How to manage aesthetic alterations in a condominium community

How to manage aesthetic alterations in a condominium community

Aesthetics is something completely personal, everyone has their own taste, which is why decisions about the colors and elements that make up the facade or common areas of neighborhood communities are always controversial.

When it comes to managing an aesthetic alteration in accordance with the law, the registered Property Administrators always follow the indications of the Horizontal Property Law and the Civil Code, these are the regulations that mark the limits of security and image that a community of neighbors must comply with.

In the day to day of the communities of neighbors the aesthetic modifications usually arise in two situations, when the neighbors themselves want to make them or when a commercial premises located outside the community does it.

Can a neighbor modify the image of the community on his own?

Balcony glazing, modifications to window coverings or the installation of an awning different from the rest of the neighbors are some of the aesthetic modifications that neighbors try to make on their own. However, the Civil Code in its article 396 is very clear, the modification by an owner of the image or configuration of the facade, as well as the floor, flight, foundations, roofs or structural elements such as pillars, beams, slabs and load-bearing walls are not allowed. All these modifications must have been previously requested and have the approval of the owners’ meeting in order to be carried out.

Alterations made by commercial premises

With respect to commercial premises, their capacity to transform the aesthetics of the community of neighbors is regulated according to the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. In the resolution of June 27, 2016 of the General Council of the Judiciary.The judge closed a dispute between a community of neighbors and the owner of the commercial premises with which it shared a façade, who had been sued by the community’s Property Manager after aesthetically modifying the façade by opening a new window to install a shop window.

The General Council of the Judiciary ruled in favor of the community of neighbors, which argued: “The remodeling does not respect that the works do not prejudice the rights of other owners or that the used portion thereof is not susceptible of use or exploitation by the rest of the co-owners. The opening of the opening implies the creation for the owner of the premises of an encumbrance on said common space of the community of owners equivalent to a right to keep said shop window visible from the public road and to allow access to it to any person, which is detrimental to the community”, Therefore, the remodeling of the facade in this particular case was outside the law.

Registered Property Administrators know that the company that is housed in the premises may modify the aesthetics of the common areas as long as the transformation is not “The modification does not need to be approved by the community and as long as it respects the rights of the neighbors in terms of noise and luminosity.

However, controversies surrounding whether aesthetic modifications are the order of the day. To ensure that the interests of the neighbors are well managed, the registered Property Manager advising the community can file a written complaint with the local town hall to take the first steps and have the institutions assess whether the aesthetic transformation complies with the legal requirements.

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