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La Manga Club Owners

Owners Handbook - Running The General Community


1. It is important to remember at the outset that the General Community was originally set up by the Presidents of the individual Communities within La Manga Country Club, and consequently the “Members” of the General Community are those individual Communities together with the individual Villas and the various commercial enterprises in the resort. As has already been mentioned, it is the individual Communities that are regulated by the Spanish Law of Horizontal Property and not the General Community which is governed by its own By-laws. A copy of the By-laws is given at Annexe A - General Community By-laws.
2. In accordance with this legal framework it is the elected President of those individual Communities that constitute the “members” of the General Community and represent the interests of their owners. Similar provisions are made for the individual villas through the election of a Representative. Annexe L - General Community Presidents.
3. The By-laws make clear that the purpose of the General Community is to provide its members with all those common services which are not provided by the municipality or by any other entity such as the developer and that it can provide any service necessary for the well-being of the Community and its “members”.
4. This general provision can and has led to misunderstandings about the role of the General Community. Some Owners have expressed the view that the General Community could and should be involved in representing Owners with the resort owners or other commercial organisations. Informal contacts should and do exist with such other bodies, but explicit representation is specifically excluded by the By-laws that focus on the provision of common services.
5. The format for the governance of the General Community is the General Meeting held annually in the first three months of each year. This meeting is open to any owner within the resort and is an important forum for the Officers and President to give formal reports and be available to answer questions from the floor. The purpose of the annual meeting is to elect its Officers and to consider and vote on any matters on the agenda including the annual budget. In reality, the budget is provisionally agreed by the Presidents in meetings before the Annual General Meeting.
6. It is only the Presidents of the individual Communities and the Representative of the individual villas who have the right to vote on any matters before any General Meetings and any resolution passed is binding on the members within the General Community. The voting procedures are generally governed by the Horizontal Property Law. This means that those eligible to vote can do so but in proportion to the percentage value of their coefficients (coefficients are described in more detail below). Most resolutions only require a simple majority but resolutions to change the By-laws require a unanimous vote. An added complication is where a qualified majority is needed the individual Community Presidents must first establish the qualified majority support from their individual Communities. Under the statutes only those who have paid their contribution to the costs of the Community are eligible to vote at the General Meeting.
7. The President of the General Community and the Vice Presidents (up to four in number) are elected on an annual basis at the Annual General Meeting. Any property owner at La Manga Country Club may stand for election. The President is the legal representative of the General Community but although his powers regarding the day to day running of the General Community are extremely broad, there are limits mentioned above on the signing of contracts and certain financial arrangements, or a departure from activities un-related to the provision of common services.
8. The four Vice Presidents have specific responsibilities designated by the President, such as Security, Treasury, Medical Services and Communications. In addition to the elected officers, the President is able to appoint advisers to assist with running a number of specific services. The General Community is responsible for the Owners’ Clubhouse which is leased from Inmogolf SL. However its Chairman and committee are elected by the Owners. The organisation of the General Community and the names of those responsible are given in Annexe B - Organisation of General Community.
9. A further key role laid down in the By-laws is that of the Administrator, who again is elected for a year’s term at the Annual General Meeting. It is the responsibility of the Administrator to keep the accounts, including the preparation of the annual budget, and to act as Legal Advisor.
10. Apart from the Annual General Meeting, the President can call an Extraordinary General Meeting when the seriousness or urgency of a matter so warrants or if he is requested to do so by at least 25 percent of the Owners.
10. Apart from the Annual General Meeting, the President can call an Extraordinary General Meeting when the seriousness or urgency of a matter so warrants or if he is requested to do so by at least 25 percent of the Owners.
11. Many residents at La Manga Country Club will be aware that there are regular meetings (four a year) of the Presidents of the individual Communities, the Representative of the Villas together with the officers of the General Community and its advisers. These meetings are not required by either the By-laws or the Horizontal Property Law, invitation is at the discretion of the President of the General Community.
12. However, they have provided an additional focus in the running of the General Community and present an opportunity to advise the President on issues arising from the day-to-day running of the General Community
13. So far we have covered the main organisational aspects of the General Community, but it will be clear to all that the General Community requires significant funds to provide its services. Annexe C - General Community Budget (illustrative only) sets out an illustrative Budget of the costs of running the General Community. Full details of the annual budget and balance sheet are circulated at the Annual General Meeting and are accessible through the Website
