TIMESHARE FACING A “PULL FACTOR”

LLAMADAThe recent Judgements of the Spanish Supreme Court rendered during the year just ended, 2015, have caused or may cause a tsunami which could ruin the timeshare industry as a result of the “pull factor” created by the interpretation of these Judgements and the application thereof by first instance courts and provincial courts, which has already started.

The doctrine contained in Supreme Court Judgement (SCJ) no. 774/2014 concerning the requirements to be met for the adaptation of timeshare systems in existence before the enactment of the Spanish Act 42/1998, and in SCJ 830/2015, handed down on the same date, regarding the requirements to be met by the subject of a timeshare contract (which, in addition, have both been promptly ratified by Judgements given during the same year so as to fulfil –and this is my personal opinion – the reiteration requirement necessary for Case Law to be considered a source of Law), certainly seem to indicate that the intention of the Supreme Court was to take strong action for the purpose of bringing order to a Sector plagued by a bad reputation it has failed to shake off, sometimes through fault of its own but more often than not due to a factual assumption that the consumer, whatever they say or do and even if all of it is contrary to true facts, actual events or their own actions, IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

In every consumer relationship, greater and more thorough diligence is always demanded from the trader in the fulfilment of its obligations simply because it has the upper hand over the consumer, but the consumer is also demanded to exercise their rights in good face and without abusing their own rights. Just as “bad faith traders” do exist and their dominant position allows them to take greater advantage of their position, bad consumers also exist, and not occasionally or only in isolated cases, but acting together, not only through non-profit organisations for the defence of their own interests, but also through other professionals and traders who use the means provided by the information society and the electronic networks for the obvious purpose of obtaining a personal gain.

Supreme Court Judgements 747/2014 and 830/2015 have filled with bewilderment timeshare resort promoters, companies providing tourism services to those resorts and virtually all the legal operators who, after fifteen years of what appeared to be a correct interpretation of Act 42/1998 of 15 December, have been surprised –if not overruled – by the Supreme Court with a new and, until that moment, almost exclusive interpretation of the requirements to be met for the adaptation of pre-existing systems or the extent of the requirements relating to the subject of the contract.

I have not entitled this opinion article “Timeshare Facing a Pull Factor” because of the existence of some dark conspiracy against this Sector, but to stress that such a “pull factor” does certainly exist, particularly as the possible claims to the courts of justice are being “marketed”.

The pull factor as such takes place when the doctrine established by the Supreme Court in a specific case (and it could not be different in this instance) is taken out of context and isolated and subsequently translated by for-profit operators (an activity which, other considerations aside, is currently lawful) in a simplistic, albeit not totally wrong, interpretation, outside the context of the specific case to which it relates, of the following doctrine:

A.- Doctrine initially contained in SCJ 747/2014 which, in my view, denies the possibility of adapting systems in existence before the enactment of Act 42/1998 by merely giving them public status, which was the form of adaptation used with virtually all timeshare resorts. The Supreme Court has thus established that the “transformation of pre-existing timeshare rights into in-rem or leasehold rights of rotational enjoyment according to the requirements of said Act” is the correct doctrinal interpretation of how adaptations must be performed.

B.- Doctrine contained in SCJ number 830/2015: “In the legal system established by Act 42/1998 of 15 December on rights of rotational enjoyment of holiday accommodation, failure by the contract to determine the unit which constitutes the subject thereof determines the nullity of such a contract, as provided for by Article 1.7 in relation to Article 9.1.3 of the said Act”.

This doctrinal line has been vulgarly, publicly and interestedly translated by trading and legal operators seeking to make a profit in the following statements:

• “Timeshare contracts entered into up to 2012 whose duration is in excess of 50 years are absolutely and radically null and void”.
• “Even if you have used the tourist resorts for 10, 15 or 20 years, you can recover all the money you paid – absolutely the full price you paid”.

• “You can also get back all the money you have paid every year as service fees even if the services have been provided to you”.
• “Additionally, you will not have to pay anything to the lawyers and legal representatives acting on your behalf in the Courts. This will be borne by the seller when they lose the case and, otherwise, your lawyers and legal representatives will not charge you anything”.
They obviously fail to mention that if the claimant loses the case, the claimant’s lawyers may not charge them anything but the Courts will, as a general legal principle, obligate them to pay the court costs and even the fees of the counterparty’s lawyers and legal representatives.
Who would, therefore, reject so many advantages when there is no downside?

