Property purchase: be aware of the community of owners’ fees


One of the most pressing issues when acquiring a property is learning about its status of debts, specifically those that may exist with the Community of Owners. It is not a minor issue, since, should these debts exist, the law provides for a direct liability regime for the purchaser, for which the estate itself is responsible.

The Horizontal Property Law establishes that the purchaser of a dwelling or premises in a horizontal property regime responds with the property purchased from the amounts owed to the Community of Owners for the support of general expenses by the previous owners, up to the limit of those attributable to the expired part of the annuity when the acquisition takes place, as well as up to the three previous natural years – in the case of Catalonia, the responsibility is extended to the four previous natural years.

However, although there is also an obligation on the part of the transferor to provide the certification on the state of debts with the Community -whether in compliance with the payment of its installments or relative to the amount of the existing debts -, also the law provides for the possibility that the purchaser exonerates the transferor of this obligation. And that is where the risk lies, for as this responsibility is defined, it is not only a personal responsibility, but the estate responds directly to this obligation. One must bear in mind that the fact of exempting the transferor from delivering the certification does not exclude in any case the possibility that the Community of Owners claims the outstanding debts that may exist -within the foreseen legal limit-.

This is why we stress the importance of not exonerating the transferor of the delivery of the certification of the state of debts, and confirm in advance the acquisition of a property that is up to date with the Community of Owners.

It will doubtlessly be the best way to escape a claim that we can not avoid. This certification must be signed by the Secretary of the Community and with the approval of the President, who will respond, in case of fault or negligence, for the accuracy of the data recorded in it and the damages caused by the delay in its issuance (The law states that must be delivered within a maximum period of seven calendar days from your request).