November 14, 2016 at 10:27 am #193557
We have an apartment in the Alicante region that we bought 2 years ago, we are just really starting to understand the ways of communities. Recently 2 contracts, one for cleaning of communal areas and one for pool cleaning were put out to tender and awarded. We were surprised to subsequently find out that no written specification had been provided to the contractors tendering. Is this normal practice? In my mind it leaves things wide open to interpretation and also puts residents in a position where we do not know exactly what is included and what is excluded from the contracts
November 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm #193560
I can give you a cynical view of how it works. Of course there are extremes in any community of how it is run, but with Spain having a general culture of corruption and passing of brown envelopes my description will fit a good few communities.
The president will probably be awarding contracts to those service companies that are giving him a payment in return for being awarded the contract. The actual specification or price of the contract is going to be irrelevant to who actually wins the contract. Of course your president may even be using companies owned/run by friends, friends of friends, family members etc.
In my (holiday home) community, in which I have owned for 13 years, I have looked over those years at the work done in the community. This work has not been limited to basic maintenance, far from it, the vast majority of the work has been adding additional and mostly unnecessary “improvements” to the complex. All of this undertaken over those crisis years when owners were struggling to pay their mortgages.
Without proof I came to the conclusion that the president was simply taking backhanders from all the work. He lived on the community permanently and was retired. About 4 or 5 years into ownership of my brand new apartment, we found out he was paying himself about 600 Euros a month to go around the complex and change light bulbs that had gone.
The community paid about 20,000 euros for the installation of air con in a community building on the complex, well actually it wasn’t a community building it was a meeting room/building actually owned by the developer and his family who had the major house on the complex. This was found out of course after we were denied use of it for our community meetings. I don’t think the president would have been too concerned about the fact that it wasn’t a community building when he might have pocketed 2000 Euros from the air con installer !!
The little projects we have paid for over those years have are too numerous to list and I probably don’t know 90% of them as I don’t live there, but they all scream out as totally unnecessary.
The other side of the coin is that the community administrators were invoicing the community and not providing receipts. Eventually there were replaced, but they ran the community for over 1o years. The total community fees a year from all residents are probably in the region of 300,000 Euros, so you can see if one person is largely controlling how this money is spent there is scope to take some “commissions”
Now having said all that, I simply pay around 70 Euros a month and the complex is clean and tidy and things get done, fixed etc. I am not criticising the system, it just how it is. Maybe my community fee could be 10 euros cheaper if the “commissions” were removed but I am sure the overall “maintenance” would decline. Life is too short to worry about these things especially when it is my holiday home and I visit infrequently.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by jp1.
November 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm #193563
Thanks for your reply I am aware that there is quite a high potential for corruption and actually feel that if this is the case it is the administrator who is most likely benefiting as apparently they organised the contracts.
In the case of our community it is not really a problem with excessive spending I just find it very hard to understand how anyone could be asked to quote without a specification, this puts all parties in a situation where things are wide open to interpretation.
There are a number of issues that can and will possibly arise, such as residents are not aware of exactly what is included and excluded therefore the ongoing quality of the services can not be easily monitored. If in the future there are deemed to be issues with the standard of services being provided it would be impossible without a specification to prove that the contractors were made fully aware of what was expected.
Other issues that could foreseeably arise due to the lack of specification are around:
- Working hours/weeks
- Cover for illness/holiday
- Insurance requirements
- Materials required to carry out the contract
- The arrangements for any emergency services provided
I have suggested that specifications are retrospectively drafted and agreed so that all residents and contractors have this information. This will ensure that everyone is completely aware of what is included in and excluded from the contracts.
I am sure we all know that corruption is not limited to other countries and indeed I believe it exists everywhere it is just more open and accepted in some countries.
Thanks again for your reply
- This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by paradisebranch.
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