Communities of Owners are civilly liable for damages caused to third parties or even members of their own community. When these damages are derived from the malfunction of community owned items or where there has been negligence in the care of community property. In general, community property could be any of the following; antennas and communication systems, elevators, roof terraces, roofing, heating installations, enclosures of common areas, buildings or urbanizations, foundations, pipes and ducts, corridors, locks, external coverings, structures, (Article.396 CC, lists in particular pillars, beams, slabs, and weight bearing walls).
The regulations which govern Communities of Owners can be found in the Horizontal Property Law.
Communities of Owners must always maintain the guarantees and ensure that all common constructions and areas are in perfect condition. Article.10 of the Horizontal Property Law (LPH) establishes that the Community of Owners is obliged to carry out the necessary works to sustain the proper maintenance and conservation of the property and its services, so that it meets the necessary structural, habitability, accessibility, safety and security conditions.
If damage to a person or to a dwelling occurs as a result of neglect to maintain the common installations, areas, or property in perfect condition, the Community of owners can be held civilly responsible, but the Community President or administrator could also be directly or indirectly responsible. They are required by law to take the appropriate measures to ensure that no harm can occur to a third party by ensuring any urgent repair works, or maintenance is carried out immediately when there is evidence that the lack of maintenance could cause harm to a third party or dwelling.
If the Community of Owners does not comply with the obligations established in the Article.10 of the Horizontal Property Law (LPH) and damages do occur, we cite two cases to demonstrate the difference in claims depending on the affected party
- – If the affected party is an owner in the community and falls due to inadequate maintenance by the Community of Owners i.e. a broken tile or poorly preserved community entrance floor, or if damage is caused to their property due to a leaking community drainpipe, a leak from a community terrace, or a leak from a community façade, they should file a claim for damages against the Community based on Article. 10- LPH.
- – If the affected party is a third party, i.e. not an owner inside the community, the method of reclamation from the community is governed by different criteria and the period for a claim is limited to ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF THE DAMAGE OR INJURY.
Therefore, if you have problems with a Community of Owners, it is important to have an expert lawyer to advise you and manage your claim, to protect your rights and to be able to obtain full compensation for the damages caused. Do not forget to contact Marbellasolicitors, with offices throughout the Costa del Sol and with more than 15 years of experience legal advice to clients.