Owning a home in Spain often means you will be part of what is known as a “Community of Owners” with rights and obligations related to the common areas and facilities enjoyed by owners, for example the shared gardens and pool of an apartment complex. A recent article at the Spanish property portal Idealista.com explains how to cut down community costs.
Adaptation and translation of an article published by Idealista.com
Community costs are proportional to surface areas and services contracted. Lighting for the stairway, lift maintenance, and cleaning of the entrance, are the minimal costs owners have to face. If the building has also got centralised heating, a concierge, or professional administrator, the costs go up considerably, not to mention if there’s a pool and gardens.
Almost in all cases, and regardless of the number of services, all bills can be reduced, though obviously the more items on the list, the higher the saving will be.
1. Electricity: all you need are sensors on all landings and to change the light bulbs to LED. Did you know that a LED lightbulb uses up to nine times less than halogen and lasts for many years longer?
2. Lift: savings of up to 15 per cent can be made depending on the maintenance company. Furthermore, if the block has several lifts, combining the emergency telephone lines can be a saving.
3. Administrator: if your community is small with few services or no contracted staff, it’s much cheaper for one of the owners to manage the administration. If you do need a professional, choose well. They should give you value for money (look for savings or apply for aid and grants before carrying out important work, for example) and their fees should be reasonable.
4. Repairs: If small ordinary repairs are par for the course in your community, it’s worth contracting a handyman or contracting a company offering general services. Cleaning companies usually offer this service as well.
5. Insurance: Why carry on paying for an expensive policy when you could have a cheaper one? Shopping around can lead to savings of up to 50 per cent, with the same cover.
6. Heating: centralised heating accounts for half of community budgets. Furthermore, you need to add electricity and maintenance costs. Unfortunately, there’s no real competition between fuel suppliers, but even so there are differences of up to 6 per cent in the price of oil. To give you an idea, if your community spends €50,000 a year in oil, choosing a cheaper supply could save you around €3,000.
Spanish Property Insight adapts and translates selected articles from the local press for the benefit of non-Spanish speakers.
This translation is based on the following article (in Spanish): Seis fórmulas para recortar gastos en tu comunidad de propietarios.