According to new research from the Professional College of Property Administrators in Madrid the number of Spanish property owners defaulting on their community fees increased 31% in 2011.
The estimated value of the unpaid fees stood at 1.3 billion euros at the end of 2011, up from 1 billion in the previous year.
With unemployment rising and the economy getting tighter the situation is not likely to improve this year.
“There are no signs to expect any change in the trend, which means the total debt will rise to 1.6 billion euros at the end of this year,” said José Juan Muñoz, Director of the College.
Simple non-payment is not the only problem as many that do pay do so later and later. The average payment time is between 90 and 180 days which can leave the communities short when their bills are due for payment.
“These figures are a direct consequence of the economic situation, whose deterioration appears to have no end, which will only make the bad debts problem worse,” said Muñoz.
While over half of communities are thought to have reduced their 2012 budgets community fees have been maintained or increased to help cover the cost of the non-payers. So if your neighbours doesn’t pay their fees you will pay more.
Of the debtors 22% can be classified as “professional non-payers” – those are people with a history of not paying their fees.
Despite government funding and bailouts some banks are also defaulting with 12% of those in arrears being banks and developers.