Digital disruption in property management: is the “Uber Moment” coming?

The world of property management software has been traditionally slow to adopt new technologies.

Is this necessarily a bad thing, though? Once the dust settles, it is probably easier to see which technological advancements worked and which ones didn’t.

With the onset of Uber-like platforms, different sectors have seen apps take over the work of middlemen, changing business models in the process.

Presidents Fees. Is it a taxable income?

 

Following on from the question about the legality of “The Presidents Fees”, we were asked whether the President has to declare the fees and pay tax on them? Assuming there is no receipt to justify costs other than the time he has put in, one would assume that this is an income for the time spent on the job. In other words the payments is for the hours of work and as such it can be considered as either an employment or income for the president. So how can the costs be justified for accounting purposes? Or can the Community make a gift to the President for his services? What is the proper procedure?

Community President Fees. Are They Legal?

A few days ago, a president in Alicante area asked posed the following question  “I am president of our Community.  For the past 20 years, the community president has been paid 480 euros a year to cover his expenses.  A new owner now states in a letter to the Administrators that this is a fiscal fraud and is illegal under Spanish law, even though the majority of owners voted in favour at the AGM.  This owner says further that he will go to the authorities and demand that the payments stop and all monies be returned.  Can you advise?

Before we delve into giving an answer I wanted to add my personal view on it.   Over the past few years at Urbytus while doing demos at AGMs and many other committee meetings, I have met and seen all sorts.  From community presidents who worked as gardeners, cleaners and administrators paying themselves large sums and presidents who practically worked the god given hours in exchange of nothing.

The most common two forms of payment tend to be either a reimbursement for direct expenses and also a waving of sum or all of the community fees.

Certainly if one was to add up all the hours a president may spend helping and dealing with issues, it would be lowest paid job in Spain. Those who do take the roll and dedicate their time to such a job, do not do it for the economical retribution rather in most cases it is with full good intention and interest of the community.  There is no way the community can get a better deal.

The legal answer to the question, provided by our colleague, David Searl, the author of “You & The Law in Spain” is as follow:

Spain’s Horizontal Law, which regulates Communities of Property Owners, says nothing at all about payments or assignations of money to cover a community President’s expenses.  The law neither requires nor prohibits such payments, so there is nothing illegal about them.  The important point is that the payments are voted each year at the AGM.  In a very few Communities, the original Statutes, the Charter of the Community, prohibit such payments, so it might be wise to check them, just in case. And it just occurs to me that your new member might be reading the law of Catalonia.  The Horizontal Law applies in Catalonia, but one article of the Catalan Civil Code prohibits payments to the community President.

The community president fee is also often questioned when the owners feel that they are not seeing anything in return.  My view has always been that no matter how clean and good you work, you need to also communicate this transparency.  Communication is simple. Urbytus provides you with a simple website, where you can log every work, job and conversation you have with the owners, gardners and the administrators. It won’t take you much more than you have already put in, but it does is the difference that you have been lacking:

  1. For a start, it is the easiest form of communication.
  2. The same file or document that you might type into a word file, you can enter directly into the web.
  3. It provides you with a full history of what you have done.
  4. It allows people to see the amount of work you have to deal with and how much of your time it really takes.
  5. It gives knowledge and access way and above your immediate memory and also helps you prepare the ground for the next president.

You surely, don’t need more reasons, try it for free today. Signup now for a trial version.

Innovation. Urbytus: The Home Owners Association (Communities of property owners) web platform

In 2005 to 2007, I kept reviewing how I can improve the way things work at our Home Owners Association (HOAs as they are known in the US) or otherwise known as communities of property owners or (Comunidades de Propietarios in Spanish) and their respective management companies that ran these communities. (see what is Urbytus)

I had started working on a web service for our own community and I talked to many friends and clients about the online program I had in mind for my community and the services I could provide through it.  Some people were against the idea and others found it a wonderful idea.  Internet access, broadband and penetration was still low and smart phones were still not in everyone’s hand, but the more I talked about it, the more it was clear that this was a sector in need of change.