It’s like the lottery without even having to pay for the ticket!

I believe it is necessary at this point to analyse whether, on the one hand, the above Case Law –treated as an axiom without the possibility of being disproved whatever the reason argued, however petty, irrelevant or even if based on a mere statement without having to prove anything relating to its truthfulness – can be applicable always or virtually always and in every case as proclaimed by the providers of free legal services or whether, as is my view, the aforementioned Case Law needs to be considered in the context of each specific case and in accordance with the Spanish substantive laws, in some cases, or with the law to which the contract is subject in other cases, without disregarding the fact that jurisdiction may lay with non-Spanish courts in many cases.

On the other hand, the –fundamentally economic and social – consequences of the promised universal lottery also need to be analysed.

In relation to the former, judgements have already been issued by provincial courts whose interpretation is that a brief paragraph from the Supreme Court Judgements may not be applied in every case disregarding the context of the court resolutions of the provincial courts themselves. By way of an example, Judgement 477/2015 rendered by the Provincial Court of Las Palmas, Canary Islands, on 27 November 2015, states that:

As we have seen, the aforementioned SCJ does not resolve a similar situation to the case at hand (where the subject of the transfer is not timeshare rights but condominium) and is therefore not applicable. Consequently, this Court must stick to the criterion previously described in relation to the admissibility of maintaining the pre-existing system”.

I believe that this is the line along which the Instance and Appeal Courts will go when the moment comes in the proceeding to contest other issues which had somehow been taken for granted, to such an extent that they had not been argued by the parties and that, therefore, by virtue of the principle of consistency of judgements, these may not accept or reject matters not raised by the parties in assessing the general aspects of the cases.

And here could be the first flaw of the principle followed by the managers of free legal services who encourage the consumers simply to file claims, without any further consideration, through websites and advertisements saying that the court case is basically won beforehand and that the defendant trader will bear all the expenses and the court costs, as such court costs will be inevitably awarded against the consumer. They obviously omit and fail to mention, as aforesaid, that the claimant can be sentenced to pay the court costs if the court does not accept their claims.

Will the traders who are promoting free legal services be able to promise their clients that they will not lose their right, will not pay any court costs even if they lose the case and that they will not have to pay what they owe? I believe they will not, as they say nothing about these things but simply gloss over them and fail to give any undertakings.

This is the problem with assuring an outcome in the case of a judicial controversy which is to be resolved by an independent judge.

But we also mentioned that this organised pull factor can bring about other economic or social consequences, such as:

  • A huge increase in litigiousness.

  • An escalation of bankruptcy of tourism companies and resorts. Timeshare traders will be unable to reimburse the total price paid by virtue of the vast majority of the contracts entered into over the past 15 to 20 years, during which time accommodation services have been provided, employees have been hired, utilities paid, etc., if even the proportional share of the price of the right of occupation which relates to the time during which such right has been enjoyed would have to be reimbursed.

  • Loss of a very large number of jobs.

  • Loss of the right acquired by those timeshare users who are happy with their right of occupation and want to continue to use it rather than opt for the free lottery.

  • This may be taken to the limit in those cases where there is no promoter at this time and where the resort is directly managed by its members (consumers and users) through the management bodies appointed from their number, i.e. the General Meeting of Members and the Management Committee appointed by it. Will the claimants sue a promoter who ceased to exist years ago or will they sue the other members?

Therefore, earnestness and good faith is needed from the parties, including the providers of free legal services, the traders in the Sector and the consumers and users.

If the consumers must be demanded to act in good faith and to abstain from abusing their right, the traders –in relation to the past – should review their own situation and, where it was not correct, they will have to amend it, if possible through out-of-court procedures and solutions, and for the present and for the future adapt their commercial practices and their contractual documents rigorously and strictly according to the thorough legal rules, seeking to achieve the necessary training of the agents involved in the commercialisation process so that they understand that this is the time of consumers and users and that, consequently, they need to know and respect their legal rights and those which are inherent in a proper commercialisation process.

Francisco J Lizarza – Lizarza Abogados

Marbella, January the 11th, 2015

JORNADAS INFORMATIVAS “EL TIEMPO COMPARTIDO, CLAVE DE FUTURO PARA EL NEGOCIO HOTELERO”

El próximo jueves 21 de mayo de 10:00 a 13:00 horas, ASHOTEL y RDO España celebrarán en el Hotel SANTA BARBARA GOLF AND OCEAN CLUB, una interesante jornada informativa dirigida a inversores, empresarios y profesionales del sector hotelero canario.

