Silvana thanked everyone for attending. With her was a lady called Ana who is a lawyer to answer any questions which Silvana was unable to answer.
Since taking up her role as Councillor for Camposol, she has been finding out as much as she can from local government, solicitors etc in relation to our current situation in Camposol.
She advised that we, as an urbanisation, are in a position which few have been made aware of. Some people do have an idea but many do not.
As we live in an urbanisation, this urbanisation, in keeping with others in Spain, is made up of Poligonos (parcels or plots of land) This is where the description of where your house is situated comes from. E.g. D7, RE2, C16 etc etc. These poligonos are set by the developer when they purchased the land. Each Poligono has a main road surrounding it. The internal roads, which connect to the main roads within each Poligono are private. The Town Hall is responsible for the upkeep of the main public roads.
When Masa purchased the ground, they provided a master escritura for each block, this was lodged with the Registry of properties in Mazarron. As they built within each specific plot they then had to provide an escritura for each individual property. This individual escritura was copied from the master escritura.
The Town Hall is responsible for maintaining the main or public roads which surround each Poligono, the linking or dividing roads within each Poligono are private and each house owner’s escritura shows which roads are Public.
Silvana explained that many of the owners on Camposol were not informed of this at the time of purchase. People were not informed if they were purchasing on a private or a public road nor of the resulting obligations placed on each of the owners. We should have had our obligations explained to us at the time of purchase. Silvana acknowledges the fact that in this respect the owners have been done. There has been a great deal of corruption, we have all been handed a pretty horrendous deal. There are many who should have explained the situation but did not, including Developers, estate agents, solicitors etc. The council also should have done more.
Difference between a Community of Owners and an Entity
Some people have the words Community of Owners within their escritura, others have the word Entity. A community of owners is normal in Spain. Each escritura has a cuota mentioned within it, that is to say the percentage of the total community charge payable by each property within a Poligono. Normally an Entity is for bigger projects eg shared responsibility for say a cycle track on A sector but which everyone from every sector would have access. The other sector’s may say they are not paying to maintain this track as it is on A sector, however an Entity could then be set up to ensure each sector upheld its responsibilities.
However, all this aside, we must all be responsible for what we have each signed up to and whether we were aware or not we have in each escritura the fact that the urbanisation will work along the lines of a Community of Owners for each Poligono.
Silvana reiterated that she is on our side.
Normal practice is that the Developer buys a plot, or multiple plots to build an urbanisation. They then approach the Council, Council says to the Developer, in compensation for granting planning permission and to negate any cost to the Council the developer must build the main access roads and service infrastructure, the internal plots or poligonos are then free for the construction and sale of house and interior roads subject to planning permission, the developer then advise the Council how many, put this into a Master Escritura for individual poligonos and register this in the Registry of Properties. Each Poligono is then registered, three architects then should have inspected each and signed the Fin de Obras. When the council receive this document they should then supply basic Water/Electricity. When we as owners then purchase we take on responsibility for the Water/Electricity. The Council at that stage should give a Certificate of Habitation which says that the owner can now move into their house. This was not done in all cases in Camposol. The biggest mistake we as owners made was signing our escritura when the full process was not followed and we did not have our Certificates of Habitation. Irrespective of this though, we have signed them which makes us liable to the obligations within each escritura.
Of course we can take it to court. However, having signed it, there would be no case to answer, whether or not we were aware of these obligations at the time. By signing our escrituras we have accepted the situation. Many of us within each Poligono live on the public roads, however we will still have to contribute as the Poligono is taken as a whole and must as a whole fulfil its obligations.
Gentleman from the audience asked Silvana about a meeting with the current Mayor when he said in his manifesto that he would seek public funding from the Region/Government in order to assist with the things which are wrong in the urbanisation.
Silvana advised that there are routes to follow to bring those who have done us wrong to justice but the fact remains that we have inherited a massive disaster. We are living in it. However we need to make the best of our situation and move forward. We have a big problem which each of us bought into. Many of us know what we should do to get those responsible brought to justice. Everyone has the choice whether or not to pursue this. She is not saying that we should do this, in fact she is not telling people they have to do anything. She is pointing out the reality which is that we live in an urbanisation which has both private and public roads. Should the local council take responsibility for maintaining the private roads they could be charged with the misappropriation of public funds. The local council will take responsibility for the public roads. Our only choice is to move forward. It is open to each of us to pursue the wrongs but we must do so whilst being aware of the reality and the facts.
