The number of Spanish-homeowners in arrears on their community fees rose 31pc last year, according to new research from the Professional College of Property Administrators in Madrid. That means bigger bills for those who do pay.
The value of unpaid community fees rose to 1.3 billion Euros by the end of 2011, up from 1 billion a year earlier.
The outlook for 2012 doesn’t look any better. “There are no signs to expect any change in the trend, which means the total debt will rise to 1.6 billion euros at the end of this year,” said José Juan Muños, Director of the College.
Increasing non-payments are not the only problem that community administrators face. Community members that do pay their bills are taking longer than ever to do so, with the average payment time up to between 90 and 180 days. That makes it difficult for communities to pay their bills on time.
“These figures are a direct consequence of the economic situation, whose deterioration appears to have no end, which will only make the bad debts problem worse,” said Muñoz.
54pc of communities have reduced their budgets for 2012, whilst maintaining or raising community fees to cover the increasing level of bad debts. Owners who do pay the community fee end up paying for those who don’t.
22pc of owners in arrears are classified as “professional non-payers” – a cynical group with a history of nonpayment who are taking advantage of the situation. 12pc of those in arrears are banks and developers.