Uruguay: Propiedad Horizontal: Deuda por gastos comunes – Ley 19.604

Last Updated: 4 May 2018
Article by María Cecilia Rivas

Recientemente se promulgó la Ley No. 19.604, que modifica el régimen de gastos comunes y demás expensas que abonan los copropietarios de edificios en régimen de propiedad horizontal. Un cambio importante que debe ser difundido debidamente.

A fines del mes de marzo, varios años después de haber sido presentado el primer proyecto en la materia, se promulgó la Ley 19.604, que modifica el régimen de gastos comunes y demás expensas que pagan los copropietarios de edificios en régimen de propiedad horizontal.

Para situarnos en el tema, partamos del concepto que nos brinda la ley madre en materia de Propiedad Horizontal (Ley 10.751), que en su Artículo 5 establece que "Cada propietario deberá contribuir a las expensas necesarias a la administración, conservación y reparación de los bienes comunes, así como al pago de la prima de seguro, en proporción al valor de su piso o departamento, sin perjuicio de las estipulaciones expresas de las partes (...)".

El retraso en el pago de los gastos o expensas comunes genera una gran problemática. Por un lado el deudor está incumpliendo con un deber de solidaridad frente al conjunto de copropietarios, de contribuir con las expensas necesarias para el funcionamiento correcto de los servicios de la copropiedad, y el adecuado cuidado y mantenimiento de los espacios comunes. Pero por otro lado, en varias ocasiones el incumplidor que intenta hacer frente a su obligación, ve mermada o extinta dicha posibilidad, cuando se le hacen recargos excesivos. Este fue uno de los motores que impulsó este nuevo texto normativo.

Nueva Ley 19.604 – Origen

  De la exposición de motivos de la referida Ley se desprende que lo que se busca es unificar el régimen, pretendiendo obtener certeza jurídica en ciertos aspectos que rigen la materia, en concreto la tasa de interés aplicable y el plazo de prescripción.

Al dejar librado este tema a la autonomía de la voluntad, cada edificio y cada asamblea de copropietarios establecían una solución distinta para la aprobación de cuentas por deuda de expensas y gastos comunes (monto de la deuda, multas, recargos, forma de cobro, etc). Si bien la intención era reforzar el cumplimiento, en los hechos esto derivó en un endeudamiento desmedido que hacían incobrables las deudas, por ello la necesidad de establecer un tope al monto del interés a percibir.

Debemos tener presente que cuando hablamos de la obligación de abonar las expensas comunes nos estamos refiriendo a una obligación civil, con la única finalidad de contribuir con los gastos que genera la administración y mantenimiento del edificio, por ello se entendió que lo mejor era adoptar los criterios generales que nuestro derecho ya establece para las obligaciones corrientes, unificando el régimen y tendiendo a obtener un trato igualitario a quienes se encuentran sometidos al régimen de propiedad horizontal.

En cuanto a la prescripción, si bien tiene sentido que la misma opere ante la ineficiencia de los copropietarios por su inacción en tiempo y forma para obtener el cobro, no siempre se debe a su responsabilidad, sino que en la práctica es usual que otras causas impidan concretar las intimaciones y el cobro o la ejecución de la hipoteca recíproca por gastos comunes impagos.

Modificaciones en el régimen de gastos comunes

El nuevo texto normativo, que consta de un artículo único, si bien sustituye el artículo 14 del Decreto Ley 14.560 (en la redacción dada por el artículo 2° del Decreto Ley 15.220), mantiene incambiado el primer inciso, en lo que refiere a que "La cuenta de expensas y demás gastos comunes (...) adeudada por un copropietario, formulada por el administrador y aprobada por la Asamblea constituirá título ejecutivo (...)", siempre que estos hechos resulten acreditados a través de un testimonio notarial del acta de la asamblea celebrada de conformidad con el reglamento de copropiedad o la ley, el cual tendrá el valor probatorio de un instrumento público.

La innovación está dada por la forma de liquidar la deuda, la cual ahora se establece que se actualizará de acuerdo con el Decreto Ley 14.500, independientemente de que el pago se reclame o no por la vía judicial o arbitral, devengando un interés del 12% anual, el que no se capitalizará. De esto se desprende que la tasa de interés se duplicó respecto de la legal y que además no se requiere la presentación de la demanda, sino que los intereses correrán desde la exigibilidad de cada uno de los pagos adeudados.

Por tratarse de una obligación periódica, se entendió que el régimen aplicable de prescripción debía ser el establecido por el artículo 1222 del Código Civil, estableciéndose claramente que el plazo de prescripción es de cuatro años, con la finalidad de ordenar las reclamaciones y los derechos de las partes, despejando varias dudas que existían al respecto.

Por último, en el inciso final del artículo único de la ley objeto del presente, se establece que la misma es de orden público, y por tanto se aplica a todos los regímenes de propiedad horizontal y condominios existentes, sin importar las estipulaciones contractuales o de los reglamento de copropiedad que pudieran existir.

Conclusión

Esta ley, al unificar el régimen busca contribuir a una relación armoniosa y equilibrada entre los copropietarios, pretendiendo una "mayor justicia, otorgando certeza y previniendo abusos".

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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