Section 6  Internal Rules

In order to regulate the particulars of co-existence and the appropriate use of the services and common parts, and within the limits stated by the Act and the Articles, the group of owners may set forth internal rules, which shall be binding on all owners until amendment in the form prescribed for making resolutions regarding administration.

 

In practice, internal rules regulates minor issues of coexistence like swimming pool schedules and prohibits riding bicycles or playing football in common parts. However, rights and duties of commonholders must be regulated by the Articles and the CCS.

 

6.1 Optional

 

They are not statutory. There are many commonholds running without them. Where there are no internal rules, in matters which should have been regulated by them, the Owners’ Committee could adopt resolutions with the ordinary quorum established in section 17.

 

6.2 Quorum for passing

 

In section 17(7), it is also expressed that only the vote of the majority of the owners will be required in order to pass, internal rules, unlike what is established for the title or for the Articles which require unanimous vote.

 

The same ordinary resolution is established in order to amend or revoke internal rules. SC 26-06-1995

 

6.3 Enacting internal rules

 

It could be possible to set forth internal rules by the sole proprietor of the commonhold before the sale of the units but usually they are drafted by the OC.

 

6.4 No access to Land Registry

 

Contrariwise of what it is provided for the Articles and for the title, internal rules cannot be registered with the Land Registry but for prospective buyers are legally binding. CA ruling in Barcelona 09-10-2004

 

6.5 Submission to the Articles and to the title

 

If internal rules contravene anything provided by the title or by the Articles they could be void. Internal rules may also be void if they included any rule which should be included in the Articles or in the title. It is submitted that internal rules can be contested and annulled where their content includes matters corresponding to the Articles. SC 04-11-1998 and 26-06-1995. Procedures to challenge unlawful internal rules are laid down in section 18.

 

As was stated by the CA ruling in Madrid 02-01-2006, internal rules cannot be contrary to the Act.

 

6.6 Enforcement and fines 

 

Quite often non-compliance of internal rules can be due to a simple misunderstanding or ignorance of the rule being broken. In a lot of cases, many rule breakers did not even know there was a rule for what they were or were not doing. For this reason, it is always best to begin with a polite letter from the president outlining the breach and seeking compliance with the relevant rule. Usually this will be enough for some offenders once they realise they have actually done the wrong thing.

 

However, there are other more 'selfish' types who really could not care less and it is this minority that needs 'stronger' forms of persuasion. Luckily there are a number of avenues open to those responsible for bringing the wayward into line however, it is not always an easy or smooth path.

Not only commonholders are bound by the internal rules. These rules will be equally binding to owners’ tenants and guests, letting and managing agents, all contractors and anyone who works for any owner or for the Community.

 

As such owners will be held accountable for the behaviour of any parties managing, letting or working on their property. All unit-holders therefore must ensure that these parties are made aware of and comply with the internal rules. What is the most important question in this matter is to find out what would be the available measures for the Owners’ Committee in order to achieve the thorough observance of the internal rules.

 

Although the OC is not a public power it is possible to impose fines to those owners who systematically fail to fulfil internal rules. There is case-law admitting that the Owners’ Committee through a simple resolution (passed by majority, not unanimity) may impose sanctions to commonholders. In order to sanction commonholders, previously the OC has to decide by resolution to do so and then pass a resolution in which a concrete sanction is imposed. Administrators are not entitled to sanction.CA ruling in Barcelona 02-06-1987

 

If the owner refused to pay the fine it would be possible to charge it as a part of his usual monthly fee so that he would be in default, and for this reason treated as a defaulter. It is submitted that internal rules may impose interests to defaulting commonholders in case of late payment of service fees. Anyway, in order to give the defence rights, those fined owners could challenge in Court those resolutions in which a penalty is imposed.