FAQ: Complexes

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.



















  1. Can you advise the relationship between the Spanish Laws if horizontal division and a Community’s own Statutes and Resolutions. In our community there is clearly a conflict in some the provisions and it would be useful to know which takes precedence. My reading of the statutes suggests that local planning laws have precedence but that all other civil laws are subsidiary

  2. Author

    The law always takes precedence over and is never is never subsidiary to internal rules. If there is a genuine conflict with Statutes then I recommend you speak to the administrator who will determine the best way to proceed, either with or without qualified legal help. If it’s internal rules, however, then they are not a real issue … they can be changed, or ignored, if they’re in conflict with the law.

    One area where this is clearly demonstrated, for example, is communities which pass a resolution fully legally within an AGM setting which sets an internal rule that bans animals. This is against the law because it unconstitutionally restricts an individual’s right to own an animal. The rule doesn’t need to be officially lifted or scrapped because it was never legal to begin with so members of the community can ignore it with impunity. It just seems rather silly for a community to pass such rules but this does happen quite frequently.

  3. Our community has unfortunately recently become divided into two groups that seem to be at war and seem to be badly behaving and equally intent on disrupting the community. Our recent AGM meeting lasted 8 hours and never even managed to agree on a President, that was the last vote we had and was not a ‘double majority’??, they said about going to ‘jucio equility’?? and then the existing president stopped the meeting as everyone was basically too tired to continue. Also many people had obviously gone home from the meeting by then and it was only half way through the agenda.
    Since then I have heard nothing just loads of rumors and allegations. The president isn’t here now. What happens if a AGM is stopped like that, should it be continued at another time? No one here seems to know.

  4. Author

    If your AGM failed to elect a president and/or there was an inconclusive vote, the only solution will be recourse to the Courts. This will take years and costs thousands. It is tragic when a community forces itself into a situation where the only option is self harm, but I have no solution other than the Courts when such is the case.

  5. Are there any statutory regulations regarding maximum occupancy levels on community complex apartments ?

  6. Author

    Yes, the council will be able to clarify any local bylaws that might be additionally relevant but usually maximum occupancy levels can be worked out by bedrooms (as determined by description in the escritura regardless of any alterations) … i.e. two double rooms, occupancy level 4, etc. I believe that the specific formula is classified by square metreage as determined by regional autonomous Governments.

  7. What did Pat mean by a “double majority”?

  8. Author

    I took it as a majority with both the ways of counting the votes (per head and per quota).

  9. Great site, thanks for your contribution. If an owner of an apartment in a complex wishes to rent unused communal space (grounds) next to their apartment, does this require 100% or 3/5ths agreement? I would have thought that this constitutes removal of communal space and thus affects the statutes and needs 100%?

  10. Thanks Janet.

  11. Author

    Your administrator will need to confirm percentages required for any particular vote, and whether it is actually possible for one owner to rent anything belonging to the entire community, which I would doubt.

  12. Good evening Janet,
    We have a problem with our next door owner, he has a leak coming from his bathroom through into our bedroom. We arrived here in fuerteventura 2 weeks ago and the wall was ok, last week we found the wall wet and bubbled and some of the bubbles have burst and there is like fury fungus coming out of it. We contacted the owner who is in England at the moment to inform him and asked for his insurance details. He is refusing to give any details and has said he would deal with it when he comes out later in the year. This is no good to us as the wall is becoming worse every day.
    We have contacted our insurance only to be told that he will have to make the claim with his insurance.
    We are no longer in contact with the owner as he keeps sending abusive messages to us so we will not reply to him. We are getting nowhere with the situation and would be great full if you can advise us what we can do to resolve the matter.
    At the moment he has holiday renter in and we can’t turn his water off to stop the leak, actually we are a residential complex so he really shouldn’t be renting.
    Kind Regards.