 ASHOTEL y la Patronal de Tiempo Compartido, RDO España, entienden que el Tiempo Compartido se postula con fuerza como una alternativa viable para los negocios hoteleros tradicionales, ya que les ofrece la posibilidad de fidelizar al cliente y desestacionalizar su actividad, mejorando sus ingresos y cifras de ocupación en temporada baja.

Las ponencias serán impartidas por expertos en la gestión, explotación y comercialización de complejos de Tiempo Compartido.

La participación es gratuita, previa inscripción. Fecha límite para inscribirse: lunes 18 de mayo.

Inscripción Online

Descargar Programa

Glosario de los nuevos productos vacacionales……nuevas entradas


Se han incorporado nuevos término al Glosario:

TIMESHARE RENTALS

Los periodos en que los alojamientos que se explotan bajo la fórmula de “tiempo compartido” o aprovechamiento por turno que  están “desocupados”,  se suelen arrendar por su titular a terceros (turistas), con lo que de esa forma los titulares de los derechos de ocupación pueden tener un ingreso extra.

En España la naturaleza jurídica de esta clase de “arrendamientos” puede ser discutida tanto a efectos prácticos como teóricos, pero en todo caso no es una cuestión sin importancia, ya que si se trata del “arrendamiento de vivienda por temporada” nos podríamos encontrar con la obligación del arrendador de exigir al arrendatario una fianza equivalente a  dos mensualidades de renta (aunque el arrendamiento sea de una semana),  lo que no ocurre  si se trata de la ocupación de un alojamientos turístico.

La propia Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos de 1994 (modificada el día 04.06.13 ) excluye como arrendamiento (Art. 5.e ):  “ la cesión temporal de uso de la totalidad de una vivienda amueblada y equipada en condiciones de uso inmediato, comercializada o promocionada en canales de oferta turística y realizada con finalidad lucrativa, cuando esté sometida a un régimen específico, derivado de su normativa sectorial”.

La diferencia es que en un arrendamiento llamémosle “ordinario” la edificación objeto del mismo es una vivienda, ya sea para su uso como vivienda habitual o temporal, y en la ocupación de un alojamiento turístico son dos los elementos esenciales que necesariamente han de concurrir: (i) la propia unidad de alojamiento ya sea arquitectónicamente una habitación, apartamento o vivienda singular y (ii) el servicio inherente a los alojamientos turísticos, como recepción, limpieza, etc., y además todo ello en un “complejo de alojamientos turísticos”  y bajo la gestión de una empresa explotadora única; ambos (el complejo y la empresa) inscritos en el registro de turismo correspondiente como garantía de que uno y otro cumplen con los requisitos de la normativa sectorial-turística.

TIMESHARE BRANDING

Una marca prestigiosa y ampliamente conocida es actualmente uno de los más importantes factores de éxito en la comercialización y obviamente ello es aplicable a la industria del alojamiento vacacional.-  Las grandes compañías con sus respectivas marcas han hecho de ello uno de sus principales argumentos de venta, pero las pequeñas compañías, con menor capacidad económica, difícilmente pueden competir por si solas en este sector que tal vez sea el más representativo de una industria globalizada. La respuesta es el  fenómeno del “branding”, es decir la generación de una  marca común de amplia difusión que agrupe a varias compañías del sector, ya sea por iniciativa de esas mismas compañías o por la creación de y la marca por una sola compañía cuyo comercio consiste precisamente en admitir a otros utilizar la marca común, bajo unas precisas reglas y con la retribución a su propietaria.

AND…..

 ACCESO AL GLOSARIO COMPLETO EN: 

http://www.lizarza.com/glosario/

VACATION INDUSTRY GLOSSARY….NEW ENTRIES

New terms have been added to the glossary:

TIMESHARE RENTALS

In the periods during which the units operated under a timeshare or “rotational enjoyment” system are “unoccupied”, the units are often rented out by their owner to third parties (tourists) and the holders of rights of occupation can thus obtain an extra income.

The legal nature of this kind of “rentals” in Spain may be subject to debate both on a practical and on a theoretical level, but the issue is not without importance as, if we are talking about a “seasonal rental of a dwelling house”, we may find that the lessor has the obligation to demand that the renter pay a deposit amounting to two months’ rent (despite the rental period being one week), which does not happen in the case of occupation of a tourist unit.

