Is it possible to publish on the notice board of my homeowners’ association a list of neighbors in arrears?
The fact of publishing on the notice board of the community of owners a list with the defaulting neighbors of the building, without a doubt, is one of the most controversial issues in housing during the last few years. Especially taking into account the number of sanctions imposed by the Spanish Data Protection Agency due to this issue.
Not long ago, the General Data Protection Regulation came into force along with Organic Law 3/2018, which deals with the protection of personal data, in turn guaranteeing a series of digital rights. We will comment on this below.
The protection of citizens’ personal data is not something recent, we had already been talking about it in the Organic Law 15/1999 of December 13. In its article 11 we find the following «Personal data subject to processing may only be communicated to a third party for the fulfilment of purposes directly related to the legitimate functions of the transferor and the transferee with the prior consent of the data subject. 2. The consent required in the preceding paragraph shall not be necessary: a) When the transfer is authorized in a law».
As we have already mentioned, these aspects have hardly changed over time. Article 8.1 of the GDPR mentions the following «The processing of personal data may only be considered to be based on the fulfilment of a legal obligation enforceable on the controller, in the terms provided for in Article 6.1.c) of Regulation (EU) 2016/679, when so provided by a rule of European Union law or a rule having the status of a law, which may determine the general conditions of the processing and the types of data subject to the processing as well as the transfers that proceed as a consequence of the fulfilment of the legal obligation.»
And in relation to this issue and the convening of Meetings, there is the Law 49/1960 on the LPH of July 21 with its article 16.2. which mentions «The notice of meeting shall contain a list of the owners who are not up to date in the payment of debts due to the community and shall warn of the deprivation of the right to vote». Article 9, h) of this same law indicates that the notification of the notice of the meeting must be made at the address provided by the defaulting owner, and in the event that it is impossible to serve this notice at the address «it will be understood to have been served by posting the corresponding notice on the notice board of the community, or in a visible place of general use provided for this purpose, with a diligence stating the date and reasons for which this form of notification is made».
Let us pass then to what interests us: How can we avoid a sanction of the Spanish Data Protection Agency? For this the community of owners will have to execute an accreditation saying that it has tried to contact the defaulting neighbor through certified mail or burofax, for example, but the notification has not been finally carried out (not by fault of the community of owners, of course).
In this case, if a Meeting of Owners has been called and we have tried to contact the neighbor in question so that he/she attends the meeting, without response, we can then publish the details of the defaulting neighbor on the notice board without his/her consent . However, the information that is published must be truthful and must not contain negative judgments towards the individual that could damage his or her honour. All this is mentioned in the judgment of March 21, 2014 of the Supreme Court:
«In effect, firstly, because the information disseminated is not only of interest to the community of owners, but is also covered by the specific legislation on horizontal property. Secondly, because such information complies with the truthfulness requirement (…). Thirdly, because the communication in question, in accordance with the requirements of the LPH, does not show any intention to undermine the honor of the appellant, and does not contain value judgments, nor injurious or insulting expressions that could be detrimental to his honor, and its dissemination within the framework of the interested parties is appropriate».
The list of delinquent neighbors can be published on the bulletin board of the building, thanks to the regulation with the rank of law of the LPH, as long as these requirements are met:
A Neighbors’ Meeting has been held
It has not been possible to notify the Meeting to the delinquent neighbor
It must be possible to prove ineffective notification.
That the information appearing in the list is completely truthful.
And that no disrespectful comments appear in the list.
We also recommend that you take a look at this video to learn more about how to proceed when dealing with delinquent neighbors:
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