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Disabled Access Public Buildings and Apartment Buildings - The Law

According to Royal Decree 1/2013, the Ley General de Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad y de su Inclusión Social / General Law on the Rights of Disabled People and their Social Inclusion all properties need to be accessible by disabled people and works have to be undertaken to make adjustments if this is not the case (yet). This is not only valid for public buildings but also for those properties that are ruled by Horizontal Law (apartment buildings) so that disabled people can easily access not only their own property, but all communal areas, hall, garage, garden, as well. So that they can make use of them in the exact same way as the other owners/tenants/users.

But the amendment of the Horizontal Law to this end (art. 10) law  ´within reason´ and that the costs cannot put a disproportionate burden on the owners of the apartments.  Law 8/2013 on Urban Rehabilitation, Regeneration y Renovation states that ´disproportionate´ is when the cost of the works, with deduction of possible subsidies or public funding, exceed 12 monthly payments of the established community fee per year.

As long as the costs for the necessary works remain under the 12 monthly payments per year, the owners are obliged to assume the costs amongst them.

If the estimated costs are higher, a special meeting must be called where the majority of owners is present and the budget must be approved with majority of votes. Once approved, the total costs will be carried by the Community of owners. Alternatively, if those that have requested the adjustments to the building take on the excess costs, all the others are obliged to contribute their 12 monthly payments.

Who can put in a request for adaptation of the privately owned building to the needs of disabled?

Owners, tenants, sub-tenants or users of apartments where disabled people (accredited disability of 33% minimum) or people over 70 years of age, live, work or offer voluntary services.

Is there a window to comply with this law?

Yes, for newly built privately owned properties the 4th of December 2015 and for those that were built before that date, have no arrangements with nor provide services for public administrations and need to be reformed or adjusted at a cost that falls within the ´reasonable´ budget as mentioned above, the window to comply ended on the 4th of December 2017.

The law does not mention a ´completed before´ date with regards to reforms or adjustments that exceed the ´reasonable´ budget but I would assume some flexibility there, as the project will be more complicated and time consuming to execute (think e.g. about installing an elevator).

Note: owners cannot complain about inconveniences that the execution of the adjustment project(s) might cause (noise, dust etc.)

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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