The Urban Lease Act 1994 (amended on 04/06/13) does not regard as a lease “the temporary assignment of use of a dwelling house in its entirety, furnished and equipped for immediate use, marketed or promoted through tourism channels and rented out with a view to making a profit, where the house is subject to a specific system arising out of the regulations of its own sector”.

 The difference is that in a, let us call it, “ordinary rental”, the building the subject of the lease is a dwelling house, be it intended for use as permanent or as temporary living accommodation, whereas two essential elements must be present  in the occupation of a tourist accommodation unit: (i) the accommodation unit itself, whether from an architectonic point of view it is a room, an apartment or a singular dwelling house; and (ii) the service inherent in tourist accommodation units, such as reception, cleaning, etc., all of which must also be situated in a “tourist accommodation resort” and managed by one only operating company; both of them (the resort and the company) being registered with the relevant tourism registry as guarantee that they both meet he requirements of the sector’s tourism regulations.

TIMESHARE BRANDING

A prestigious, well known brand is currently one of the most important factors to marketing success, and this obviously applies to the holiday accommodation industry.- Large companies have, through their respective brands, made this one of their main selling arguments. Small companies, however, with a lower economic capacity, can hardly compete by themselves in this sector, which may be the most representative of a globalised industry.  A reaction to that is the “branding” concept, i.e. the creation of a common brand with widespread media exposure which comprises several companies of the sector, whether on such companies’ own initiative or as a result of the establishment of a brand by one only company whose business is precisely to allow others to use the common brand according to specific rules and for valuable consideration to its owner.

AND…………….

Access the full glossary on:

http://www.lizarza.com/en/glosario/

ADAPTATION OF PRE-EXISTING TIMESHARE SYSTEMS AND THE NEW SPANISH ACT 4/2012 OF 6th JULY.

1.- The second transitory provision of the former Spanish Act of 1998 on Timeshare or Rotational Enjoyment (Act 42/1998 of 15th December) established the obligation for all timeshare systems in existence prior to its coming into force to be adapted to its own provisions “insofar as such an adaptation is consistent with the legal nature of the rights previously created”.

 The way in which the verb “to adapt” was used in this Act was, in my view, inevitably confusing as to the legal implications of such an obligation. If the first meaning of the verb to adapt in Spanish is to “accommodate, adjust to something else”, we  have to conclude that any pre-existing system should by virtue of the said adaptation have accommodated its legal structure to the new right of “rotational enjoyment”.

 However, such an adaptation, which in a literal sense involved changing the nature of the pre-existing right into the new right of “rotational enjoyment” created ex novo by the Act itself, was only one of the possibilities which the word adaptation includes, as it also included the possibility of:

 –          not changing anything with regard to the legal nature of the pre-existing right albeit an obligation existed to “make it public” by execution of a public deed which should explain the kind of right involved, the legal nature which the said right preserved and an express choice for its duration to continue to be the same for which it had been originally created or shorter. Such a deed of adaptation was then registered at the Land Registry, to which all interested parties have public access, thus providing the protection before third parties which such a registration involves according to Spanish Law; or

–          adopting a mixed solution: to adapt some rights (generally those not yet marketed) to the new legal definition and simply make the pre-existing system public with regard to those already marketed.

 The deadline for such an adaptation to be carried out was TWO YEARS from the coming into force of the Act. Nothing prevented the adaptation from being carried out after the said deadline, provided that evidence of its pre-existence was furnished by any means admitted in Law, albeit this involved the imposition of legal sanctions including the possibility of demanding adaptation through the Courts (final paragraph of 2nd Transitory Provision).

 Experience regarding such a mandatory “adaptation” tells us that only in very few cases were pre-existing systems adapted and therefore changed from a legal point of view into the new rights of “rotational enjoyment”. The same experience leads us to conclude that the adaptation merely consisted of giving public status to the nature and rules of the pre-existing legal system by way of a public deed and that, in most cases, a decision was made to “expressly maintain” its original duration, whether it was over 50 years or indefinite in the case of a Club membership which had been established without any time limitation or it related to multi-ownership or to full ownership by shares of a unit which, by definition, is a perpetual right.

F. Lizarza

 2.- The new Act 4/2012, whereby Directive 2008/122/EC was incorporated into Spanish Law, also has a transitory provision which contemplates numerous rules and different possibilities for adaptation, which in this sense entailed a continuation of the possibilities offered or, where applicable, demanded, by the former Act 42/1998.

