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10 Rules For Living in an Apartment Complex

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Written by Daniella

Living in an apartment complex with many other residents can be a daunting task sometimes. In order for all the neighbours to get along fine, certain rules must be followed to coexist in a residential building.

Just as is the case with families, each apartment complex is different, and this means that each building can come up with its own rules, as long as, of course, these rules don’t break any laws.

This blog article by ShBarcelona will focus on 10 main rules that all apartment residents should comply with in order to live in full peace and harmony with the other residents in their building.

Check the 10 rules we mention below. Do you obey these rules already? And do you suspect not everyone is respecting them in your apartment building? Are residents at least communicating with each other? Read today’s article to find out what rules apply when living in an apartment complex with others.

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Ley de Propiedad Horizontal

Before diving into the subject, you should konw there is a Ley de Propiedad Horizontal (or Condominium Act) which describes the regulations and obligations of property owners.

It also mentions the responsibilities of the owners’ association, appointment of positions and other important directives when living in a residential building.

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Constitutive title

The Ley de Propiedad Horizontal states that all apartment buildings must have a constitutive title. Usually this is a notarial deed which formalises the existence of the residential building.

When it comes to this constitutive title, it is important to specify the participation share, in other words, what the apartment or unit is worth in comparison to the total value of the building. 

Other facts that must be written down in the deeds are the definitions of communal areas and those that are solely for private use. This makes it crystal clear who is responsible for repairs in case there is damage.

Association statutes

A different document is the owners’ association statutes, but this document, unlike the deeds, is optional, so not every apartment building has them. The document generally includes certain obligations, like insurances, repairs and maintenance works (of both the interior and exterior of the building). 

Who pays for the terrace, and who cleans the patio of the ground floor resident? These questions can be answered by checking the constitutive title and residents’ association statutes. Both documents play a role in outlining the rules to live in an apartment complex.

House rules and other regulations

Another option is provided by the Ley de Propiedad Horizontal, as it allows for each building to draw up specific rules for that building complex only. This means the owners can determine regulations like the opening hours of the property’s swimming pool, what time the communal garden will be accessible, et cetera.

To make amendments in these specific rules, however, a majority vote is required during the home owners’ association meeting.

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10 Basic rules to live by when living together with others in a residential building

Now that you know what documents are in place to provide guidelines for residents’ behaviour, here are the ten rules for living in an apartment complex.

1. Use communal areas responsibly

How people behave in communal areas can be a delicate subject, as it regularly comes with issues. These areas are, of course, shared the most with other residents, and everyone wants to enjoy them. 

Don’t leave any rubbish in the parking (if your apartment building comes with parking options), and don’t block hallways with bicycles or baby strollers.

📌 Don’t litter the parking area of your apartment building, and don’t block hallways with bicycles, baby strollers or other large items.

2. Pay your community fees

Community fees contribute to maintaining the building itself and take care of property premises, so when you stop paying, there are bound to be problems. 

📌 FYI: The other owners may actually sue you for not paying your community fees.

Related article: 5 Factors to Consider When Buying Property to Rent Out in Barcelona

3. Respect quiet hours

This is one of the main rules within any residential complex. It is of the utmost importance to avoid any unnecessary or loud noises during the night. If you need to make some noise, do so during the day, between 8 in the morning and 10 in the evening.

Moving furniture around, playing loud music and singing in the early hours of the day are not to be advised if you want to live happily in an apartment building with other residents.

📌 Put furniture in a different place in your apartment during daylight hours, and don’t forget to inform direct neighbours to avoid any confrontations.

4. Respect the building’s integrity

Just as you should be respectful when using communal areas, you are not allowed to make any changes to the inside or outside of your apartment without permission.  

📌 Are you allowed to put advertising posters in your building? You may not change anything on the façade or balcony without the explicit consent of the owners’ association. 
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5. Introduce yourself to new neighbours

Whether you are a new property owner or a new tenant, introduce yourself when you are moving in. Talk to the neighbours that live closest to you, and get to know them a bit.

📌 Neighbours are people that are always nearby, and they can help you when you have an emergency, so it’s in your best interest to get along with them.

6. The chairman is not the property sheriff

The law states that the owners’ association’s chairman is the building’s legal representative for the entire duration of his term. He must therefore take good care of the property, but this does not at all imply that he must be able to resolve all conflicts by himself. He may also not put his opinion first and before other’s.

📌 The chairman of a building is allowed to stop activities that cause a nuisance to other residents, he is allowed to ask for outstanding payments through court, and he can schedule owners’ association meetings.

7. Keep communication lines open and work on a constructive dialogue

These are the key principles of any lasting relationship, so be present during meetings and work on solving problems together. Other attendants are also residents in your building, which means you will see them on a regular basis. This should be enough to avoid confrontations.

📌 Owners’ association meetings are usually held late in the afternoon, and as a result every participant is tired after a long day at the office, so stay calm and be patient.

8. Don’t water your plants just at any hour of the day

This might sound a bit strange, but in a city like Barcelona it’s not. Water your plants late in the evening, and if you have a street balcony, pay extra attention, because watering your plants at certain hours may cause discomfort to people walking on the sidewalks.

Related article: Rental Agreement Template

9. Damage to the property caused by a resident

If residents of a building break something, they should pay for the repair or replacement of it. There are specific insurances that take care of these misfortunes.

10. Rules for pets inside the property

Pet owners must always keep a close eye on their pet and keep it under control. It’s not just about the pet running away, but a pet owner should also prevent it from barking too loud or urinating/defecating in communal areas. 

📌 Not all properties accept pets, so be sure to check with your real estate agent or the property itself before you rent an apartment.

Are you a property owner with tenant problems?

ShBarcelona knows that it can sometimes be difficult to find your balance within a residential building.

If you are not a resident in Spain, but are a property owner who cannot attend owners’ association meetings because of not being in the country, our real estate agents can attend these meetings for your.

Have you got any more questions on living in an apartment complex?
If you do, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

About the author


Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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