WE receive many inquiries from clients and readers who have problems with the co-owners of their properties in Spain.
Usually it happens with condominiums where several people own homes or business premises, after an inheritance, divorce, separation, and the relationship between them has broken down.
In such a situation it often turns out that one of the owners refuses to allow the rest of the owners to use the property and uses it exclusively for themselves.
We have already seen in previous articles that there is a legal possibility of forcing the sale of a property held in common under Spanish law in a public auction if the co-owners are unable to enter into a mutually acceptable agreement.
In today’s article we are going to analyze what an owner can do if they refused use of the common property or condominium by one or more of the co-owners.
When a person owns with other people a real estate asset, they form a legal community, and according to the Spanish Civil Code ( Cc), and more specifically Article 394, each of the owners has the right to use the common property and must allow the rest also to use, according to the right that they have. This article states:
Each co-owner can use the common property, provided that they use it according to their rights and in a way that does not harm the interest of the community, nor impede the rest of the co-owners to use it according to their right.
Therefore, if a property belongs to three owners and each of them owns 33.33 per cent, if one of them takes exclusive control of the property without letting the others use it according to their right and percentage of ownership, the ones excluded could claim the following:
To be allowed to use the property according to their percentage ownership right, usually by means of an agreed shift.
If the co-owner denies them access and use those affected can also claim for economic compensation for the breach of article 394 Cc indicated, since the co-owner is prevented from using the property in accordance with their rights.
It is essential in these cases, that the other party is formally requested to allow access and use of the property by the other owners, so that at a later stage they will not be able to claim that the co-owners had not agreed that the property could be used solely by the occupant.
If financial compensation is claimed, it should be established what the market rent should be for that that property by obtaining an expert report backed by confirmation several real estate agents who know the area and the market, with the aim of being able to quantify the value of compensation to be claimed.
Therefore, if you are a co-owner of one or several properties in Spain, with one or more owners, and if you cannot not reach an agreement on the use of the common property (condominium) , or they simply do not allow you to use it, you must know that you are legally entitled to claim for the use of the property in proportion to your rights over it and if applicable, request compensation if they do not allow you to use it.
If you or someone you know is in this situation, contact us and we will help you.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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