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Tuesday, 29 November 2016 00:00

Who pays the expenses related to an inherited property - the owner with or without beneficial rights?

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An inheritance often results in a situation where the main family residence is handed down to the widow or widower, whilst other beneficiaries of the will have a part stake in the property without having the right use it. People often visit us in the office when this happens, as they aren’t sure which costs have to be borne by whom and what happens if someone doesn’t meet their legal obligations. We will try to clarify this legal matter in relation to the four household expenses where most debate arises and, be warned, if the case has to go to court, things can get very heated!

Fotolia 97815151 XSWe can use articles 504 and 505 of the Civil Code as a starting point to an understanding of who pays what. The general principle is that the non-beneficial owners have to pay the costs associated with the building itself , while the beneficial owner has to bear the costs associated with the day-to-day running of the property. But It is not always easy to differentiate these costs.

When it comes to deciding on this issue, we have to distinguish between the regular charges associated with the upkeep of the whole building which are borne by the residents’ association (central heating, cleaning, the caretaker etc) and special one-off charges related to the repair, expansion or improvement of the common parts.

In some court cases it has been decided that if the service charge is regular and clearly not one-off, it should be borne by the beneficial owner.

We have to let you know that article 9.1 of the Spanish Horizontal Property Law, which governs commonhold properties, states that each owner has to contribute to the general costs of the upkeep of the building within which their property lies along with general charges, services and responsibilities. The amount paid is in accordance with the percentage of the building they are deemed to own and excludes charges which are clearly the responsibility of an individual owner. However, this legal order has to be viewed in the light of the established relationship between the Residents’ Association and the commonholder and does not affect the how costa are shared between the beneficial and non-beneficial owners of the flat or retail premises. Articles 500 and 501 of the Civil Code are those which are most pertinent here.

Rubbish collection tax

This is a charge made on the “collection of household rubbish and waste” and here the beneficial owner is responsible for this charge as they are the producers of the waste and should bear the charge. Though the non-beneficial owners may have the payment taken from them automatically, they have the right to reclaim the charges from the beneficial owner.

Water rates

As in the previous example, the water is being used by the beneficial owner and the charge is clearly their responsibility.

Property tax (Impuesto de Bienes Imuebles)

This is the successor to the previous housing tax known as the “contribucíon urbana” and has traditionally been viewed as the responsibility of the beneficial owner under article 505 of the Civil Code. There is further specific reference to the matter in the law regulating Local Tax Authorities where article 61 of the Act states that the beneficial owner shall be considered responsible for the payment for tax purposes.


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Read 4242 times Last modified on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 15:37

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