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.

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68 Comments

  1. Hi Janet,

    Our complex of 30 duplexes has one water meter for everyone and we share the cost equally.

    For the past three months we have suffered with pressure problems even to the point where we have no water whatsoever and often where there is insufficient pressure to shower. Our washing machine is regularly cutting out as it cannot get sufficient water. There is no time consistency, it’s almost random, but it’s becoming quite intolerable

    Our administrators say they are doing everything possible and raising it with the water supplier who are investigating but I suspect nothing is happening. They say there’s no point my complaining to the water company as their responsibility is only as far as the community. Others here are experiencing the same issues but not to the extent we are (I think we are the furthest from the source)

    Is there a water regulator I can complain to, or do you think they will they be dismissive because of the shared supply? Can I put pressure (sic) on our administrators in some way … I’ve even considered withholding fees but that feels a little extreme but I suspect they aren’t really representing my issues with any real conviction

    As ever thank you for your guidance, it’s very much appreciated

  2. Author

    Your options really are either to ask your administrator to show you what is actually being done, or to call an emergency meeting of the community to discuss the problem. You cannot withhold fees. This is not an “us and them” situation where you can “punish” the administrator or president or community by starving them of your contribution – these fees are payable by community members to their own community so you would only be starving your own self of funds! Moreover, they are a legally required payment and you automatically become a debtor if you withhold them, and lose any control over what happens in the community. I personally would call an EGM anyway to discuss the possibility of arranging the water supply differently for the community.

  3. Hi Janet
    My question is about by laws and regulations on a community
    We had a new administrator last year
    We had previously been told about the rules of the community by the old administrator
    The new administrator have said that there is no rules
    Where can I get information about this there is a confusing on what is rules and regulations by some owner
    Do you need to have the rules and regulations recorded and how far back can they be made
    Many thanks
    Dave Park

  4. Author

    If you had rules they will still apply. Ask the new administrator to put the matter on the agenda of the next AGM for discussion and clarification.

  5. hello our community administrator have told us we cannot see committee minutes , they are for members only ? ( this is not an agm , just meeting to discuss certain issues ? ) complex in Palm mar , Arona
    also been told palm tress cannot be pruned they will die , yet won’t give me names of trees to check and they did them last year – say not a problem if they block our view or effect our light ? in there opinion ? can you advise me in any way please , thanks

  6. Author

    The committee is not really relevant because it’s just a subset of owners with no legal status whatsoever. As such, they don’t even need minutes, so there’s no reason for anyone to see them. As to pruning palm trees, it’s a specialist job but they are frequently “pruned”, though it depends how one defines the word. This is something to go on the AGM agenda for the community to discuss.

  7. Dear Janet, I have been told that the pool area in my residential complex has to be changed to an infinity pool by law, thus costing the owners a large amount of money, can you confirm this change of law for me, or refute it.

  8. Author

    I know of no such law. As always when you’re given such “instructions” ask for the source or a reference. Ask the person who told you for the law they’re quoting.

  9. We were told the same a few yrs ago and we had to upgrade to infinity pool at a cost of €40k and recently reapaired again !

  10. Author

    Then someone somewhere needs to give a link of some kind to the legislation they’re claiming requires this. I’m unaware of any law in this respect, and indeed cannot see how it could function when most pools don’t have a line of sight to the sea or horizon.

  11. Janet, the “infinity” part is when the pool water level is at the very top of the pool vessel and constantly overflows thus no scum line on side of pool , more hygienic apparently.

  12. Author

    ah, not the infinity type where a hotel pool merges into the sea from the line of sight. Pool regs are governed by legislation at various levels, but the main starting point is a council. All I can do is suggest people enquire what the bylaws are at their local Ayuntamiento.

  13. What happens when the vote for a new president at an AGM is a tie. One owner has two properties so I assume she will get two votes. This then will result in a tied vote. Does this mean the status quo remains the same and the current president remains in situ.

  14. Author

    As I explain in the meetings section above, each vote is counted twice. So your fellow owner will have two votes for her two units in , but in the other way of counting she will just be one vote because it’s one per head. As I explain above, in the event of a dispute where both ways of counting fail to produce a clear result, it would have to be the Courts which decide.

