Community Advice

Information and questions about the Law in Spain and Andalucia.
onlinelee
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Community Advice

Postby onlinelee » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:03 pm

I own a property on a small community of just 6 detached houses. Around 10 years ago one of the British owners disappeared and failed to pay their community charge. The president had keys and unilaterally decided to rent the property to a friend as a permanent holiday home solely to cover the community charges. The presidents friend has maintained the property, he also made some structural modifications/improvements. The president had promised his friend should the owner reappear then he would be refunded his expenses from the owner. Whilst this is common knowledge amongst the owners, none of this has ever been recorded in the communities AGM minutes or its accounts.

2 years ago the owner was found by one of the other owners and informed of the situation but has since failed to contact the community.
Now this same president would like to stand down and has asked me to take over.

Should I accept the presidency role, I believe I am automatically complicit, even though I bought my house only 4 years ago. Therefore I would become legally responsible in some way come the inevitable day of reckoning, possibly when he was no longer around. If you agree that I am correct not to accept the presidency could I become vice or accept some other informal role?

I guess all of this is just kicking the can down the road, one day the community as a whole has to face this problem by denouncing it
or having the owner take responsibility for it, apparently the owner already lost one other property locally. Your views on all of this would be very much appreciated, thanx in advance - this could only happen in Spain, right???
Last edited by onlinelee on Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Miro
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Re: Community Advice

Postby Miro » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:47 pm

My opinion on this situation is the same as when you posted about this a couple of years ago: the person who decided to appropriate this unoccupied property for his own use (albeit, as you say, not to profit but only to cover the outstanding community fees) did so on his own behest. The fact that this same person happens to be the president seems largely irrelevant to me. It appears it was not a community decision (just as well, since it was almost certainly illegal!) and therefore I can't really see how you could become complicit/liable.
The only dilemna facing you if you accept the role of president, as I see it, is whether to turn a blind eye and just be happy that the community is at least receiving payment of the due fees for this property, or to start legal proceedings against the owner through the courts, with a view to getting an embargo on the property, ultimately to sell it in order for the community to recover the fees that have gone unpaid by the actual owner. That could be opening a can of worms - I have no idea if the "tennant" now has squatter's rights, and if the community accounts show that the fees for the property have been paid (regardless of by whom) the courts may not be interested.

It would be interesting to know others' opinions though!
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.

onlinelee
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Re: Community Advice

Postby onlinelee » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:33 pm

Thanx Miro,

now you know the full story, and appreciate your time and comments. I would appreciate further comments from members
with a strong background in community issues, even though I accept my issue is a real odd ball!!

katy
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Re: Community Advice

Postby katy » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:46 pm

Agree with Miro. The only way to do it is through the courts and even they are very reluctant to give the community possession of the house. Don't know about squatters rights but in the circumstances it may not be considered. Our community always had a legal adviser present at meetings. Only you can decide but if I were a member of the Community I would have brought it up at meetings. A strange situation. Sitting on a community committee is something I would avoid.

wollie
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Re: Community Advice

Postby wollie » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:19 am

I personally would not touch this one, it seems to me there is collusion by the president and his friend in this one.
I am expecting that the president and the community has broken the law by renting a property that does not belong to him.
Who actually owns the property?
I expect if the bank owned it would have being re-posessed as you said this is going on for several years.
In my view this can only end in a bad way, on the other hand it may be a good time to clarify what is going on and to clarify the situation
before the president leaves their position.
This whole situation seems very strange to me and i suspect there is something going on and the president wants out.

maureenscot
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Re: Community Advice

Postby maureenscot » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:45 am

If the owner has already lost a property he may be skint and not worth persuing. If he was bankrupt, the house would probably have been seized. Very odd one. If the person who found the owner knows where he is then the community could write to him. He could then do a formal contract with the guy who has 'taken over' his house. Whether the fees have been paid. or the house has been maintained or not, the 'tenant' has no security of tenure. The only thing the community can do is discuss the matter openly and take legal advice. This elephant in the room has to be sorted out legally and then you may be able to talk about taking over presidency.

