Owners’ associations’ bank accounts
This post will clear up some important questions about the relationship between owners’ associations and financial institutions.
Despite not having legal personality, owners’ associations do have full capacity to act and can therefore be bank account holders.
Who can represent an owners’ association and manage the account?
- The president of the owners’ association, who is appointed from among the owners by an owners’ association resolution, acts as its legal representative.
- Managing the account, which includes opening it and using the funds, is the responsibility of the legal representatives or account signatories appointed by the association’s members in accordance with its internal agreements or, failing that, the Spanish Civil Code.
Banks must thoroughly assess the documents evidencing the appointment of, or change in, the association’s legal representatives or account signatories, and ensure that their appointments are valid at all times.
What fees can the bank charge?
For the services it renders, the bank can charge the fees stipulated in the contract signed with the owners’ association.
As a result, before opening an account it is important to shop around and compare different banks’ fees and any conditions that must be met to pay less or even be exempt from paying them. Arranging a product linked to the account might be necessary to avoid being charged fees. The bank must provide information about all of this.
Paying close attention to how much the services most sought after by owners’ associations, such as transfers and direct debits, cost is advisable.
What happens if there’s a conflict within the owners’ association? How should the bank act?
Conflicts within the owners’ association don’t affect banks’ activity. Banks must act prudently and in defence of the owners’ association’s interests.
In any event, the courts are responsible for ruling on the validity of the owners’ association resolutions and the legitimacy of its elected president and other officials if this is a matter of dispute.
Can the bank block the account due to a lack of representation?
Banks may adopt restrictive measures, such as blocking an account, where:
- There are grounds for thinking that representation may have been revoked.
- The bank is aware that new association officials have been appointed, but no documents evidencing this circumstance have been provided.
- There are significant disputes within the owners’ association.
That said, in the event of a conflict, banks must assess the specific circumstances of each case individually. If necessary, the restrictive measures ultimately adopted must be proportional. To the extent possible, banks must ensure that the blocking of the account does not stop the owners’ association from running smoothly.
What happens if the legal representatives’ term has ended?
In these cases, the appointments should be deemed tacitly renewed and the adoption of restrictive measures should only be deemed appropriate when faced with any of the three aforementioned circumstances.
Lastly, who can file a complaint on behalf of the owners’ association?
The president of the owners’ association, evidencing his/her position, may file a complaint on its behalf.
The owners’ association manager may also act on its behalf provided that such representation has been expressly delegated.