  15. Hi Janet
    Please can you tell me what the law is in Tenerife regarding late night noise from bars near residential complexes
    Many thanks

  16. Author

    They are governed by local authority bylaws, which sets the conditions in their opening licence. The only way to be sure in any given case is to approach the Ayuntamiento.

  17. At last years AGM this years was scheduled for 4 March 2019 but we have just received notification the President cannot make this date and wishes to re schedule for 12th. Is this permitted ? Not only have some owners already booked flights which do not accommodate the new date but having set the date at last years AGM is that not legally binding. What if we all say we cannot make the new date. We are a small complex but nevertheless its very inconvenient.

  18. Author

    Yes, it’s permitted. I appreciate it won’t be applauded by foreign owners but Spanish law presumes owners of property in Spain to be in Spain and so able to make these meetings. I’m afraid that even though it’s inconvenient, owners still have the option of appointing a proxy voter to vote in their place if they can’t make the new date. Any date set in the AGM can be changed as long as people have a week’s notice.

  19. can you confirm the legal position on how voting in a president works. is it based on how many people vote in favour for a particular person or the hightest % area of the apartments/garages/traesteros.

  20. Author

    Please see the answer to the question “What can we do about multiple owners who can outvote us every time” in the Meetings section above where it is explained. (Quota itself is explained in the answer to the question “Who establishes how much the community fees are and on what grounds?” in the section on Finances).

  21. Hi Janet

    The Committee in my complex has refused me permission to erect a permanent sun shade (gazebo) on my top floor roof terrace, despite the fact that other residents already have them. They say that they want to preserve the look of the complex. My terrace is higher than all of the others and therefore not visible from anywhere on the complex. Can the permission from the Town Hall override the committee?

  22. Author

    The committee is powerless in this respect. If others have done them I see no way the community can stop you, but if anyone can it is the community as a whole, not the committee. I personally, given the nature of the work and the objection, would get an appointment with the administrator and talk it through, and then if necessary check things out with a lawyer and/or the council. My feeling is that although the committee is unable to stop you, it is worth checking out if any objections raised by the community could prevent you proceeding in the same way that others already have.

    A couple of points to bear in mind in case these were behind the objection. With a gazebo, any external colour or design schemes must be adhered to, and when fixing the gazebo to the floor, great care must be taken to ensure the damp proof membrane under the floor surface is not damaged.

  23. If i may – sound advice from Janet – unless as in our complex the administration does precisely as he is told by our ” president” and has said he will not even offer an opinion. Any ” statues” / rules i have seen on several complexes are alarmingly vague as to be useless. If a precedent has been set, and the structure does not obstruct views from neighbours the community must, in equity come up with legitimate reasons – an impression of the structure superimposed on an actual photo is easily done these days.

    Unsurprisingly, i suspect that most committees, and Presidents are not building experts but there are some very skilled installers who would produce a proper specification.

    RJL

  24. Hi Janet
    We are a residential complex in Tenerife, unfortunately we have a couple of apartments that have been purchased with a view to rent via hosting websites Airbnb etc, we have now been informed that if the complex constitution does not prevent this , an individual can apply for a touristic licence for a apartment and rent is this correct
    Thank you

  25. Author

    Please see HERE in the first place where I’ve posted the latest in the holiday letting legislation situation. As I’ve now said to several enquirers, following a recent Supreme Court ruling the law will have to change from its current stance that private holiday letting of residential properties is only permitted in wholly residential areas to include those in touristic and mixed touristic-residential areas.

    For the moment the situation remains as it was but the Supreme Court ruling is clear and the law will have to be amended. It was already being redrafted, and the new ruling will need to be incorporated. Anyone considering taking action, therefore, against owners who are breaking the law will have to make that decision in the full knowledge that what might be illegal right now won’t be for too much longer.

    There will still be certain restrictions as there are right now (see HERE) but until we see the new law we won’t know what it looks like. There are also things communities can do under existing legislation to try to control a situation which might be upsetting to permanent residents (see HERE).

