Damp in the community, who is responsible?

If you live in a community of neighbours, one of the most common problems will be the famous and unwanted appearance of the dampness in the community.

What is the cause, who is responsible for fixing any leaks and when can I make a claim? If you need to know more about it, stay tuned to this post.

The responsibility for the repair of damp is easily distinguishable and will depend on two factors: the place of origin of the damp itself and the cause of the damp. In order to know this, a professionally prepared technical report will be necessary to reveal the reason for the dampness.

Here are some of the sources where damp can originate. Attention should be paid to them and their appearance should be prevented through good maintenance:

  • At porous materials which, by their nature, are more prone to leakage.
  • Construction defects on the site that can cause rainwater to seep in.
  • The cracks in walls are another source of damp in the community. For this reason, it is very important to allow the cement to dry well in order to prevent them from appearing.
  • Joints or gaps between two parts of the construction, which are made of two different materials. The most important thing is that they are very well sealed to avoid the dreaded dampness.

In a community of owners we can distinguish two distinct areasThe private and the common, the shared and our own, our home and our neighbourhood.

The inevitably shared places, collected in the Article 396 of the Civil CodeThe community facilities are the community facilities: stairs, façades, entrance hall, rooftop and all those spaces that share use and, therefore, responsibility.

In other words, any area or supply that is used or provides for all neighbours is everyone's responsibility.

In this case, there are three types which are compulsory for all residents of the community:

  • They can be given capillary dampnesswhich involve leaks from the ground and usually affect the lower ground floor or basement floors.

These arise from the groundwater and infiltrate down to the lowest part of the building. On this occasion, the community will be responsible for their repair.

  • Another case is that of the leaks. They appear in the form of stains on walls and walls and usually coincide at the points where materials of different natures meet.

The causes? Normally, the weather through rainfall, water in the subsoil, construction defects or cracks that appear in the pipes. They will always be the responsibility of the community.

  • Condensation is another cause of damp in the community: spots appear on the wall due to water vapour, as well as causing fungus and damage to the walls.

Undesirable household activities are often responsible, apart from the obvious need to have aired out the room.

The other side of the coin is the so-called private elementi.e. the dwelling of a specific person, covering the interior walls, parquet, tiling, installations inside, etc.

In practice, these are the areas where the elements provide coverage or supply solely and exclusively to the home in question.

Misuse of the property may result, for example, in a burst pipe, in which case the owner would be solely liable. Likewise, if the building is newly constructed and there are defects, the owner would be responsible for remedying them.

In this sense, in the case of a newly built or refurbished flat, it is possible to make a complaint to the builder of the house or to the insurance company. If another owner causes damp in your property, you should claim the repair from him.

If dampness appears in common areas, such as those previously mentioned, it is the responsibility of the community.

Although we have been able to differentiate the areas in which owners or the community assume responsibility, there are still less clear-cut cases leading to confrontation. An example could be a central heating installation.

Here it is necessary to distinguish in the same installation which part of the installation is the responsibility of one or the other. While it is true that the radiator is located in a private area, there is a pipe that runs through this and the other flats in the building.

There is also another pipe whose function is to supply only the dwelling in which the heater is located. This distinction is very important in order to ensure that the repair of the fault is carried out by the right person.

After knowing the type of damp in the community and who is responsible for dealing with it, it is vital to take into account the value of a good maintenance. The consequences of their appearance in the building are harmful to its health.

It is not only the appearance of the houses that is important, but also the damage to the materials, the possible development of fungus and the possible development of allergies and other diseases.

On the part of the homeowners' association it is important to comply with the regular inspections of the building, every ten years. The aim is to check that everything is in order and, if a correction is needed, to make it.

It is essential to maintain the safety and healthiness of the building and is also a requirement of the Technical Building Code (CTE) for Moisture Protection.

On the other hand, there are some habits that can be implemented by the community and individual neighbouring owners. The first one: a preventive maintenance programme should be carried out and a written record should be kept.

It is important to know that it is not advisable to patch up this type of problem. In this case, it is not only necessary to cover the dampness with paint, but also to look for and repair it at the source.

There are also domestic habits such as ventilating the house or frequently cleaning gutters and downpipes. As they say: better safe than sorry.

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29649 - Mijas (Málaga)

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