14. To meet these costs the General Community needs to collect from every owner a proportionate contribution. To do this, every individual Community and individual Villa has a calculated “coefficient” based on the built area of that Community or Villa as a proportion of the total built area within La Manga Country Club. We will return to this subject in greater detail below.
15. Once the annual budget has been agreed, the Administrator will calculate the fees required from each of the individual Communities and Villas. The Communities pay on a quarterly basis, but the villas in one annual sum. It is an unfortunate feature of General Community life that, despite reminders each year, there are fees outstanding. Unfortunately in Spanish Law the provisions for the General Community to recover bad debts through the Courts are both cumbersome and time consuming. One of the changes should an Entidad be introduced will be stricter and shorter procedures for reclaiming debts. But in the meantime it has been agreed that a 20 per cent prompt payment surcharge will be applied to encourage Owners and Communities to pay on time. Should a debt remain outstanding the General Community will the use debt collection agencies wherever possible. The full policy is set out in Annexe D - Prompt Payment and Debtor Policy.
16. As has been explained earlier, the allocation of the General Community budget is based on a percentage quota fixed in accordance with the built area of each property, or in the case of individual Communities the total built area within that Community. This percentage quota is the “co-efficient”. The first version of the By-laws did not set out in detail the method by which this built area should be measured.
17. It is clear that the total built area of the resort can change over time as new Communities are established or as individual Owners extend the property. In preparation for the introduction of the Entidad, a major exercise was carried out not only to provide a more precise definition of what constituted the built area but also to confirm the built areas for each property and Community. The By-laws have now been amended to adopt this policy.
18. The detail of how the coefficients are calculated is complicated but rests on an accurate description of what constitutes the built area of a property or Community. The full policy is set out at Annexe E - Policy on General Community Coefficients.
19. Should the Entidad come into force, there will be a specific obligation for any owner seeking to build or extend his property to obtain formal approval from the Entidad and from Cartagena City Council. Unfortunately it was established during the exercise mentioned above that many Owners had extended their properties without first seeking the necessary planning approvals.
20. Both the Spanish Horizontal Property Law and the Articles of a future Entidad provide clear rules concerning physical changes to residential property and the need to obtain formal approval and permits prior to building or extending a property. We can expect a much tighter regime enforcing both these aspects in the future.
21. Details and advice can be obtained from the Administrator and from the Presidents of the Communities, many of whose By-laws have already incorporated these legal controls and procedures. Annexe F - Recommended Building Regulations sets out some guidelines for the process of changing the external features or an extension of a property.
22. The current By-laws do not give much guidance on the “rules of behaviour” for the residents of La Manga Club, apart from being bound to observe the By-Laws and resolutions passed at a General Meeting, and one clause banning the parking of motor homes and caravans within the boundaries of the resort.
23. Over the years guidance on a number of issues has come into practice and these were drawn into a formal Code of Conduct for the purposes of the Entidad. The terms of this Code have now been adopted by the General Community. Many of the terms have been adopted by the individual Communities into their own By-Laws and Codes of Practice and are therefore generally accepted throughout La Manga Club.
24. A full copy of the Code of Conduct prepared for the Entidad is set out at Annexe G - General Community Code of Conduct but the main points are as follows:-
  • The basic rules of behaviour are those that promote and provide the correct use of properties.
  • Several provisions on pets including restraint, removal of waste, and the prohibition of dangerous animals and the prevention of nuisance to other owners.
  • The responsible disposal of rubbish and observance of the re-cycling facilities.
  • Observance of established noise restrictions in terms of level and limits on the use of noisy equipment.
  • Observance of speed limits.
  • Acknowledgement that the use of golf buggies on the public roads within the resort is illegal.
  • The use of the Civil Policing Authorities in dealing with drunkeness or under-age driving.
  • Restrictions on the use of advertising and in the use of public space for the storage of building materials.
  • The requirement to maintain property to a reasonably standards with restrictions on the choice of colour.
  • Significant rules on the use of Community Pool areas, including opening times, the banning of boisterous behaviour and other nuisance, the supervision of young children and the banning of items within the pool area that could constitute safety or health hazards.
25. As the majority of the roads throughout the resort are public, it follows that only properly licensed and taxed vehicles can be driven legally. The use of buggies on resort roads has been tolerated (mainly in connection with golfing activities) but the General Community is not in a position to either condone or condemn the use of buggies in general, but do regard road safety as an important issue. Consequently the General Community has produced an advisory paper on some basic considerations on the use of buggies around the resort. This is set out in Annexe H - Guidelines on the Use of Buggies.
26. In the paragraphs above we have described the main legal and organisational parameters that govern the General Community. Detailed information is set out in the various Annexes to this Handbook, but copies are available for inspection at the General Community offices. Should you require clarification or more information, contact any of the Officers of the General Community, or the President of your own Community.




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