  26. Hi

    If anyone out there has experienced major water leakage in their community which necessitated the repair/replacement of the main underground pipework I’d be delighted to hear from them. Specifically I am trying to get a handle on the sorts of costs involved (recognising each case is different of course), types of remedial work and disruption caused, and any recommendations on engineer/contractor

    Thanks

  27. I am the president of one such community where we have had three fractured pipes in the last 18 months. Although the community is insured against breakages because the pipes were 3-4m underground gas detectors and cameras failed to find the leaks subsequently our insurance was nil and void. They will only pay out where they can see the damaged pipe.

    In these instances because the leakage to the pipe was in the community, the community coffers had to take the hit. We also had to reimburse the owners for the increase in the bills from Entemanser. It was easier and cheaper to run new pipes from the water meters to the individual properties. The cost of each repair was approximately €1000 which was very reasonable considering in one case (mine) they were out at 1am trying too detect the leak because the sound from the pools was distracting. Over and above the increase in water consumption the reimbursement was in the region of €300-500. We worked it out comparing typical bills for that household from the previous year. Not an exact science but best we could do.

    A neighbouring villa has just had a similar problem and the bill was around €4,000.

    Incidentally, I believe Entemanser have or are working on a wireless smart meter which will monitor the consumption and in the event of abnormally high usage will alert the owner and/or despatch one of their technicians. The cost I gather is in the region of €65 but I suspect this will be at least annually. I do not have all the information at present.

    I hope this is helpful

  28. Is there a legal limit to how many vice presidents can be elected to serve on a committee?

  29. Author

    As I say above, the VP has no actual function other than to deputize for the president in some legal matters where required so it’s not really a meaningful question. A community is not required to have one at all, so I see no actual technical reason why every owner other than the president shouldn’t be elected VP if the want the title.

  30. Thank you SEAL420 for your comments. Interesting about repaying owners, that hadn’t crossed my mind … but in our case we have just the one meter for all properties s perhaps not applicable

  31. Hi Janet
    Can an admin company send out a burofax relating to a vote that took place 2years ago about an infraction. The vote was that the cable should be painted the same colour and that no legal action would be taken.
    Many thanks

  32. Author

    The Burofax is a standard way to communicate about an official matter where proof might be needed in future legal action, so it sounds quite normal to me that they would use this method, particularly over something involving an infraction even two years after.

  33. Hi Janet can a person who’s not a regestered owner of a propertyon a complex be voted onto the committee of owners ?

  34. Author

    yes because the committee has absolutely no legal status whatsoever.

  35. Hi Janet , I’m a bit confused about voting rights as you describe above being “counted ” 2 ways .
    If a vote is taken at the meeting of attendees + proxies on an issue based on cuotas , where in the process does the “second way of counting ” come into it and how does it influence the result ?
    eg If the attendees + proxies have the majority but those attending have a majority as individual voters + proxies on 1 vote basis – who carries the day ?
    Thanks for your work !

  36. Author

    The votes are counted once per head (attendants at the meeting) and once per quota. So someone who owns five apartments has one count per capita but five counts per cuota. Both have to tally or there is disagreement and the vote is invalid until confirmed by another vote or by the Courts. The administrators count votes both way during the meeting because they have the quota percentages there … and a calculator!

  37. Thanks Janet but I’m still not getting it !
    Say there are 60 people and vote on a motion goes 31-29 in favour by a head count (i.e. 1 vote each) but when you count via the Cuotas the result is against the motion , which vote wins?
    I’m assuming proxies are included in head count ?

  38. Author

    Yes proxies are included because they are a vote representing the owner. The situation you describe is one where there is a difference in the counts, with one count leading to one result and the other to a different result, and in these situations, neither vote “wins”. The two ways of counting the votes must tally, and if they do not, the community has a problem it must either resolve itself, by discussions and if necessary further votes until it can get the measure rejected or approved definitively, or the situation needs outsiders (ie the Courts) to sort out … a bit like Brexit!

