Real case study – Asserting your rights in a community of owners

community of owners

As owners of property in Spain already know, many homes form part of a Community of Owners. As a result, they are bound to follow the rules set by the Community. However, on occasions, these regulations are disregarded and some owners find themselves victims of unfair discrimination. 

Over the years at Costaluz Lawyers, we have successfully defended clients who have needed to assert their rights in a Community of Owners. In this blog post, we describe one such case. 

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The particulars of the case involving our client 

Our client is the owner of an apartment belonging to a Community of Owners in southern Spain. Many apartments in the complex have terraces and one has installed ‘glass curtains’ to enclose its terrace space. 

Our client also has a terrace and like the other owner, wishes to enclose it using ‘glass curtains’ so that he can make maximum use of the space all year round. He has requested permission to do from the Administrator of the Community of Owners who has said that the matter must be decided at an ordinary or extraordinary meeting of the Community of Owners. 

As a result of the Administrator’s statement, our client will have to wait until the next annual Community of Owners meeting or the next extraordinary meeting, at no specified time in the future. He found this unacceptable and brought the case to us. 

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Our client’s legal position 

For us, this is a clear case of unfair discrimination since another owner has already installed ‘glass curtains’, thereby setting a precedent allowing their installation. We have written to the Administrator and Community of Owners arguing that because of this precedent, the Community cannot request a meeting to decide whether to grant our client permission. The precedent means that this permission is already tacitly given. 

We are currently in an out-of-court discussion with the Administrator and we are confident that he will see reason. However, if the Community of Owners continues to demand community approval for our client’s glass curtains, our advice will be to ask for planning permission from the local council and proceed with the installation. 

Spanish law behind our argument 

We have based our argument on criteria followed by Provincial Courts that oblige Communities of Owners to recognise the “previous and permitted existence (expressly or tacitly) of other similar building work or enclosures”. Numerous court rulings back up this argument. 

This doctrine expressly seeks to avoid unfair discrimination that “forces some owners to remove or demolish work or enclosures while allowing others to enjoy the use of similar installations”. 

Unfair discrimination in your Community of Owners? 

If you believe you’re a victim of unfair discrimination in your complex because your Community of Owners refuses you permission to do something another owner already has, get in touch with our legal team.

We are pioneers in Spain in defending our clients’ rights that start in their very own homes. After all, why shouldn’t you enclose your terrace with ‘glass curtains’ if other owners have been allowed to do so? We’ll keep you updated on the case. 

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