 But what Act 42/1997 contemplated as an obligation is only an option in the new Act 4/2012 and, while there were three adaptation rules in the former (adaptation as the transformation of a pre-existing right into a right of “rotational enjoyment” defined by Spanish Law, as the mere publication of the pre-existing right without altering its legal nature or as a combination of the two, i.e. with the transformation of the non-marketed rights and the mere publication of those already marketed), the regulations currently in force offer a wider range which, in summary and stressing the fact that this is the undersigned’s interpretation of the current regulations, is as follows:

  • The rights which existed prior to Act 42/1998 (and, therefore, the legal scheme by which they were created) and were by the transformation of their very nature adapted to the rights of rotational enjoyment (whether they were limited rights in rem or leasehold rights) may, if considered suitable, be adapted again to any of the modalities recognised by the new Act 4/2012.
  1. Similarly, the pre-existing rights which were merely made public can be so published again, if considered suitable (as this is not mandatory as aforesaid), in order to be adapted to any one of the said modalities.
  2. Special mention should be made to the possibility similarly to adapt to the new Act 4/2012 the contracts and legal systems which, although in existence before the 1998 Act, were never adapted to Act 42/1998, although a time limitation is established on the duration of these rights whereby their lifetime may not exceed that established as non-adaptation penalty in the former Act, i.e. their lifetime may not be in excess of fifty years from the date on which the said rule came into force (5th January 1999) even if they had been originally constituted for a longer period or their duration was indefinite.

 It is interesting at this point to analyse what will happen after the elapse of the maximum 50-year period with the legal systems which existed  before, and were never adapted to, Act 42/1998, even if only in respect of the two majority systems – i.e. the personal rights system subject to non-Spanish Law called Club/Trustee and the functional community of property system subject to Spanish Law called “multi-ownership”.

 My view is that, in the first case, the Club (and, therefore, the system) must be dissolved or liquidated unless an extension thereof is agreed by its members, although this would not be binding on the dissenting members who may always choose to leave the Club, obviously also in this case with the possibility of the relevant civil sanctions being applied.

 In the second case, the functional multi-ownership community would be terminated by operation of Law and it would become an ordinary community of property, which would entail the application of the regulation provided for by the Civil Code whereby the allocation of annual occupation periods inherent in each owner’s undivided share would disappear. It is questionable whether each member would be entitled to a preferential right of purchase in the event that any owner decided to transfer their share, or that each member would be entitled to apply for the division of the communal thing (if capable of being divided) or the sale thereof for the proceeds to be distributed in proportion to the share owned by each member, as this would be a functional community which is characterised by the purpose of the property. I understand that, on the basis of this interpretation, such rights of division (which on the other hand is physically impossible) or pre-emption would not apply, but this is open to debate.

 From the foregoing and the literal wording of the Sole Transitory Provision of Act 4/2012 can be inferred that all systems in existence before the enactment of the new Act 4/2012 can be adapted to it, whether by its mere publication or by transforming its very legal nature “in any one of the forms” recognised by the said Act.

 Therefore, in order to study the content of the adaptation to the new Act where the legal nature of the pre-existing right is transformed, the various forms of adaptation admitted by the said Act need to be specified.

 The modalities expressly admitted in Title II of the Act are obviously two: the limited right in rem of rotational enjoyment defined by Spanish Law and the personal-leasehold right of rotational enjoyment.

 But also, in my opinion, Section 23.8 recognises the validity of any other contractual modality of creation of personal rights or rights of an associative nature with the same objective scope, constituted under and on the terms provided for by the regulations of the EU and, particularly, in accordance with the Rome I Regulation, i.e. personal rights subject to non-Spanish Law.

This rule, therefore, would indicate that voluntary adaptation to Act 4/2012 of systems constituted before its coming into force (whether or not before the 1998 Act) may transform the pre-existing system in one of the following ways:

 –          Personal right in rem systems, whether or not subject to Spanish Law, in existence before the enactment of Act 42/1998, or personal right systems subject to non-Spanish Law constituted before or after the said Act under the 1980 Rome Convention (and, where applicable, the EU Regulation ROME I), can be transformed into legally-defined right of rotational enjoyment systems, of an in-rem or a leasehold nature, but may in no event become personal rights subject to Spanish Law (due to their lack of legal recognition) which, on the other hand, seems incomprehensible.