  39. Dear Janet,
    Our complex is about 45 years old has some commercial locals underneath the community gardens and walkways, which are part of the complex. During heavy rain, water finds its way naturally into these locals. Most are vacant spaces. However, one owner has converted this space into a bar some years ago and feels that we should protect them from the rainwater that we don’t own and have no realistic way of stopping making its way down in the local.
    Who is responsible, the Community or the owner of the local? I can see no way that we can stop rainwater seeping down through the ground and this is a structure that’s remained unchanged in 45 years. The change is in the climate.
    In the UK its quite normal for cellar conversions to be “tanked” inside and that is the only solution to keep water out of an underground property, I can see no other solution for the owners of underground locals.
    It would seem to me to be unreasonable for the community to foot a bill for an internal improvement of a premises we don’t own.
    What are your thoughts on this?

  40. Author

    My instinct is that the complex causes water to damage somebody’s freehold, and as such does have the responsibility to prevent any damage caused. As you say, tanking would probably solve the problem, and it is not very expensive, but that would be setting a precedent for anybody else who might want to develop a local underneath. With the complex being as old as it is, the legal situation would I think require a lawyer’s opinion, to find out what the relationship is between the complex and the locals (the locals are usually part of the complex in such situations), and thus determine the responsibilities.

  41. Dear Janet, further to your information re derramas you say that a community can’t be asked to pay more than 3 months community fees, is this a one off 3 months or is this 3 months in any one year.
    Kind regards

  42. Author

    Not suer I understand you. The payment of a derrama cannot be compulsory if the amount is more than three months of an owner’s community payments.

  43. Hello,

    After how much time an AGM should be called, after the budgetyear has ended?

  44. Author

    The AGM is annual. It should be called the same time every year. There is no requirement for it to be a particular length of time into a year.

  45. Hi Janet, if my share is say €150 do I have to pay that every year until the amount required for the refurbishment is collected.
    Kind regards

  46. Author

    It depends on what was agreed at your AGM! You should be asking your administrator who will have all the details.

  47. Dear Janet, thanks for the great advice on this thread.

    Our community has a communal hot water system and the costs are distributed according to ownership coefficients and not consumption. Some feel this is unfair and want to install individual meters but I am unclear as to whether this requires a modification to the statutes, thus 100% vote, or simple majority. My feels in the former as it is a change to the way costs are distributed in the community for the last 40 years. Any advice appreciated.

  48. Author

    Thanks for the kind comments David, but what you’re asking is technical and specific, and needs a qualified administrator to answer. Apologies.

  49. I have a question for you.
    In the deeds is stated that the fee is based on coefficient.
    By unanimous voting 10 years ago it was agreed to change into a fixed fee per apartment.

    Now ONE owner wants to get back to the original system, so change back from fixed fee to fee based on coefficient.

    Is it true that only ONE owner can do this?

    Regards
    Hans

  50. Author

    Sorry but with technical quota and voting questions you will need to ask a qualified administrator.

  51. Hi Janet l have a water leak from my water meter . The pipe from my meter goes into the road outside my villa where it is leaking. The water board states they are not responsible as it is community. The administrator states that because the leak is passed my meter it is my responsibility is this correct?

  52. Author

    Actually these matters are impossible to diagnose at a distance. There are too many variables depending on community Statutes, location of meter(s), pipework through private/communal areas. The basic fact is that the water company’s liability ends at the water meter, and thereafter it is usually the owner’s responsibility. The community would be responsible if, say, the meter is housed in a communal area, but as I say without knowing much more, and in detail, it isn’t possible to identify specifically. If there’s a dispute between community and water company, and you yourself do not see yourself to be liable, then I would suggest getting a qualified plumber or even lawyer to look over the matter.

  53. Hi Janet , the president of our community has just informed us that the pool is to be regrouted and out of use for a week,she has given 8 days notice this wasn’t brought up at the last agm, and the work is not urgent. After telling her I think this is very short notice especially after the has known this was going to happen for a few months now She has told me the maintenance of the complex is down to her and the vice president and nothing to do with the community and we don’t need to be informed as such, please could you give me your views on this. Thank you

  54. Author

    Provided that the works were agreed at some point by the community, and they must have been in order for such works to be carried out at all, then the timing is not down to the community. Indeed the timing cannot be because it depends at least in part on extraneous factors like contractor availability over which a President has little to no control. You don’t confirm in your question whether the community has in fact approved these works at some point, and if it did not, then that is a different matter, of course.

