Legal advice by White-Baos Lawyers: Community of owners absolved after being sued by a neighbour

Legal advice by White-Baos Lawyers: Community of owners absolved after being sued by a neighbour

It is well known that communities of owners are quite often the source of disputes between neighbours. Loud music at inappropriate hours that interrupts the rest of others. Uncivil behaviour on the part of touristic lettings. High debts by neighbours who do not pay their community fees. High debts caused by neighbours who do not comply with the community payments. In today’s article, we analyse another common source of conflict: The works to be carried out on common elements, but of private use.

The case at hand began when the community of owners approves at a meeting the execution of rehabilitation works on the façades and terraces. One of the neighbours (with a terrace) did not agree and votes against. However, the agreement went ahead with the majorities required by law. The employees hired by the homeowner’s association started the works normally, but before they could finish them, the neighbour expelled them from the terrace; causing the works to remain uncompleted. Afterwards, this neighbour, on his own account, hired other workers to complete the rehabilitation. More than a year later, he sued the community of owners demanding payment of the bill.

The ruling of the Judge is clear, and addresses several important points:

  1. According to the Civil Code, the action was time-barred, since more than one year had elapsed between the work and the filing of the lawsuit.
  2. The agreements adopted by the community are binding for all homeowners. Even for those who vote against them. The appropriate course of acting, when a neighbour considers a community agreement to be detrimental to his rights or contrary to law, is to challenge it in court. Not to take unilateral action. In this case, the neighbour did not take legal action against the agreement, as he should have done.
  3. No one can act against his or her own previous behaviour. This is known in case law as the doctrine of “Actos propios”. The neighbour, by expelling the community workers from his terrace, and preventing them from completing the work, cannot subsequently demand that the community pays the bill for the repairs.

Having proved all the above during the trial, the judge dismissed the neighbour’s claim, exonerating the community, and imposing the legal costs on the plaintiff.

At White-Baos we have been advising homeowners’ associations on these types of disputes for over two decades. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We will study your case and offer you expert advice on this subject.

You may be interested in the following services and articles:

SPANISH REAL ESTATE LAW: Communities of Owners. Owners (bare owners) and Holders of the Usufruct: Who must pay the community fees? and who is entitled to attend and vote at the community meetings?

Community of owners/home owners associations: Exclusion or use cut off of common community services to owners / Neighbours not paying their community fees.

Community Debts and the liability of the new owners

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Written by

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

Lawyer Carlos Baos has been advising on variety of expat-related legal issues for years and weekly column offers free weekly insights.


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