  • Thus, the predominant pre-existing Club-Trustee system or any other system created under international rules may be transformed into a right of rotational enjoyment system as defined by Spanish Law, in the form of a limited right in rem or seasonal leasehold, or into any other kind of legal system subject to non-Spanish law if so allowed by the latter.
  • It is more questionable to determine whether the system that was usual in Spain before the 1998 Act (i.e. multi-ownership or functional community), in existence before Act 42/1998, can be adapted following the same transformation as aforesaid, that is, even becoming a personal right subject to non-Spanish law. I understand that it cannot as, owing to its in-rem nature, the Spanish rule applies (lex rei sitae – law of the place where the property is situated) and neither 1980’s Rome Convention nor the Rome I Regulation are applicable.

 –          The right in rem of rotational enjoyment defined by Spanish Law, whether created as a new right following the coming into force of Act 42/1998 or by modification of existing rights in accordance with the latter, may also be transformed into the personal-leasehold right of rotational enjoyment defined by Law, and vice versa.

 But such legally-defined rights of rotational enjoyment, where they are of a personal nature, may also be changed into any “personal” right subject to non-Spanish law. The most controversial issue will be the position of those who dissent from such an agreement or fail to attend: The rules and regulations of the modified system will apply in any event.

 I am aware that my interpretation of the latter possibility, which I believe the legal regulation allows, may not be shared, but I must stress that its literal wording does allow it as there is no express or tacit prohibition to do so and, more importantly, there does not seem to be any valid reason to prohibit it.

 –          There is one final possibility, i.e. adapting the “marketed” rights only to the extent that they are made public or not to making them public at all while the legal nature of the “non-marketed” rights is transformed in the manner allowed by the former Act 42/1998. The latter Act having been repealed, there is no specific legal coverage to do this, but I consider that it is not in contravention of any law either.

 All of the above, as has been pointed out, is without prejudice to the mandatory observance of the legal regulations applicable to each system and of its own rules in passing the transformation resolutions and without prejudice to the limits set by the respect of the rights acquired by each holder of a specific right.

Francsco J. Lizarza

LA ADAPTACIÓN DE LOS REGÍMENES PRE-EXISTENTES DE TIEMPO COMPARTIDO Y LA NUEVA LEY ESPAÑOLA 4/2012 DE 6 DE JULIO.

 1.- En la anterior Ley española de Aprovechamiento por Turno o de Tiempo Compartido de 1998 (Ley 42/1998 de 15 de Diciembre), en su Disposición Transitoria 2º,  estableció la obligación de que todos los regímenes preexistentes a su entrada en vigor se adaptaran a sus propias disposiciones “en cuanto fueren conforme a la naturaleza jurídica de los derechos pre-constituidos”.

La palabra “adaptar” entiendo que fue adoptada por esa ley de un modo que llevaba forzosamente a confusión del contenido jurídico de esa obligación. Si la primera acepción en español de la palabra adaptar es la de “acomodar, ajustar algo a otra cosa”, tendríamos que concluir que los regímenes preexistentes hubiesen debido en virtud de esa adaptación acomodar su propia estructura legal al nuevo derecho de “aprovechamiento por turno”.

Pero esa adaptación en el sentido literal de la palabra que implicaba cambiar la naturaleza del derecho pre-existente al nuevo derecho de “aprovechamiento por turno” creado ex novo por la propia Ley, era una sola de las posibilidades que se incluían en la palabra adaptación, ya que también se incluía en ella la posibilidad de:

–       bien  no cambiar nada en cuanto a la naturaleza jurídica del derecho pre-existente, pero si era obligatorio “publicitarlo” mediante el otorgamiento de una escritura pública que explicase la clase de derecho de que se trataba, la propia naturaleza jurídica que conservaba y que expresamente se optaba porque siguiera con la misma duración con la que se había sido constituido o menos.- Otorgado ese título de adaptación, se inscribía en el registro de la propiedad al que tienen acceso público todos los interesados, con  la protección frente a terceros que ello implica conforme a la ley española.

–       O bien  una solución mixta: adaptar al nuevo tipo legal algunos (generalmente los no comercializados) y simplemente publicitar  el régimen preexistente respecto de los comercializados.

