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Accessibility: use of baby strollers in common areas

Accessibility: use of baby stroller in common areas

The basic guidelines to follow in the accessibility of our community of owners

For any individual with a mobility disability, the fact of having adequate access in their community is fundamental. This is a basic need for these people. In addition, to this group, we must add that of the elderly who need access facilities. Having this accessibility is a fundamental right related to the freedom to move around, to communicate, and to have a decent home.

One of the causes of discrimination in our country is the same lack of accessibility for people with disabilities in Spain. For all this, the national legal system contemplates some methods to improve this accessibility to housing. They are visualized in the following regulations:

– In Law 49/1960, of July 21, regarding Horizontal Property, in the writing given by Royal Decree Law 7/2019 of March 1 (referring to measures of an urgent nature in relation to housing and rental).

-In Law 15/1995 of May 30, 1995, on «limits to the ownership of real estate to eliminate architectural barriers for people with disabilities».

-In the amendment of Royal Decree Law 7/2019 of March 1 regarding letter f of Article 9 of Law 49/1960 of July 21. In this, with respect to the Horizontal Property, it must «contribute according to the community of owners to attend the works of conservation and repair of the property, as well as the works of accessibility included in article 10 paragraph b of this Law. The reserve fund, whose ownership corresponds for all purposes to the community, will be endowed with an amount which, in no case, may be less than 10% of its last ordinary budget».

In short, the rights that cover this matter and regulate it according to the Horizontal Property Law (LPH), are referred to the need for universal access by means of the works and works that guarantee it. All this will be related to the correct use of the common elements, such as the installation of ramps, elevators, etc.

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Occupying the common areas of the building, what is legal and what is not?


We have all seen or heard at some time that a neighbor uses the common areas at will in a personal way. In some cases this is done sporadically, but in others, personal items end up occupying these areas for weeks or even months.

As stated in the Horizontal Property Law and art. 396 of the Civil Code, a neighbor can enjoy some spaces of common use, as long as he respects the rest of the neighbors and what is determined in the statutes of the community of owners. It is there where the use and the consequences of non-compliance of these spaces must be contemplated.

The neighboring owner who wants to make this use of the common areas will have to request it to the community, which will make a revision of the statutes to corroborate if the plenary will give it for good. The owner who wants to go ahead with this process must communicate it in writing. This will have to be included in the agenda of the neighborhood meeting, where he/she will have to obtain the unanimity of the neighbors to carry it out.

What about a bicycle, for example, can it be left on the landing of a building? As we said before, and according to the law, the direct answer would be no. The landing is a passageway. The landing is an area of passage, and it will be necessary to respect the correct movement through the common areas so that all the neighbors can transit normally. Therefore, a single neighbor cannot take over an area that everyone needs to pass through. Next, we will talk in depth about the use of the baby stroller in these areas.

Using my baby’s stroller, can I leave it in a common area of the building?

We have already seen that in any community of owners there will always be neighbors who occupy certain common areas without asking the rest of the owners. Many people assume that they can leave their bicycle or baby stroller in the common areas without any problem. But the reality is that if you as a neighbor-owner are bothered by someone’s personal item being in the middle of a common area, you have every right to complain and have it removed.

This complaint can be carried out through a cease and desist action. The first step is to ask the neighbor as cordially as possible if he/she can stop this private use. He will be informed, in turn, of the steps to be taken in case he wants to keep his things in the common area. The neighbor can answer in two ways, either positively (which he has no more) or negatively (in this case you will have to talk to the president in order to determine, through the courts, if the object can be occupying this common space in the building.

If, therefore, you live in a building that is old, and you do not have an elevator, it is very likely that you have an unused stairwell. And if in addition, in the building as such there are not many babies, you probably wonder if you can use that space to leave the stroller there. The answer is yes, but not in any way.

The first thing you should keep in mind is that you cannot get in the way of the neighbors or obstruct an evacuation route in case of emergency.

You must also bear in mind the conditions required by the Horizontal Property Law:

-In art.9.1 section a: «To respect the installations of the community and to avoid damages and damages at all times».

-In art. 9.1 section g: «Diligence in the use of the property and in their relations with the other owners».

-In art. 7.1: «The owner may not make any alteration whatsoever to the rest of the property».

And once all this is known, how do you request the occupation of the common areas to store objects for private use? There are several ways:

The colloquial one: easy to carry out especially in those communities of neighbors where there are no bad feelings and it is easy to talk to the neighbors. Explaining to them that climbing the stairs with a baby stroller is a daily inconvenience, it is quite likely that they will give you the corresponding permission.

The legal: similar to the previous one, but with the difference of speaking directly with the president of the community, telling him to include the subject in the point of the day of the following meeting that is going to be celebrated.

It must be approved unanimously if that particular area does not have a specific use (as indicated in art.17.3 of the Horizontal Property Law). In short, to give a different use to the specific common area. It must be taken into account that these majorities will diminish if the space does not have a specific use or if there is money involved. Therefore, each case must be analysed individually. If an agreement is reached, the terms of use should be established and a specific period of time created (when the child grows up, there is no reason to leave the cart there).

-If you do not get permission in any of the above mentioned ways, the only thing you can do to avoid taking the stroller up and down the stairs will be to leave it in the trunk of your car.

We cannot ignore, that even if the meeting has approved this measure, any owner «who has saved the vote» will be able to challenge it in court if he justifies that this use of the common areas is harming him.

couple using a pram

What if I want to make a permanent use of the common area for the baby’s stroller, for example? In this case, apart from passing the matter through the Board of neighbors, you will have to take it to the Land Registry. Surely your neighbors will grant it to you as long as you provide them with something in return that is of interest to them.

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