Applicable Law

1. In your national system, do you have an arrangement which broadly follows that description? If so, what is it called in your language(s)? Please describe it in this factsheet.

Spanish Law does govern condominium or horizontal ownership (propiedad horizontal in Spanish).

For its purposes, condominium becomes a special regulation of property firstly envisaged by the Article 396 of the Spanish Civil Code and developed by the Horizontal Ownership Act of 21th of July of 1960 and by the Mortgage Act as for matters of registration.

The scope of this legislation comprises the buildings or blocks divided into flats, apartments or premises which are capable of an independent use, as a result of having an own exit or access (to communal elements of the building or to thoroughfare or street). That’s the essential idea about what condominium in Spanish Law means legally.

Condominium rules are also applicable to wider legal housing matters such as building complex (complejo inmobiliario), the event of two or more buildings or independent plots whose destination is housing (or premises) as long as the proprietors of these properties hold an indivisible co-ownership regarding other real state elements, facilities or services.

Time-share is governed by a special Act (Act 4/2012) and is excluded from this legal scope to a large extent.

2. If your national system does not have an arrangement like that, or if it does, but also has a different arrangement which is commonly used to govern the ownership of apartments, please also describe, in this fact sheet, the arrangements commonly used.

Condominium is usually established or founded through a legal statement in a foundational title deed (título constitutivo de la propiedad horizontal) carried out by the proprietor or proprietors of the building —even the building site whose construction has been merely started—, which usually is complemented by statutes (estatutos) for governing the community or owners or proprietors (comunidad de propietarios) of flats and premises.

Otherwise, although the condominium weren’t founded by a formal statement of proprietors but it were a fact that a building were divided into different flats or premises capable of independent use —with exit or access for each one— and if existed an inherent co-ownership right (derecho de copropiedad) among their owners on the communal elements of this building, the legislation above mentioned on Condominium shall be also applicable. So provides Spanish Law to those communities which fulfil all requirements settled down on article 396 from Civil code.

Then, proprietors or communities or proprietors in this case will be governed by this Condominium legislation in all that related to juridical property regime, of their exclusive parts and common elements, as well as to the rights and reciprocal obligations of the co-owners.

Obviously, if there is no foundational title deed, LR shan’t be able to register it. Then, there won’t be any indication available in LR Histories of the registered properties. In spite of this omission, if it appears clearly that real situation equals Condominium, Land Registrars shall apply the Condominium legislation to the building, for example regarding to those owners’ acts or contracts that involve alteration of communal elements.

3. In your national system, which laws or regulations rule the arrangements you describe (or are relevant for them)?

Main Spanish legislation in this matter is:

  • Spanish Civil Code (particularly Articles 396 and 401);
  • Horizontal Ownership Act of 21th of July of 1960;
  • Mortgage Act (particularly Article 8.3 y 4).

There is also some regional legislation on this matter as Catalan Civil Code —5th Book approved by Act 5/2006—, whose principles are not different from the legislation of the Spanish State.