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. I live on a complex do I need permission to put up a pergola..many thanks H C.

  2. Author

    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.

  3. 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

  4. Author

    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.

  5. 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

  6. Author

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

  7. 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.

  8. Author

    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.

  9. 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 ?

  10. Author

    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.

  11. Dear Janet,

    Thank you for your advice.

    Kind regards,


  12. 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.

  13. Author

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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??

  16. Author

    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.

  17. Thank you Janet

  18. 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

  19. Author

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

  20. What time does live music have to stop?

  21. Author

    It depends on the licence the establishment has.

  22. 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

  23. Author

    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.

  24. 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

  25. Author

    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.

  26. 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?

  27. Author

    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.

  28. 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.

  29. Author

    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.

  30. Very helpful, thank you Janet.

  31. 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


  32. Author

    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.

  33. 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

  34. Author

    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.

  35. 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.

  36. Author

    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.

  37. 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.

  38. Author

    yes, you can be elected as president in absentia.

  39. Very many thanks Janet, keep up the good work
    Kind regards
    Margaret Taylor

  40. 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

  41. Author

    As far as I’m aware it’s a simple majority vote.

  42. Thanks again Janet

  43. 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

  44. Author

    If the community accepted that type of vote I see no reason why it should be illegal.

  45. Many thanks Janet

  46. 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

  47. Author

    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.

  48. 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.

  49. Author

    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.

  50. 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?

  51. Author

    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.

  52. 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?

  53. Author

    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.

  54. 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

  55. Author

    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.

  56. 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 ?

  57. Author

    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.

  58. 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.

  59. Author

    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.

  60. 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?

  61. Author

    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.

  62. 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 ?

  63. Author

    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.

  64. 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 ?

  65. Author

    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.

  66. 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

  67. Author

    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.

  68. 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

  69. Author

    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.

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

    The very best seasonal compliments to you

  71. 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?

  72. Author

    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.

  73. Hi Janet,
    I may have dreamt this, but are burglar alarms with a bell illegal in Tenerife? I had a feeling that they are, and we are only allowed the ones connected to a call centre?

  74. Author

    Hi Sharon, apparently they are illegal, yes, in the whole of Spain.

  75. Hi Janet,
    Thank you

  76. hi janet. do you know of a lobby group or something similar. or would you be interested in changing the law in communities to make things more clear and cut out the corruption, and in line with European directives on accounting.

  77. Author

    I don’t know of one, no, I’m sorry. I would think the place to start is HERE, APAF, the Asociación de Presidentes de Comunidades y Administradores de Fincas.

  78. Hi Janet & thank you for your very informative website

    We feel our community fees are extremely high compared to friends who own in a similar complex, can you advise how we can look into this.

  79. Author

    Well, you and your fellow owners set the budget at each AGM. You need to look into your accounts, which you and your co-owners approve each year at the AGM, and then consider what your community decides fees are needed for. The decisions are yours, as a community, entirely. If you feel that they are too high, then you need to consider savings. If there are no savings that can be made, then they are at the right level. But whether there are savings, and where there might be made, are decisions that you will take together with your fellow owners.

  80. Hi Janet we just had our AGM unfortunately a payment of 8000 EUR had been paid in cash with out a receive for the pool repair and no iva paid we was told we saved 800 EUR
    What action should the community take or owners as the majority said ok to it .Some owners feel that some of the money is in the drinks fund for the president

  81. Author

    There is no IVA in the Canaries. We have IGIC. Everything done at an AGM must be minuted, and this will be your receipt. If the motion was approved at the AGM by the owners then it is legal. If some owners believe there was some sort of legal confusion, or worse, then they need to group together to seek a consultation with a qualified lawyer, or in the first place, ask for clarity from the administrator.

  82. But a payment of €8000 in cash to a professional for services is illegal. Both the parties involved could be in trouble if the authorities find out about it.

  83. Hi thanks for your comments
    As a owners will the authority come back for the igic from the community or from the president who paid it in cash

  84. Author

    These are questions for the administrator, and an accountant. As Stewart has pointed out, any payment over €2,500 cannot legally be made in cash anyway, so this is very much an under the counter arrangement … and so questsions of IGIC won’t apply anyway.

