Healthplan Spain


Do You Have To Pay Community Fees In Spain If You Rent? Expat Tips

Community fees in Spain or ‘gastos de communidad’ usually refer to the fees paid by property owners in a residential community or development. These fees are used to cover the maintenance and management costs of shared facilities and common areas within the community. Common areas might include things like swimming pools, gardens, elevators, parking lots, and the general upkeep of the building's exterior.

The specific costs and services covered by community fees can vary widely depending on the property and the community itself. The fees are typically collected by a homeowners' association or community management entity.

How are they set?

In Spain, community fees are decided by a group called the "community of owners," or “la comunidad de propietarios”. This group includes everyone who owns a property in a specific building or complex. They're in charge of looking after shared areas in the property like the outside of the building, the roof, the stairs, the elevator, the pool, and the gardens.

These fees are usually figured out through a vote during a meeting of all the property owners. They have this meeting at least once a year. The amount of money each person pays depends on how much it costs to keep the shared areas nice and to provide services like security, cleaning, and maintenance. The money is divided among the owners based on how big their property is or how much of the shared areas they own.

Sometimes, the community fees also include a special fund. This fund is like a savings account that's used for unexpected fixes or improvements to the property. The amount of money saved in this fund is usually worked out based on how old the property is and how much fixing and taking care of it might cost in the future.

What does the law say?

To understand what Spanish law says about community fees, we need to look at two laws: the Urban Leasing Law (LAU) and the Horizontal Property Law (LPH).

According to Article 20 of the Urban Leasing Law (LAU), general expenses for property upkeep, services, taxes, and charges that can't be individually assigned are typically paid by the tenant. This means tenants usually cover community fees.

However, real-life situations often differ from the letter of the law. The vast majority of rental contracts do not follow this rule.

The Rental Contract

Even though the law provides a general idea, reality can be different. Often, it's not the tenant paying these fees, depending on the rental contract. For short-term rentals in Spain, owners often handle community fees.

That's why it's crucial, especially for non-native speakers, to read every detail of a rental contract before signing.

An agreement about community fees must be in writing, stating the tenant's responsibility. It's not enough to say "tenant pays community fees"—the contract should specify which fees and the amount.

If both parties don't sign the agreement, the owner has to pay the fees.

Some situations might raise questions beyond the contract, like building renovations. According to the Horizontal Property Law, these costs usually fall on the property owner, unless the contract explicitly says otherwise.

So, Do You Have to Pay Community Fees?

While landlords can technically pass on basic community fees to tenants, most rental contracts make landlords responsible. For major property works, the landlord must pay; they can't pass these to the tenant.

Always make sure that you read your contract carefully and consult a lawyer if you are in any doubt.

Learn more about community fees in Spain.