The piece of legislation which obligates every community of owners to elect a President is probably not the most enlightened document that’s ever been written. The fact is that, although each community must have a President, there are no clear criteria which describe the duties or responsibilities of the elected person.
It therefore, very often falls upon the President to write their own job description. Sadly, this often conflicts with what many members of the community, who are fortunate enough not to be elected, think the role should be.
The first thing to make clear is that the President is the ONLY legal representative of the community. This means that he/she has the legal right to make decisions on behalf of the community. It also means that the community can take legal action against a President who acts in a way that disadvantages the community.
The assembly of the community’s general meeting is the over-riding authority of each community and it is the President’s job to implement decisions made by that assembly. If however, unforeseen events make action necessary between general meetings, the President has the legal right to act.
In reality, the communities which thrive are ones which have elected a President who is committed to the welfare of the community and is pro-active in ensuring it’s well-being.
A simple list of Presidential responsibilities might be as follows:
- Calling general meetings when necessary (at least one a year in order to present the community’s accounts).
- Ensuring that accounts are kept.
- Ensuring that community assets are maintained in good condition.
- Encouraging owners to pay community fees and taking action against those who don’t.
- Providing prospective buyers with information as to whether there is a debt associated with a property.
- Being available from time to time to advise owners where necessary.
- Helping to ensure that community rules are complied with (not however, taking physical action – this is the police’s role).
- Signing contracts with any service providers that are required.
- Presiding over the community’s bank account.
The above is not a definitive list, but it gives an idea of what needs to be done. Of course, many of the above actions can be carried out by an Administrator should the President decide that one is needed to support him in these tasks.
Contrary to what seems to be popular believe, an Administrator is NOT elected on to the committee (unless he is a property owner); he is appointed in the same way that any other service provider would be and can be fired in the same way too. If a contract is agreed between President and Administrator, it is legally binding, so the terms of any such contract should be fully understood before signing. Unlike the role of President, the minimum requirements of an Administrator are legally defined within the Spanish Horizontal Property Law.