear Janet,

    Following a number of disagreements with him the President of our community has now cut me out of all official communications. He does not respond to my questions/emails and I can only find out what is happening on the community (and how my fees are being spent) when other owners take the trouble to forward his emails on to me. Can you tell me if he is allowed to do this as I am on the point of refusing to pay future community charges on the basis that he clearly does not consider that I am a part of said community ?

  53. You cannot refuse to pay community charge without putting yourself very much in the wrong. The president is not obliged to communicate with you by email, but you cannot be shut out of the community … the administrator must include you in the call to an AGM and send you an agenda, and this must include the annual accounts which must be approved at every AGM. Also on every agenda must be a vote on the president, so you can seek support from fellow owners to replace him at the next meeting, or even call an EGM in the meantime.

  54. Dear Janet
    Could you confirm that only an owner can be elected a President of a complex community.
    My neighbour seems to think the owner or spouse can be such.

    Also if the spouse[ myself] arranges to have power of attorney over financial affairs [ with my wife’s consent of course] can he then be elected President?
    Charles Clements

  55. Only owners can be president. Normally spouses own jointly so it’s not an issue because both are owners, but if only one of a couple is on the escritura, only s/he can be elected president. Power of Attorney is irrelevant to this issue.

  56. Hello,

    Firstly I would like to commend this website, an absolutely brilliant resource that we look into frequently, thank you so much

    My question is regarding AGM agenda. Fairly new to the complex and we have an AGM coming up and I have asked for 2 items to be added for discussion. 1) Can we publish a one page quarterly update on finance (money spent) and work done in the previous quarter? and 2) Can we establish a garden sub committee to try and improve the quality of garden services (which are in great need of attention)?

    We have a hugely dictatorial President that doesn’t give anyone any opportunity to challenge and basically runs the property as if it was his own. The administrator has told me that the my request cannot be accommodated but I can raise as AOB. I questioned that and said that I believed it my constitutional right under LPH (?) but she has said because my items will have no financial implication then they do not need to put on the agenda.

    This appears inconsistent with what I have read in your Q&A and I thought it wise to check before going back to her. My one previous experience of this AGM was that AOB came at the end of a hugely over running meeting that everyone had grown tired of!

    Thank you

  57. My understanding is that that is simply not correct. Plenty of items go on agendas where there is no financial implication! Just consider, for example, a community that has a problem with dogs. The only reason these matters get discussed is because an owner will request the item to be placed on the agenda. No financial implication whatsoever!

    In any case, AOB is a British meeting concept – in Spain there is no actual AOB, so if this is what you are being told then I suggest it looks as though you are being fobbed off. The fact is that the final section of community meetings is a Question & Answer section where no votes can be taken or resolutions passed! It is not the place for the community to discuss a matter that has been referred to it in advance, and where a vote might be taken, or a decision made.

    As I frequently say, do bear in mind that administrator and president are elected positions, and their election must be itemised on the agenda of every AGM. If a community finds it is being run dictatorially, then there is always the option to try to change matters by seeking alternative candidates.

  58. Thank you Janet, that is very helpful and much appreciated.

    The very best seasonal compliments to you

  59. Hi Janet
    I have always understood that the external surfaces of individual properties on a complex are the responsibility of the community.some owners are under the impression that the individual freehold extends 1 foot from external wall making the owner responsible for painting ( they have been told this by the administrater they claim)
    I do think they are right.
    Can you confirm?

  60. Well if your administrator has told them this then there might be some pecularity in your community, so I am not about to contradict what the administrator has said when I don’t have detailed knowledge of your complex. Normally, however, external walls of a unit are communal property. There’s perhaps some confusion between individual and communal responsibility for painting … obviously individual owners contribute for the communal painting! The fact is that the community IS the individual owners.

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