    I have known communities undertake this sort of arrangement, but as with all cash-in-hand payments, accounting tends to have to be creative …

    Just a final point – a motion can be “legal” in the sense that it is a valid vote, but there is nothing actually to stop a community from “legally” voting to carry out an illegal action.

  85. Hi what paper work is need for a EGM
    We have over 25% in favor for one but the president is unwilling to call one and the administrator is being unhelpful as the leaving in 2 weeks time

  86. Author

    The president doesn’t have to call one. If you have over 25% calling for an EGM it has nothing to do with the president, and the administrator MUST convoke one! My best advice is for one of the 25% to gather together all names, NIEs, unit numbers and normal addresses, give it the administrator and instruct them to call one! If you still hit a brick wall, club together and engage a lawyer to act for you.

  87. Hi Janet
    My comment seems to disappearing but i will tru again.
    Does the President have any legal right to change the date of the AGM at short notice (2 weeks) from 17 to 27th feb.
    We had booked flights for the original date set at the lsst AGM but now cannot attend. Presumably it was changed because the President could not atend.
    Does he have to be present at AGM?

  88. Author

    I can’t see this comment was submitted before now. Please see the Meetings section above, there is a question specifically about notice, which is 6 days, so a fortnight is adequate. You have the right, of course, to give a proxy vote to someone else. The president doesn’t have to be present – the law cannot require someone’s presence when they might be ill, or away at a time when the meeting is approaching its deadline to be held – but it is entirely normal for a president to be present.

  89. Hi Janet
    In your item “What does a President Do?” there are two links, one about his duties and another about insurance.
    Unfortunately they are both in Spanish.
    Is it possible to have an English translation particularly about obtaining insurance?

  90. Author

    no, I’m sorry, the associacion is a Spanish one and doesn’t seem to have an English language toggle on their website, so it would be a case of a privately commissioned translation. The insurance, though, is “public liability for Presidents”, as I say above, so any broker would be able to deal with such an enquiry, I would have thought.

  91. Hello, Janet,

    For the agenda of general meeting we got the information, that one older than 70 years owner required the community to install the elevator. We will start the discussion as I understand that there is obligation for the community according to the Horizontal law to do so. But is community really obliged to install the elevator? It looks quite a big investment to a 3 floors building just because one or few owners would like to.

  92. Author

    As I understand the law on this – and you need to check it with at least the administrator – a lift must be installed in new constructions of blocks of more than 4 floors (not 4 floors or more), but is not obligatory in older ones where it was not part of the original construction. A community can vote to install one in older buildings with a vote of 60% regardless of number of floors. And so, according to this, there is no way that the community can be “obliged”, but it could vote to do so.

  93. Hi Janet,

    At our recent AGM, a vote was taken to heat the pool. The meeting was held on second calling.
    The motion was carried by 19 votes to 10 of people present at the meeting.
    Our president is dead set against the heating of the pool, and is now saying that the motion wasn’t carried, because it needs 3/5 of total owners in favour, and not 3/5 of people present.
    I have looked at the LHP and don’t think this is correct?
    Article 16 section 4 does say 3/5 of owners, and section 7 says when a meeting is held on second calling, the votes are based on owners present.

    If votes are based on total numbers of owners and not owners present at the meeting, surely this suggests that nothing is ever carried?

  94. Author

    I’m sorry Sharon but as I’ve said before, percentages questions need to be directed to qualified administators because they are too technically complex for me to advise. As far as I’m aware, however, in second call meetings (i.e. the vast majority of meetings), votes are carried by simple majority provided only that the half the cuota is present. This is the trouble with advising on such matters – even with exact numbers of attendees, it is impossible to know the actual cuota percentage that was present. It’s also impossible to know the numbers of proxy votes that the administrator might know about but we don’t, and there is the issue of whether it was itemised in the agenda too, because if it was not, then no vote can legally be taken anyway. I’m afraid you really will need to check the specific details of the situation with your administrators.