Miro
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Re: Community Advice

Postby Miro » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:11 pm

Maybe I'm missing something, but I still can't really figure out what this situation has to do with the community. The other owners are not involved in the arrangement between these two mates (neither is the actual owner of the property in question, obviously)
Meanwhile someone is paying the community fees for the property, and assuming that the "tennant" is not infringeing on any other owners' rights or otherwise disturbing the community, I see no reason to get involved. It's not right, of course - but it's a private matter surely?
The only thing I am wondering is, perhaps there's a suggestion that the "tennant" will stop paying the fees when his mate is no longer the president? If that's the worry, then I can understand why you wouldn't want to take on the presidency - as it will then fall to you to initiate legal proceedings against the absent owner, which could take years & incur legal fees along the way. In that case, very long barge poles come to mind...
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.

wollie
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Re: Community Advice

Postby wollie » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:46 pm

The arrangement between the president and the "tennant?" too cozy for my way of thinking.
Google below...

ricorabogados.com/.../legal-requirements-for-an-adverse-possession-claim-to-real-esta.
.

Miro
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Re: Community Advice

Postby Miro » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:00 pm

The article refers to "adverse possession", which is probably more akin to what I was thinking of previously when I mentioned squatters' rights.

Interesting - but I still fail to see what this situation has to do with the community. The community is neither the legal owner of the property, or using the property as if it belonged to them. It would be interesting to know if anybody is paying the IBI. But even if they are, it doesn't mean the local council is involved or in some way complicit with the situation - so why would the community be? And presumably, the "tennant" is paying for the utilities?....
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.

maureenscot
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Re: Community Advice

Postby maureenscot » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:58 pm

Barge pole right enough

User avatar
costakid
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Re: Community Advice

Postby costakid » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:48 am

If you or anyone else knows where the owner is why hasnt he been approached about renting the property from him. He is getting nothing at the moment so may be really reasonable about renting it to the squatting friend of the president.

onlinelee
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Re: Community Advice

Postby onlinelee » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:40 pm

Miro wrote:The only thing I am wondering is, perhaps there's a suggestion that the "tennant" will stop paying the fees when his mate is no longer the president? If that's the worry, then I can understand why you wouldn't want to take on the presidency - as it will then fall to you to initiate legal proceedings against the absent owner, which could take years & incur legal fees along the way. In that case, very long barge poles come to mind...


Miro, I accept this is a totally odd situation, the friend of the President has sole yearly use of a 3 bed detached beach front house in Mojacar valued at around 250k, he & his wife use the house for about 3 months per year, they pay electric and water, the community fees are 141€ per month - the IBI has not been paid in over 10 years as I understand it. As I said before the owner was made aware of this 2 years ago and has failed to appoint a local agent, her last one died, this was how we ended up where we are. The correct long term rental would be more like 700€ per month so clearly its not in the friends or the presidents interests to pursue the owner. Prior to the death of the agent the owner had been letting the house for over 20 years, I wonder if she does in fact owe a huge amount of personal tax in addition to IBI etc, thats why she also lost the other house local to here a few years back. I have informed the president that he has in fact tied himself to the presidency as I think its unlikely anyone else on our small community would want to take the role for possible legal proceedings in the future, unless we found a way to quickly denounce as soon as he stood down. So, options as I see it are sit back and wait until something happens, then let some community debt build up then denounce it or let the president stand down, let some debt build up and denounce it, or informally ask the president to personally contact the owner to try and resolve the issue?
Last edited by onlinelee on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

onlinelee
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Re: Community Advice

Postby onlinelee » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:51 pm

wollie wrote:In my view this can only end in a bad way, on the other hand it may be a good time to clarify what is going on and to clarify the situation
before the president leaves their position.
This whole situation seems very strange to me and i suspect there is something going on and the president wants out.



I agree, but who is it going to end badly for? The other 4 owners and I are not complicit in this to date, nothing has been recorded anywhere ( apart from here!!!! - I will be deleting this whole post shortly:-) ) This " friend " is just a squatter as far as I am concerned! My question was, would it end up badly for me should I take up the presidency, as once I accept the role if I did not take action to denounce I would automatically be complicit! Maybe Im being naive but I don't think he wants to stand down because the sh*t is about to hit the fan, he is just tired of all the flak. He will stay on if there is no alternative but the way I see it, this is just kicking the can down the road!

Miro
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Re: Community Advice

Postby Miro » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:15 pm

If he is "just tired of all the flak", perhaps that's as good a reason as any to swerve the job if you can! Being president (even, and in some ways esepcially, in a small community) is a thankless task. However, I'll say it again, this unusual arrangement between the current president and his friend has nothing whatsoever to do with the community or the presidency. I just can't see how the actual owner could take legal steps against the community for something that was never a community action. That simply doesn't make sense.
I'm very surprised, if it's true that the IBI hasn't been paid in 10 years, that the local authorities have not already taken legal steps to embargo the property and recover the debt. That's even more unusual!
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.


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