28 Mar 2019

Gran Canaria Property Help: What Is A Comunidad?

Published in Buyer tips, Legal & Tax

If you own a Gran Canaria property in a building or on a complex with multiple owners, you have to know about the Comunidad de Propietarios and how it works. 

What is the comunidad?

Every residential  building or complex in Gran Canaria has a comunidad de propietarios or community of owners, governed by rules set down in the Spanish Law “La Ley de Propiedad Horizontal”.   The comunidad exists to allow owners to decide on issues that affect them all. Things like the upkeep of community areas such as gardens, building maintenance and insurance, and social issues that affect cohabitation.

Who is in a comunidad?

All owners of property in a communal building are members of the comunidad. Each owner has a share of the comunidad depending on the square metres of their property in relation to the total size of the building or complex.  Every comunidad must have an elected president and a secretary and their job is to organise meetings, keep records of decisions, and handle all the paperwork and administration required by the comunidad. Many comunidades also appoint an administrator from a specialist company to handle their paperwork and admin.

What documents govern how a comunidad works?

Los Estatutos - The Statutes

Each comunidad has a set of statutes, some fixed by law and others decided by the members. The statutes are decided when the comunidad is formed by the owners and are often general rules common to many buildings.

El Acta de la JGO or JGE - The Minutes

This document contains all the decisions and votes taken in the general and extraordinary meetings. It is the official ledger of the Community of Owners.

Convocatoria y Orden del Dia de la JGO or JGE

This document is the agenda and convocatoria of a general or extraordinary meeting. It is sent to all members before a meeting. Each Owner can ask in writing to include a point to discuss or vote for in the meeting, for example, a new fence (for all decisions that cannot be decided by the president alone and needs a majority vote).

Meetings, extraordinary meetings and votes

Junta General de Propietarios - The regular annual Community of Owners Meeting

The annual general meeting covers a wide range of decisions such as voting of new rules, the approval of the annual accounts, the annual budget for the coming year, the election of board members, and the renovation or cancellation of maintenance contracts. These are discussed and voted on during the annual meeting. By law there has to be a minimum of one such meeting per year. Some decisions can be made by majority vote but any decision that changes the statutes of the comunidad must be made unanimously. Junta Extraordinaria de Propietarios - Extraordinary meetings If an urgent issue comes up, the president can call an extraordinary meeting at short notice.

What are the monthly comunidad fees and extraordinary commuity fees? 

Monthly fees Each property owner pays a monthly fee towards the expenses of the comunidad. The amount is chosen by the owners  and any owner who doesn’t pay them loses the right to vote at meetings. Extraordinary fees A comunidad can also decide by majority vote to levy an extraordinary fee known as a derrama if extra funds are needed for something like urgent maintenance. In most cases, comunidades in Gran Canaria are an effective way of running a communal property as they allow all owners to take part in decisions. As an owner, it is important to stay up-to-date with your communidad and the decisions it makes on your behalf.