  95. Thank you Janet. I know it is complicated.
    66% of our owners were present or represented, so I’m reading it that it is 3/5 of those numbers,
    I have emailed Rene to see if he can answer my question.
    Thanks again,


  96. Sharon I have some personal experience of this, I can’t remember the exact wording of the law of horizontal but basically you won the vote at the meeting 19-10 which is a majority. If 3/5s of the complex are needed to approve then the other owners should be written to and “informed of the decision” made at the meeting (I believe that is the actual text in ley de propiedad horizontal)…. then the owners who were not present have the right to vote against the decision ….. and the ones who don’t reply count n favor of the decision made at the meeting .

    If you think about it logically it has to work that way, imagine if there’s 100 owners and only 10 ever turn up , they would never be able to make ANY decisions at all.

    For example even majority decisions , 10 is not more than half of 100 so theoretically you’d have to wait for 41 more owners to back simple majority decisions , and even more for the 3/5 decisions.

    Hope this helps

  97. Hi, I have been a president in our village for 10 months now, and the AGM is due on the 18th of March. Can you please help with the following questions.
    1. Can you please advise me of the voting procedure with respect to the president and committee.
    2. One of our owners is asking the committee to consider certification of the accounts produced by the Administrator, I am sure I have read somewhere that the Administrator is fully qualified and that if any individual requires an audit then they have to gat a group of owners together to pay for same, what is correct.

  98. Author

    The procedure is that the election of the president is a required item on the annual general meeting’s agenda, and whoever wishes to stand for president does so and the community votes: the one with most votes is elected. The community approves accounts or not depending on what is presented to the general meeting. The accounts are produced by the administrator, who will either be a professional qualified administrator or an owner, who does not need to be qualified. There is no requirement for an audit, though a community could commission one if desired.

  99. Hi, our administrator is well qualified, some of the community want an audit and some don’t how does that work?

  100. Author

    the community will have to vote in the general meeting on whether it accepts the accounts or not, or if the accounts should be externally audited.

  101. A professional external audit may cost several thousand pounds – we had one a couple of years ago cost nearly €4k !

  102. Author

    and ultimately, the community’s accounts are drawn up by the administrator selected by the community, and then approved by the community itself. It’s hard to see why an external audit is required. If the administrator is not trusted, then for me it’s more prudent and productive to elect a different administrator rather than have the accounts audited. Administrators, like presidents, must be elected or re-elected each year.

  103. Hi. I eecently viewed our comunity website and they have published a surveillance report from the pool attendant from last summer. The report is very damning and makes megative reference to individuals some are named others are identified by writing their house numbers. A lot of what is mentioned in the report is factually wrong and one sided. We were not informed of this report before it was published and there is reference to out family by house number and our behaviour when we were not even in spain at the alleged time. My question is should the website administrator have published this report without our consent or being given a chance to point out the incorrect facts? can the committee allow the attendant to publish such defaming material where he names people by first name house and nationality. Is there any law about what material can be posted about an individual on the website.

  104. Author

    This is a question that requires a qualified lawyer or administrator to answer, I’m afraid. More generally, however, this is something to put on the agenda of the next AGM, or even call an EGM about if others are affected and you can get 25% of the community to support your call for an emergency meeting.

  105. Hi Janet, a very helpful and interesting site.
    Not sure if you can help.
    I am the outgoing president of a complex, after the meeting I asked the administrator to be able to view the proxy vote forms and to see the allocation of the voting for each item on the agenda this has been denied.
    The meetings are waiting to be signed off which I said I will do once I had viewed the above, in LPH it states the voting should be included in the minutes but are not, this I have pointed out, all he has said it did not happen at the last meeting.
    Have I any rights to see these items.
    Kind regards

  106. Author

    I believe so, John, but I am not a qualified administrator so my best advice is to seek clarification from a different administrator.

  107. My understanding , from a previous AGM argument ,is that the proxies should be available at AGM for anyone to inspect their validity and subsequently can be examined at Administrator !
    Our Presiden/Administrator was caught out when he didn´t bring them to meeting and had to go and get them before AGM could start or relinquish them !