  55. Hi Janet, thanks for your reply, no the works were not approved at all, in fact we only found out about them a week ago and work has already started,, thank you

  56. Author

    Then they cannot proceed. Works such as this must be approved by the community at an AGM or EGM. The president has no authority to order non-emergency works like these autocratically. Send a Burofax to the president and administrators asking for their legal justification for doing this without reference to the community. It’s possible there is some understanding that they can explain to you, but if not, the Burofax will be your first point of order in taking whatever legal action might be required.

  57. Janet. Always interesting – hope we,ll hear how Tracy gets on. Seems some Presidents rule autocratically. Also know of administrators who simply will not voice their own opinions – merely rubber stamp whatever ” committees prescribe.

  58. Author

    Thanks, and I too hope Tracy will report back.

  59. Hi Janet,

    Can you define ‘non emergency works’ I imagine pretty well most repair and maintenance work is ‘non emergency’ so how does a President go about keeping a community properly maintained and in good order? Is there an indicative cost limit or something similar?

  60. Author

    There’s a certain amount of leeway here. Obviously “emergency” is self-explanatory – a burst pipe or electrical outage, that sort of thing – but non-essential or needful minor works can’t wait for a general meeting to be called, and self-evidently shouldn’t involve the whole community by necessity in deciding to replace a missing screw or equivalent. Indeed, a president who didn’t carry out urgent and even routine minor repairs would be deemed negligent. Bear in mind, though, that “maintenance” generally is something determined each year in the budget, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    Where you look for a cost limit, however, there isn’t a clearly defined one, no, but I think we all have an idea of what might be “reasonable”. And of course, any president considered to be acting “unreasonably” in this respect still has to stand for re-election at the next AGM … that is where the community has its control.

  61. Thanks for the reply. I was bothered by the earlier remarks. Grouting of a pool is a fairly routine bit of maintenance, (not often perhaps) and should be within any reasonable budget. This time of year is about as quiet as it gets, so the timing is good.

    I would very much hope that to undertake such work wouldn’t require the approval of residents at an AGM/EGM but it is entirely reasonable to expect notice to be given.

  62. Author

    And that is why asking the administrator for the justification is important. It is quite possible that a schedule or community regulations for determining when and how often the pool should be grouted was part of the initial project, or is actually in the Statutes … the administrator will know, while a new owner might not be aware of the history. Always good to start with a simple question to the administrator and take it from there. Generally, though, grouting a pool is not in my experience classed as routine maintenance for a community, at least in terms of budget, even though it is regularly required maintenance from the perspective of the pool itself.

  63. I suppose it also depends on why the pool is to be regrouted. Our pool is a certain age and the pool tiles come adrift after a certain time. This creates areas in the pool where people might stub their toes or even cut themselves. It also enables algae to form on the unprotected areas. We have to carry out regrouting/refurbishment work every couple of years. If we did not do that we would face health and safety issues. We carry funding in the budget for such general maintenance and it is left to the President and our maintenance manager to schedule the work as and when it is required. It is normally undertaken in quiet periods.

  64. Dear Janet,
    My question is;- does a person need an NIE number to hold the position of President of a community?

  65. Author

    Well, a President must be an owner, and you need a NIE to buy a property, so yes, but it’s to do with ownership not community officialdom.

  66. Regrouting, or resealing, being classed as an emergency. It can also be described as an emergency depending on the location/construction of the pool and what is being affected by the leak. For example, privately owned property or locales, communal machinery rooms, storage areas walkways etc.
    and as Snowbird says Late May early June are the quietest times of the year to carry out these works with the least disruption to owners. It is inevitable though that some owners will be affected. Unfortunately that is part and parcel of living within a community.

  67. Could you please clarify Community law article 14.
    At our AGM it was passed to heat the existing swimming pool. A group of us feel that is a luxury and do not want to pay towards it. we thought that legally we did not have to pay. However our Administrator says we have to pay as the contribution will not exceed 3 months community fees.Can you advise please

  68. Author

    That is correct as I explain in the answer to the question “Can someone be forced to pay a derrama for community amenities?” in the section on Finances above.

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