Measures to deal with the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19 and the necessity to reduce energy consumption and improve energy, water and renewable system efficiency have affected the horizontal ownership regime. For this reason, two Decree Laws have recently been adopted by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Community Government).
On the one hand, Decree Law 28/2021, of 21 December amends the fifth book of the Civil Code of Catalonia to include the regulation of facilities for the improvement of energy or water efficiency and renewable energy systems in buildings subject to the horizontal property regime. In addition, it modifies Decree Law 10/2020 of 27 March, which establishes new extraordinary measures to deal with the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19, in the field of private legal entities subject to Catalan civil law.
The explanatory statements argue for the need to reduce energy consumption and improve the habitability of households through energy rehabilitation. In turn, it foresees the need to guarantee and facilitate the adoption of agreements to the community of owners. Accordingly, articles of fifth book of the Civil Code of Catalonia have been amended.
The new article 553-25 provides for the simple majority of owners and quotas to approve agreements related to the energy efficiency of buildings, whether they are installations or works (even if they involve the modification of the title of constitution or the statutes). At the same time, the precept requires the maximum quorum in the participation of renewable energy projects with other communities of owners and in the conclusion of financing contracts.
As regards the linking of agreements, article 553-30 incorporates a new paragraph which provides that agreements aimed at improving energy efficiency are binding on all owners of the community. However, it guarantees the position of dissidents if the cost exceeds three quarters of the annual budget of the community (due to common expenses and discounted subsidies and aids).
In relation to the use and enjoyment of the adopted installation, if the installation is incompatible with a previously authorized installation or system of particular utility, the community must take care of the removal and compensate for the damage that they entail to the owner.
In this sense, article 553-43 provides the possibility for owners to install infrastructure and equipment for private use to improve energy efficiency. In these cases it will be necessary to present a project 30 days before the president of the community, without prior agreement. As regards costs, these will be borne exclusively by the beneficiary owners. If it is possible according to the installation itself, other owners may have access to it if they contribute with the payment of proportional expenses and costs.
At the same time, Decree includes new measures concerning legal entities under private law subject to the provisions of Catalan civil law. Essentially, the regulation extends until 31 December 2022 the content provided for in Decree Law 53/2020 of 22 December, where the organs of legal entities under private law may adopt agreements by means of videoconferencing or by other means, and may adopt agreements without meeting, even if their articles of association do not provide for it.
The other provision, Decree-Law 1/2022, of 11 January, provides for extraordinary measures to address the health, economic and social impact of COVID-19 within the framework of the owners’ boards in communities subject to the horizontal property regime. The rule extends the previous measures taken:
Firstly, it extends the suspension on the obligation to convene and hold owners’ meetings until June 30, 2022. However, they may be held (with appropriate security measures) at the initiative of the president or at least 25% of owners with voting rights. In the event that the meeting cannot be held, agreements may be made without a meeting, at the request of the person presiding over the meeting (following the requirements of art. 312-7 CCCat).
Secondly, the rule provides for the automatic extension of the annual budget until the next regular meeting, together with the approval of previous accounts and the renewal of posts.
In this article, we have analyzed the novelties of the two decrees law on horizontal property. If you have any questions, you can use the contact area of our website to consult with our civil and commercial litigation department team. We will be happy to assist you.