If we are co-owners of a property together with another person, Is it possible to claim expenses from the co-owner in relation to the maintenance of the property? The answer is yes. Yes, it is possible, and in today’s article we will explain how it can be done. We will focus on the case of co-ownership of a property, in which one of the two co-owners never faced any of the expenses. Our law firm has had the opportunity to advise clients on this type of matter and we explain in this article the key points to take into account.
1. Obligation of the co-owners to assume the expenses for the maintenance of the property
The Spanish Civil Code stipulates that the charges of property will be borne by each co-owner in proportion to their share. In the same way it works with the benefits: each co-owner will participate in the benefits in proportion to the quota that has.
Therefore, if we share 75 per cent co-ownership of a property with another person, we will have to bear 75 per cent of the expenses. And the other co-owner will be responsible for the remaining 25 per cent. Likewise, we will enjoy 75 per cent of the benefits, and the other co-owner of 25 per cent of these.
2. Possibility to force the co-owner to contribute to the expenses of the co-ownership
So, what happens if I am the only one who is paying the costs of the jointly owned property? In this case, we may oblige the other co-owner to contribute to the co-ownership maintenance costs.
This action is known as a co-owner reimbursement action.
3. Deadline to start the legal action
It is important to note that timing in legal claims is crucial. Some claims cannot be pursued indefinitely; there is limited time to file for the petition.
The co-owner reimbursement action expires after five years, counting from when the obligation could be claimed for.
Let’s take an example: we have been paying exclusively all the expenses of the real estate co-ownership since 2001. I have never claimed anything from the other co-owner until today 2021.
We can only claim from 2016.
4. What expenses can we include in the claim?
Regarding expenses, those that can be claimed are:
– costs of conservation / maintenance of the property
– if they are individual and individualizable, and ordinary,
– and always expenses inherent to the property.
Certainly, deciding whether an expense is conservation or not, and whether it is also ordinary or extraordinary, requires a detailed study of each case.
However, there are some very clear expenses that can be included in the claim to the co-owner, such as: mortgage expenses, property insurance, local taxes …
5.-Electricity, water and gas expenses: jurisprudence
Some clients ask us if it is possible to claim from the co-owner the utility costs (water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet, etc).
The answer will depend to a large extent on the criteria of the courts, and there are different jurisprudential trends. Some courts accept the right to claim for the costs of supplies.
Other courts understand that payments for water and electricity must be paid, for those who use the property. Thus, if we want to claim the expenses, but we have been enjoying the property exclusively, the supply costs would not be awarded.
If you are considering claiming expenses from the co-owner, we can provide legal advice. Contact Us
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys information relating to legal matters.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos.
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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