  13. Author

    Your claim is with your own insurance company, and it is no good for them to say that “he will have to make the claim”. They must chase him for you, it is not for you to do it. You pay a premium for an insurance policy which you now want to claim on. Your insurers should pay out and it is then their problem to recoup the money. If you have further problems with them, get a lawyer to write to them.

  14. most communitys have an insurance that will sort this out without involving your respective insurance companies. it saves a lot of messing around.

  15. could you tell me how we can change the president of our community as he will not resign

  16. Author

    As I explain in several answers above, the election of a president must be on the agenda for every annual general meeting. There is no question that a president can just continue without being re-elected annually. As to getting a president to resign in the middle of his term, you would need to call an EGM with this as the single item on the agenda (the requirements and procedure for this are also explained above).

  17. Hi Janet , for an AGM/EGM that is called can Proxy votes be sent by email rather than normal mail which is very unreliable here?
    Does the owner sign the Proxy form , scan and send it by email and that is accepted by administrator?

  18. Author

    It depends on the administrator. I have known some accept email confirmation while others refuse to let anyone into the room without a printed out form that they’ve designed themselves which is signed and in duplicate and notified by email to the administrator in advance. For security, every owner needs to check with their administrator what they’ll accept … there is absolutely no requirement for anything other than a simple email but some impose their own requirements and it’s always a shame when owners come across an administrator who makes rules that are neither clear nor notified in advance.

  19. Hello Janet,
    I live on a residential complex in Tenerife. Is it legal for me to fit a video doorbell at my door. This will help me to monitor visitors and prevent vandalism, but the camera view would also cover the pathway that I share with my neighbour. The Ring model that I am considering, stores date to the cloud, that I can access if I have any issues.

  20. Author

    This requires up-to-date data protection information and you need to check this with your administrator, I’m afraid.

  21. We are a community of 27 detached houses, situated in 3 rows of 9. 1 row ie 9 properties, share no common parts at all, nothing. They are on a public road, which is maintained by the local ayuntamiento. The remaining 18 share a private no through road, lighting and post boxes. Is it illegal for the community to vote to say that only the 18 houses that share the common facilities need pay community fees? Ideally these 9 should never have been included in the community originally.

  22. Author

    This is a technicality that you should be getting qualified legal help on, or at least seeking information from a qualified administrator. I’m sorry but I can’t help with what is legally viable in this case.

  23. Janet, I am looking for information with regard to Community Swimming Pool legislation, the link on your website indicates that this reference cannot be found, are you able to provide me with some guidance or direct me another site

  24. Author

    The link does actually work. The problem is Google paranoia and unless sites have a padlock symbol and a security certificate, Google classes them as not safe … and seems actively to make them unreachable. Unfortunately all the Canarian Government’s websites are lacking the certificate but they are perfectly safe! The answer is to remove the “https://” from the website URL. I’ve got the same “not found” message from the link but one that prefix is removed it works fine.

  25. I am looking for information about setting up a repeater to strengthen the WiFi signal I use.

    Has someone done this manually as I have no access to the router to do it via WPS knob?

    It all runs through our community office who gives out the tickets with a password.

  26. It’s highly unlikely you can get a better signal without physical access to the router. Most extenders work by connecting one device to the router via an Ethernet cable and then use WiFi, Ethernet, or electrical sockets to extend the signal to a second device. Without access nothing will improve a poor signal.

  27. Ok, was just a thought as I look at the internet connection on the roof and have such a job trying to stream from the living room. I tend to hang half over the balcony! I had heard you could do it vi WiFi. Never mind.

  28. Judith , as an aside , we have a community internet that is run through our Co-Ax Tv cable to individual apartments to your own personal router(which you purchase) .
    The Community picks up the cost of the Internet supply & equipement .
    It works well with speeds of around 40Mbs .
    We also have a WIFI system with password which is very slow and has many blind spots .

  29. hi janet can a community hire a resident of that community to be a maintenance man thanks

  30. Author

    yes, if he can be employed legally. A community is not required not to employ someone just on the grounds they live in the community.

