Non-payment of community fees rises to record levels

Maintenance of pools and other communal facilities are paid out of community fees.
Maintenance of pools and other communal facilities are paid out of community fees.

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.

SPI Member Comments

Thoughts on “Non-payment of community fees rises to record levels

  • Dear Mark, I trust all’s well with you.

    Please excuse my shameless plug for my wife’s business operating on the Costa del Sol – but with your piece about Community Fees it seemed so appropriate.

    To the President of a Community of Owners,

    Dear Mr/Ms President,

    Was your idea when you ran for President of your Community of Owners to influence its policy and to maintain its quality for the good of all?

    Are you now hidebound by day to day time consuming drudgery of the “job” of being The President?

    We are confident that you could benefit from a truly bi-cultural service that can alleviate most of the stresses associated with your role as President.

    You’ll have heard that before? Experience has shown us that we wouldn’t blame you for being cynical. So just who can you trust?
    Do any of the following sound familiar?
    • Are the Administrators of your Community reactive, inefficient and un-commercial? Do they need a fresh and strategic direction?
    • Is your Community owed substantial sums in unpaid Community Fees? Who is actually collecting the debts owed by your neighbours?
    • Does the “too do” list just keep growing? Does it need rationalising?
    • Is your Community looking run down and tired? Does it need tidying up?
    • Are maintenance and repairs no longer being dealt as a priority? Would a diarised – and adhered to – maintenance schedule help?
    • Are your swimming pools illegal? If so, do you understand your personal – ex officio – liability for any accidents?
    • Are your team of gardeners and technicians not being properly driven and motivated? Does the mañana culture need a kick in the gracias!

    Start2Finish is a long established, highly professional and English run, multi-lingual and multi-disciplinary team who for nearly a decade have successfully assisted Presidents – usually non-Spanish nationals – of Communities based on the Costa del Sol.

    How do you know that you can trust Start2Finish? Because all of the above bullet points have been dealt with, managed and/or resolved by Start2Finish within the last month on behalf of existing clients.

    Please contact Andrea Wilkins on 0034 600 343 900 or at to discuss in more detail.

  • My community administrators for the pool area are one company, and then for the actual flats, it is another. And it’s true, those of us who are up-to-date with our community payments DO end up subsidising the others. Crazy!

    TIP: if you are in arrears, ask to see the Libro de Actos if you get a letter threatening you with being taken to juzgados. If there is no Libro de Actos, the threat is not worth the paper it is written on.

  • That maybe the case. The non payers are The Banks holding the embargoed properties, developers never paid their share for the unsold units . Many administrators book keeping is not upto scratch. Information is not provided despite of reminders and the only way to presseure them is to withold payments.

  • Sheila Paling says:

    The paying of the community tax has been around for a long time even before the troubles. We have had water damage to the ceiling outside our apartment and the intercom at our gate does not work. So if you needed a doctor in an emergency you would not be able to let them in without leaving the sick person and manually opening the gate.
    The administration have been advised over 5 years and yes we pay our dues every month on time. It seems to be down to money and yes they can build a play area for children?

  • Fee Recoveries says:

    Hi All
    Non payers of community fees are a continual problem because a lot of communities allow them to be a problem. As the ‘just wont pays’ hide in the UK, its not good shouting about it. Nor is it much good employing someone who clearly doesn’t do much.
    We are different from other companies…WE COLLECT and we are Bailiffs.
    Dont let your arrears be part of the 1.6 billion euro problem this 2012. Ring us and we will get you your money back…AT NO COST to your community
    Cheers Eoin UK Ops Director

  • These are interesting comments. We are the only firm of Solicitors, regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority,that I know of who speacialise in Community Fees debt collection. I would advide all Communities to be extremely careful about who they use to collect in their debts. Four clients of ours have had a very bad experience with a firm of Debt Collectors. In one case they claim that the Bailiff instructed by the Debt Collection Agency is refusing to hand over several thousand pounds that the debtor has apparently paid. The other problem with a DCA is that all they are allowed to do by law is ask for the debt to be paid. Only Solicitors can take legal proceedings in court and debtors who are switched on know this already.

Leave a Reply

Facebook Comments