  108. Hi. I am the president of a building with 68 apartments. I have been functioning for almost one year. Unfortunately the previous administrators of 10+ years did little to ensure good maintenance of our building. As such, since the new administrator and I have been involved, several major issues have surfaced. The pool has had to be closed as it basically was emptying itself (for years the pool was simply being topped up on a daily basis rather than address why and where the water was going), the solarium area is unsafe (due to a disastrous resurfacing job ) A new lift is about to be installed, together with disabled ramps to the rest of the building. To be honest, there are too many issues to list them all. Most of which have serious health and safety concerns.

    These items have been raised at both an AGM and EGM. I am losing sleep with worry that if anyone is hurt, I, as President, will be held responsible ! Is this the case? I have read through your previous responses and will be procuring my own public liability insurance.

    When I was voted as President, I did not put myself forward for this position. In fact, I did not want it. However, I thought, in my naivety, that perhaps I could help. I was not aware of all of the issues, as they had not been itemised on any other Agenda.

  109. Author

    The administrator should be able to confirm that your community has the requisite public liability insurance, and it is good that you yourself will be getting your own too. If these are both in place, and you could show evidence if ever required that you have always acted legally and in good faith then it is hard to see how you could suffer any adverse consequences.

  110. Hi Janet, our president and administrator want the community of owners to buy locales within out complex, i.e. Pool Bar, Restaurant etc. is this legal?

  111. Author

    As with all “is it legal” questions the actual question can be rather different. Can a comunidad de propietarios own something? Yes. Is it a legal body recognized for land registry purposes? Not necessarily. There are instances where a land registry has refused to enter the ownership (after the President of the community signed on the community’s behalf to buy a unit within the complex) on the grounds that the comunidad was not a “personalidad jurídica”. And yet a notary had signed off an escritura for the purchase. I would advise your community to seek qualified legal advice in addition to whatever the president and administrator are suggesting.

  112. Hi Janet
    Can you confirm that spanish law prohibits commercial activities on a residential complex?
    Washing machines and tumble driers are going allday and into the night in one appartment whoose owner runs a care home.
    Other owners are concerned

  113. Author

    No-one may carry out commercial activities from a residential unit. What you’re describing is, in effect, “nuisance”, so you should complain to the president, and then in turn administrator, policia local, tax office, Guardia Civil … depending on which stage you get listened to.

    When you say that other owners are concerned too, however, then it becomes something the community should instruct the administrator to take action over.

  114. Hi Janet our water bills includes and percentage of the community used which is on top of our community fees.Can I bill the community for this or ask for a reduced in community fee ?

  115. Author

    Your community fee will be based on your percentage ownership, and the actual amount will have been agreed by the community when it approved the overall budget. That will include any individual owners’ contributions to communal water usage. If you disagree with this system, the appropriate way forward is for you to arrange to have it discussed at the next general meeting by asking the administrator to place the matter on the agenda.

  116. Janet
    Could you please clear up some confusion I have on proxy votes. I have been informed that a proxy form must be signed by the owner and voter be legal
    Also that the NIE is not valid on a proxy form as it is not a valid form of Id ( an NIE only means you are registered to pay taxes in Spain it does not imply fiscal residency) although DNI is valid for Spanish citizens a passport would be required by non Spanish.

  117. Author

    Different administrators run different systems. Some will accept a proxy given by a simple email, while others demand a specific form that they produce themselves to be filled out, signed and returned with varying types of supporting documentation (copy of passport, NIE) etc. All that is required is that administrator accepts the owner’s grant of proxy – and so the answer to what is required to grant a proxy vote is that it is whatever the administrator requires. This means that the scope for confusion is infinite, with any number of people having different experiences … and then blaming “Spain”.

    In terms of ID, NIEs are indeed not a form of ID: nothing is a form of ID unless it has a photo on it. Even then some banks won’t accept a Spanish driving licence, despite it being proof of complete acceptance of identity that incorporates a photo. Ultimately, the “requirement” is whatever is demanded by any particular system, or the person administering it.

    A DNI is a Spanish ID card – a formal identification document. For the British, who don’t have an ID card system, the equivalent is a passport. Please have a look HERE – first question on the page.