  31. Janet if I buy a secure garage on a residential complex and do not own an apartment would I be able to attend the AGM and vote.

    Would I also be allowed an opinion at meetings abeit that I am not an apartment owner.

    Thanks in advance.

  32. Author

    yes because you are an owner of part of the comunidad.

  33. Am I correct in saying that an owner of only a garage space or a local, I.e. not an apartment owner, is not allowed to vote in any item not affecting it, e.g decisions about the swimming pool.

  34. If you own a garage, you are required to pay your share of the community fees as determined by your cuota as laid down in the Master Escritura This “cuota”also determines your voting rights at general meetings. Hope that helps.

  35. Author

    no, not correct Home from Home. As Meldrew says, you have a cuota payment and that entitles you to vote according to your quota in the community … and so in any general meeting concerning any aspect of the community.

  36. The President and some members of our comunidad committee have held a meeting with our administrator. The President is refusing to issue a copy of any minutes to some owners. Can he do this?

  37. Author

    yes, the community is entitled to minutes of general meetings but not otherwise.

  38. can private owners on a community run complex be made to pay for cosmetic upgrades which the majority of business owners have voted for. These include doors, patio windows, electrical upgrade, balcony screens. we pay a community charge every month which the new holding company have increased by some 70% in the last year, and now they are saying that each private owner will have in the region of 6000 euros each to find for other upgrades (non of which will be internal). All of the non-privately owned units have been completely stripped and are being refurbished.

  39. Author

    Well, a “holding company” or any other business cannot determine community fees in any shape or form let alone arbitrarily increase them. They are determined by whatever the community decides as a community at general community meetings. Each owner’s quota then determines the percentage they pay. No-one can “be made to pay” … the community agrees what is to be paid by community members, which are all the owners – of all premises whether commercial/business or residential/private.

    As to the €6,000, that sounds like a derrama but that again is a community-made decision. You seem to be confused about someone or some organization imposing a charge on you. This is not how communities work. It might help if you look at the Finance section above, which has questions on both how community funding is arranged and about derramas.

  40. But what if those committee minutes contain information/facts that all owners should be aware of?
    Surely Committee members aren’t entitled to be in possession of more facts/knowledge than any other Comunidad owner?

  41. If I glass in my balcony do I still have to keep the walls the uniform external community colour?

  42. Author

    Committees have no legal status, as explained above in the section on Officials. Any facts that need to go to the whole community must be disseminated through a general meeting.

  43. Author

    Yes, the outside must conform to community regulation schemes of colour and design in all respects at all times.

  44. Hi Janet, we have bought an apartment in Tenerife last June.Could i ask who sets out the comunity fee and what should be covered.We pay our thourogh and agent, direct debit each month. We have noticed that the last couple of no the we have be debated twice or even 3 times in some months

  45. Author

    That’s answered above in various sections, eg the question “Who establishes how much the community fees are and on what grounds?” in the Finances section. There are others. The community decides between proposed budgets at a general meeting (required every AGM after the previous year’s accounts are approved) and the budget that’s chosen is then divided between owners according to their quota. I’m afraid that I don’t know what your last sentence means.

  46. Janet, Thanks for responding. Just so I’m clear on this. Even though I have glassed in the balcony those walls now on the inside must remain the same community colour as the external walls. I will have to re think my soft furnishings.

  47. Author

    if the walls are on the “inside” then the rules won’t apply … presumably this was all agreed with the community when you got the agreement from the community, based on an obra menor licence from the council?

  48. Janet, put that stirring stick down.

  49. Author

    I know it must look like that but it’s a genuine answer because the look of the thing will indeed be part of the permissions procedure for the design. If those haven’t been followed or applied for, the internal colour of the walls will be the least of the problems!

  50. ‘‘Twas a joke 😁😂🤣

  51. Author

    yeah, I know! 😀

  52. We have an owner who has added extra rooms in their “Sotano” without permission from the owners and without a valid licence. They claim it’s all legal and that they have had their escritura changed to reflect the new rooms/changes.
    Can they change their escritura without the corresponding change on the Master Escritura?

