How to setup a Comunidad de Propietarios (Community of Property Owners).

The global trend in property as towns grow, has turned many villas or individual houses into apartment blocks of all sizes; and many farming lands are converted into larger urbanizations housing private villas. Many of these apartment blocks are no more than 4 to 10 owners and vary from 2 to 5 floors. In Spain in many cases all the owners agree with their shares of the cleaning and maintenance and as such it is not always necessary to register the entity as a “Community of Property Owners” (Comunidad de Propietarios). However it is always advisable to setup a Comunidad de Propietarios so as to provide a better managed and recorded history of the property and allow future owners to have a better understanding of how the community has developed in the past and provide better integration into their new neighbourhood.
In order to constitute a Community of Owners, the estate must consist of individual flats which are owned by different people and must have a horizontal property constitutional title deeds. This title deed is registered at the Property Registry office (Registro de la Propiedad) and has a full description of the property with all the individual flats or houses, including the respective coefficient quota of each property with respect to the whole land which should always sum upto 100%. Community fees are often based on the participation of this quota share. In some cases the title deed also defines the rules of each community. The absence of this document does not mean that you do not or cannot have a community of property owners and you can always apply the horizontal property of law for any issues that may arise between owners within the same block.
To setup a Community of Owners you must first obtain the horizontal property constitutional title deeds from the Property Registry Office where it was registered. You will then to obtain a “Community Meeting Book” (Libro de Acta) and have it stamped at the Property Registry Office. Finally you also need a CIF number which can be obtained from the tax office (Hacienda). However before you can get your CIF number you must first call a meeting and select a President and an administrator for the duration of 1 year. The president can be elected or if no one stands for this job then you will have to a draw from a list of all owners. The president can also be selected to do the administration job or a private administration company can be hired for and on behalf of the president and the community.
Once you have held your meeting you can proceed to any tax office where you will have to fill in a special form (impreso censal) that has to be signed by the president, along with the original of the first community meeting minutes (Acta Junto General), a copy of the first page of the meeting and a copy of the ID card of the president (NIE or DNI).
At this point you have now constituted a legal entity known as a “Community of Properties”.
It is common that in the first meeting you must also approve a budget for general maintenance costs, for example lift, electricity, cleaning and any other thing that creates a cost for the community including that of the maintenance of the community books and affairs by an administrator. It is also required to you set aside a reserve fund. Finally you must approve and authorize the president to open a bank account and appoint him to change the water, electricity and the various contracts into the community name and have them direct debited to the community bank account.
All other issues can be discussed at these community meetings, be them General, Extra Ordinary or Annual. All meetings must precede with an agenda and order to allow owners to review and participate in all the decisions that affect their property relevant to their property coefficient.

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