If you own a condo, you should know that the condo homeowners meetings in Mexico are the top authority for the running of the building.
Meetings are both ordinary and extraordinary, with at least one ordinary meeting held each year within the first three months of the year. I’ll also cover the rules that govern maintenace fees today.
Here are the ABCs of what you should know:
Ordinary General Meeting
1. Reports from the administrator and the executive committee
2. Election of the executive committee
3. Election of the administrator
4. Approval of the budget for the coming year
Notices for the ordinary meeting are legal if at the first meeting there is at least 51 percent of the condominium rights represented. If 51 percent is not present, a second meeting will be scheduled no sooner than seven days or later than 14 days. At this second meeting, the majority of the homeowners or their representatives who are present shall be declared a majority.
The general meeting will take place in the same city as the condominium is located. The notice for the meeting shall be issued at least 15 days prior.
This can be held at any time the following events need the home-owner’s attention.
1. Modification of the condominium bylaws
2. Approval of any improvements
3. To modify or dispose of the common areas
4. To vote on the dissolution of the condo regime
5. To approve the addition of new common areas
6. To request a civil judge to make an owner sell his rights to the property
7. To approve the rebuilding of the building if it has been damaged
8. Other problems or questions that are of concern to the homeowners
Notice should be given 20 days before the meeting.
An extraordinary meeting may take place with whatever number of homeowners attend. However, for a proposal to be legal, 75 percent of the ownership must vote and approve it.
Besides the notices to the individual owners for both types of meetings, a copy should be posted in visible places within the condominium. An owner can require that the administrator notify him/her by certified mail.
Notice must include the date, time and place of the meeting, the type of meeting and the agenda. Items OFF the agenda cannot be binding unless 100 percent of the homeowners are present to make the decision. This is a critical point to understand when voting on issues of importance.
Homeowners shall pay maintenance fees. The condo dues and reserve fund are determined on the percentage of ownership of an individual unit to the whole condo regime.
Dues and the reserve fee are paid in advance. If the condominium expenses exceed the income, the homeowners are required to cover the expenses as an extraordinary maintenance fee.
In case of disagreement over maintenance fees, these are the rules:
1. For controversies among homeowners, they shall be subject to the executive committee’s judgment.
2. The city secretary will judge conflicts within the condominiums in the city.
3. The civil code and state code will be followed.
4. Other conflicts, such as a dispute with a utility authority or a disputed charge for products or services, shall be decided by the city judicial legal system.
The administrator can take to court homeowners, or their guests, who continue to fail to fulfill their obligations or follow the condominium bylaws. The condominium can ask the judge to force the homeowner to sell his/her condominium ownership. This is a strong position that the owners of the condominium in general can take to remove an owner who disturbs or destroys the right of enjoyable use by the majority of owners.
A tenant can be required to vacate a unit. The condominium can sue the owner, if they oppose such an action.
Decisions made at legally constituted meetings are legal and binding to all the ownership, whether they are present or not. This applies to third parties or unknown owners as well.
If you own or are considering buying a condominium, be sure to ask about the condominium laws and the condominium regime rules and regulations.
In my experience, after attending hundreds of condo meetings representing owners, I have learned that the people who are not prepared in these meetings are the ones who try to control it. They suceed too many times because no one is informed who can take control and conduct a fair and shorter meeting.
This article is based upon legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his/her own due diligence and review.