In the last weeks, it has been known about a judgement of the Spanish Supreme Court that closes one of the most significant legal and judicial controversies in relation to the claim of community debts. In fact, there was a very disparate criterion between different Provincial Courts.
The judgement 242/2020 of 3 June ratifies that the statute of limitations for the claim of the debt derived from community fees is five years. What is significant about the ruling is that it applies such term not only to debts subsequent to October 6, 2015, date in which by means of Law 42/2015 of October 5, article 1964 the Civil Code was amended and the limitation period for civil claims was reduced from fifteen to five years, but it also considers it applicable to debts prior to such date.
The reasons it holds for validating this criterion can be summarized, for the case of the judgment, in:
– The budgets of the community are annual and in the annual tax year the corresponding expenses are produced, which have to be paid by the community members according to the assigned coefficient.
– The monthly payment by instalments, in this case of the community fees, responds to the need not to overload the family economies that could receive very substantial claims.
– He considers that it would be incomprehensible for the community to allow such a long period of time to pass – in this case, notably more than five years – in order to demand payment from the community member who repeatedly fails to comply with his obligations.
This is a judgement that guarantees the owners who may default on their payments, although the Supreme Court itself points out “the logical social rejection produced by the existence of defaulting debtors in the communities of owners.
The High Court also emphasizes the due diligence that the President and the Secretary – Administrator of the community must show in order to prevent unclaimed debts of Community fees.
Once again, the need to have qualified and collegiate Administrators to advise in a diligent and professional manner is noted.