  53. Author

    No. It’s that simple. All works need an obra licence plus community permission, and regardless of any changes actually carried out, the property’s Escritura remains as it was to begin with – the description of the property does not change. And no changes in an individual property would affect the Statutes (which is what I presume you mean by Master Escritura).

    I don’t know, either, what you mean by you have an owner who has done works without permission from the owner … :/

  54. Janet, is there any way I can find out if a bar on my complex has the necessary licences for opening- bar, tv/recorded music, live music, food handling certificates, etc.

  55. Author

    Local council … just ask the planning department.

  56. Thanks!

  57. How does a complex change its licence from touristic to residential please?

  58. Author

    Please see the question above in the Alterations section where I explain how a community might go about changing from residential to touristic. I’m not sure if it’s possible in reverse but if it is, it will be under very similar conditions. You will need to confirm with a qualified professional, either an administrator or lawyer.

  59. Janet, this is a follow on from my question to you on 1st June concerning having the right to be involved in discussions and voting on matters concerning the community at an AGM…given that I own just a garage and not an apartment.

    Your answer to my question was clear and understood that I do have the right to discuss and vote in community affairs because I am an owner of part of the comunidad.

    My follow on question is, given my situation can I be proposed and seconded to become a committee member at an AGM.

  60. Author

    yes you are an owner within the community. The same principle applies! Bear in mind that committees are “informal” anyway, and there is no legal recognition of the office.

  61. Hello
    Can a community president ask a community member to represent him (Only in what has to do with internal rules) when he has to leave for +- 10 days?
    Thank you.

  62. Author

    A community would normally have a Vice President who would be the automatic stand-in for an absent President but if there is no VP, then I don’t see why a President can’t nominate a deputy. There might be one or two legal loopholes to go through for confirmation if the substitution is for a legal purpose like Court action.

  63. Janet, is there any way that I could find out the purchase price paid for a property which was bought off plan over 30 years ago.

  64. Author

    It might be possible if the current owner was the original buyer because the price will be in the escritura, but really, it is not really a buyer’s business what vendors paid for the property when they themselves bought it.

  65. I live on the Costa Blanca. Our community are proposing a children’s play area in front of of our property. We are on an urbanisation with 86 properties. This will ruin our view and also be very noisy. What rights do we have? What percentage of owners have to agree to this. Thank you

  66. Author

    You will need to check with your administrator who will not only be qualified to answer as far as percentages required for a vote, but also and more importantly, be up to speed on local bylaws and planning regulations. I’m afraid I cannot answer from the Canaries.

  67. Who is responsible for the water leak between the water meter and the stopcock in the property, the house owner or the community.

  68. Author

    It depends on the specific situation, and boundaries of common areas and private units. Your administrator will be able to clarify with certainty based on the particular circumstances.

  69. Ok many thanks for your response

  70. Hi Janet
    My admin are stating the leak is my side of the meter, , and they say i am responsible.
    However the leak occurs before it enters my property some where between the water meter and my stopcock. The water meter is situated two houses away from my property, so my pipe is under common ground. Am I right in thinking it is therefore the communities responsibility .
    Many thanks

  71. Author

    No, you’re not right, or at least not necessarily right. As I said to you in my last reply, your administrator will know the correct situation in detail because they have full access to all the information they need to determine the answer. If you seriously disagree with the administrator’s answer I would recommend you consult a lawyer and take your escritura and any documentation showing your water supply with you to the appointment.

  72. if you are a debtor on a complex are you still allowed to use the facilities ie pools thank you

  73. Author

    It depends. As explained above in the answers to the first two questions in the sections “Debtors”, the only thing community debtors can’t do is vote, but as the second answer explains, if a community’s Statutes say that debtors can be deprived of their rights to non-essential communal facilites, e.g. swimming pool or tennis court, they can be prevented.

  74. Thank you, Janet, No there is nothing in the statutes

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