The community of owners has not yet been triggered within the majority of Camposol. There are some already started on Sector C. They pay a community fee for maintaining their private roads. This community fee is worked out by an Administrator. Each community of owners has to have a President, Secretary and an Administrator. The costings for each community of owners will be worked out by the administrator and will be apportioned to each owner using the Cuota mentioned within each individual’s escritura.
Someone from the audience asked if she could give an idea of costings to each individual owner and also if the poligonos would be finished to an acceptable standard before the community of owners inherited the poligonos. Silvana explained again that the council is not responsible for the completion of everything within a poligono but simply for the roads surrounding it. Everything else is the responsibility of the Developer. In our case the Developer is bankrupt. She acknowledged the fact that the council should never have issued the Fin de Obra. Equally though, none of the owners should have gone to live in their houses without the Certificate of Habitation having been issued. By doing so we are deemed to have accepted our responsibilities. That is the reality. Silvana advised that she had asked about the question of costs to each individual in relation to her own property. She was advised that as a rule of thumb she could expect to pay between 40 to 60 euros per quarter. There would be an initial start up cost for triggering the Community of Owners of approximately 100 euros per household. Nobody is being forced into this. We could leave things as they are, deteriorating, or we could move forward, set up each Community of Owners and embrace our responsibilities as owners having signed up to this in each escritura.
Once the Community of Owners is activated, every house owner in the Poligono MUST pay the agreed fees. In the case of abandoned properties, the owner/s will be traced and will be contacted by the Administrator (a house owner can be a person or a bank, in the case of a repossession). The Administrator will issue the appropriate requests/demands in writing. Failure to pay may result in embargos put onto the property and in extreme cases the property may be sold at auction to recover the debt.
Silvana advised that the local council have agreed to give Camposol it’s own budget next year. It will be up to the Communities of Owners to repair or make good things which are not good now.
A member of the audience brought up about the ruling from the Defensor Del Pueblo in relation to A sector a few years ago. He advised that the council’s own lawyers had accepted the responsibility for the whole of Camposol until it was finished. Silvana advised that the Defensor Del Pueblo can only make recommendations. Silvana has a copy of the original report and that at that particular point the original developer had not been dismissed. The council had replied to the Defensor Del Pueblo on 3rd Feb 2011 admitting to the things which were wrong but not admitting liability. On the last page of the council’s reply they offered to meet with the association which had taken the matter to the Defensor Del Pueblo but this was not followed up. Nothing else was done. The association who brought the matter to the Defensor Del Pueblo got halfway there but never followed through.
Silvana, together with help from the political party she now represents, took the matter to the Public Prosecutor in Murcia. The Public Prosecutor then rejected it as it was outwith the statute of limitations on the time given to bring the matter forward. She then went back to the Defensor Del Pueblo, who said they could not interfere or go against the decision of the Public Prosecutor of Murcia. Silvana then took it to the Public Prosecutor in Madrid, who subsequently agreed with the Public Prosecutor in Murcia.
Silvana then decided to join the council and seek out the full truth. This is what she is presenting to the audience today.
It is up to each of us as owners to improve and maintain our urbanisation. The Chief Architect said that 18/20 years ago it was deteriorating, it is now deteriorating fast. It is not up to the council to fix it. It is up to us as owners. Everyone must make up their own minds. Carry on living as we are and watch the place deteriorate further or embrace our obligation to set up Communities of Owners and move forward.
Someone asked how we take it forward. If you are considering setting up a Community of Owners in your Poligono, you can contact Silvana on 629.963.276 for advice, or send her a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact the lawyer who was present at the meeting (Ana Onate, tel. 670.222.818) for advice, or you can find a lawyer of your choice. Each Poligono must approach a lawyer and get their community of owners set up. All that is required in order to trigger off the setting up of a community of owners in any Poligono is one owner. There will then be a meeting when a President/Secretary and Administrator is appointed. Several Poligonos can work together if desired with the same Administrator but each poligono must retain its integrity to conform with its Master Deed and Cuota calculation. The Administrator will set up a bank account and will deal with all the issues relevant to the Poligono. Each property will pay a percentage of the community fee depending upon their cuota within their escritura. The community fees are administered by the Administrator and do not go to the council under any circumstances.