Understanding how condominium ownership works should begin with the things you should know about condo meetings in Mexico.
First, knowing how homeowner meetings for condos in Mexico work is an important responsibility for owners. The homeowner meetings are the top authority for the running of the building. Meetings are both ordinary and extraordinary. There will be at least one ordinary meeting a year, held within the first three months of every year.
The general meeting agenda includes:
1. Reports from the administrator and the executive committee.
2. Election of the executive committee.
3. Election of the administrator
4. The approval of the budget for the coming year.
Notices for the ordinary meeting are legal if at the first meeting, there are at least 51 percent of the condominium rights represented. If 51 percent are 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, present will be declared a majority.
The general meeting must take place in the city where the condominium is located and notice for the meeting must be issued at least 15 days prior to the meeting.
In addition to the general meeting, an extraordinary meeting can be held at any time to cover these agenda items:
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 for an extraordinary meeting should be 20 days before the meeting and 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 also require that the administrator notify him/her by certified mail. The notice must include the date, time and place of the meeting, the type of meeting and the agenda. An important point to know is that 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.
If you have a disagreement to air, you should know that controversies among homeowners are subject to the executive committee’s judgement. Here a few other guidelines relating to disagreement resolution:
1. The city secretary will judge conflicts within the condominiums in the city.
2. In Puerto Vallarta, the civil code and Jalisco code will be followed.
3. Other conflicts, such as a dispute with a utility authority or a disputed charge for products or services, will be decided by the city judicial legal system.
The administrator also can take to court homeowners or their guests who fail to fulfill their obligations or follow the condominium bylaws. The condominium can ask the judge to force the homeowner to sell his condominium ownership. This is a strong position that the owners 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 and 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.
Maintenance fees are also a consideration in condo ownership. 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.
If you own or are considering buying a condominium, be sure to ask about the condominium laws and the condominium regime rules and regulations, wherever you are considering a purchase.
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 conduct his/her own due diligence and review.