    Finally, a NIE doesn’t mean you’re registered to pay taxes – it’s just a certificate issued by the police to grant you a trackable number which is required for any official transaction.

  118. Hi Janet
    With regards to Charles post regarding commercial activities on a residential complex. We have a similar problems with Washing machines running all day the place looks like a Chinese laundry owners are complaining and we have been told these people are not paying taxes on the business they are running to make matter worse. My question is can you advise on how we report them to the tax authority I.e the address and can it be done anonymously for fear of retribution against the owners who make the complaint
    The owners are

  119. Author

    Denuncias cannot be made anonymously because they are an official public document which requires the initiator’s name on it, but the main tax office in south Tenerife is opposite the Green Hospital in Playa de las Américas.

  120. Hi Janet thanks for your assistance can you give us the postal address for the tax offices as a number of owners now want to write to tax office with their complaint.

  121. Author

    HERE is the Government’s website showing the different tax offices.

  122. We had a similar problem of commercial activity a few years ago. Neighbours complaing of what sounded like washing machines running all night and large deliveries at all times of the day.

    Turns out the deliveries were rice and soya beans and the noise was cooking them in washing machines ???

    I was vice president at the time and we had to initially get the administrators to write to them officially instructing them to cease and then get a court order for them to cease on penalty of the judge placing an embargo on the apartment and evicting them.

  123. I had given my proxy to someone else but was then able to attend the meeting, I was told that I could not speak at the meeting and that if I did all proxy votes would be disallowed. Is this true?

  124. Author

    That doesn’t sound remotely true to me. Could you have misunderstood that it would be your own proxy vote that would be disallowed if you were present in person.

  125. Thanks for your reply Janet. My proxy was allowed, even though I was present, as I did not speak. Is there a rule on attending a meeting even though you have given your proxy to someone else?

  126. Author

    no, the rule is one owner one representation and one vote.

  127. Dear Janet,
    Our President called an Egm and the main item was permission for a private pool in a garden when objections were raised by the neighbours the administrator said, as a precedent had already been set we could not refuse permission and therefore could not vote.

  128. Author

    Your administrator will almost certainly be right.

  129. Hi Janet
    I have just came back from AGM were I had request to change the rules on Sunbeds in the complex. I currently have a 2 bedroom apt. Yet all apt.s are allocated only 2 Sunbeds. 1 bedroom apt are allowed the same . Even thou 2 bedrooms pay 500 € plus per year . I feel it’s very unfair. I raised it again but was told I did this in 2015 so rules states it can’t be voted on again till 2020. You must wait 5 years. Surly. This can not be true. If everyone is in titled to the same benefits then why are we all not all paying the same. It cost a fortune if my grandkids come over.

    merged second question:
    I live on a residential complex and they charge visitors and residents for Sunbeds is this legal. As they run it as a business.

  130. Author

    The issue of sunbeds is an entirely internal one for the community to agree, and what is “fair” for any given community is for that community to decide and vote on. As to the five year ruling, however, ask them to show you where it says that.

    With regard to your second question, if the community has decided there is to be a charge for sunbeds then yes it’s legal.

  131. I am being asked ,on numerous occasions, by a particular owner for the list of debtors. In view of your answer above (quoted below) it seems that he is only entitled to this at the time of the AGM?
    As President can i assume ,as I have a duty to collect the community fees, that I am entitled to copies of the debtor list?

    The only time debtors can be announced and publicly displayed is in the call to an AGM, where they and the amount they owe have to be listed in order to determine who has a right to vote at that AGM. AGMs normally coincide with the end of communities’ financial years (different to the Spanish tax year which is always Jan-Dec), and so AGMs are when a community’s financial year closes and its accounts are signed off – inevitably, then, this is the only time that the community can determine who is actually “in arrears” in a legal sense. The list can only be published, in individual communication to owners and on the public notice board, at the call for an AGM. There are many communities, however, who forget to take such notices down so in effect they are they on display the whole year.

  132. Author

    yes, as president, of course you are! Speak to your administrator.

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