        El plazo para realizar esta adaptación era de DOS AÑOS a partir de la entrada en vigor de la Ley. Trascurrido el plazo, nada impedía que se hiciera, acreditando siempre la preexistencia por cualquier medio admitido en derecho y todo ello sin perjuicio de las sanciones legales que implicaba, entre ellas la posibilidad de solicitarse judicialmente  la adaptación (D. T. 2º  in fine).

La experiencia de esa obligatoria “adaptación, en un sentido u otro, ha demostrado que sólo en muy pocos casos, se adaptaron los regímenes preexistentes transformándose legalmente en los nuevos derechos de “aprovechamiento por turno”.- Esa misma experiencia nos lleva a concluir que la adaptación se limitó a publicitar por medio de  escritura pública la naturaleza y normas del sistema o régimen legal preexistente y en casi todos los casos también se optó por “conservar expresamente” su duración inicial, ya fuera de más de 50 años o “indefinida” si se trataba de un derecho de afiliación a un club constituido sin límite temporal o si se trataba de multipropiedad o propiedad plena por cuotas de un alojamiento, que por definición es a perpetuidad.

DSC02547

2.- La nueva Ley 4/2012 que incorpora al derecho español la Directiva 2008/122/CE también tiene una disposición transitoria que a su vez contempla diversas normas y diferentes posibilidades de adaptación, siguiendo en esto las posibilidades que ofrecía o que en otro caso exigía, la anterior Ley 42/1998.

Pero lo que en la Ley 42/1998 era una obligación en la nueva Ley 4/2012 es una opción, y si las formas de adaptación en la primera eran tres (adaptación como transformación de derecho preexistente a derecho típico “español” de aprovechamiento por turno, como meramente publicitación de derecho pre existente sin transformación de su naturaleza jurídica o como combinación de ambas, es decir con transformación de los derechos no comercializados y con mera publicitación de los comercializados), la normativa hoy vigente abre un abanico más amplio que de forma resumida y haciendo la salvedad de que esta es la interpretación de las actuales normas que hace el que suscribe, son en síntesis las siguientes:

1.- Los derechos preexistentes a la Ley 42/1998 (por lo tanto el régimen legal que los crea) que ya fueron adaptados con transformación de su naturaleza jurídica a derecho típico de aprovechamiento por turno (tanto si era derecho real limitado como arrendaticio) pueden, si así interesa (dado que no es obligatorio)  volver a ser adaptado a alguna de las modalidades reconocidas en la nueva Ley 4/2012.

2.- En el mismo sentido los regímenes pre-existentes que fueron meramente publicitados pueden volver a hacerlo,  si así interesa (dado que como digo no es obligatorio) para adaptarlos a algunas de las dichas modalidades.

3.- Mención especial merece la posibilidad de adaptar en la misma forma a la nueva Ley 4/2012 los contratos y regímenes que, siendo preexistentes a la Ley de 1998,  no fueron adaptados a la Ley 42/1998, pero en este caso se establece un límite temporal para la vigencia de estos derechos y es que tendrán como máximo la misma duración que como sanción a la no adaptación se estableció en aquella Ley, es decir que su duración máxima, aunque se hubieren constituido por tiempo superior o fueren indefinidos, no podrá superar los cincuenta  años a contar del día en que esa norma entro en vigor, es decir a contar del día 5 de enero de 1.999.

Interesa en este punto analizar qué ocurrirá cuando transcurra el citado plazo máximo de 50 años   para los  regimenes preexistentes y no adaptados a la Ley 42/1998, aunque sólo sea con los dos regímenes mayoritarios, es decir el régimen personal llamado de “club-trustee” sujeto a ley no española y el régimen sujeto a ley española de comunidad funcional de bienes denominada de “multipropiedad”.

Entiendo que el primer caso se deberá disolver o liquidar el “Club” y por lo tanto el régimen, a no ser que se acordara por los socios su prórroga, aunque no podría obligar a los disidentes, que siempre podrán separarse del club, obviamente también en este caso con la posibilidad de que se aplicasen las sanciones civiles pertinentes.

En el segundo caso se extinguiría “ex lege” la comunidad funcional de multipropiedad que se transformaría en comunidad ordinaria de bienes, lo que conllevaría la aplicación de la regulación prevista en el Código Civil, es decir que desaparece por una parte la atribución de turnos anuales de ocupación inherente a la parte indivisa de cada propietario. Es discutible  que cada comunero tuviera  derecho de adquisición preferente en caso de que alguno quiera transmitir su parte y también cualquier comunero pudiera  solicitar la división de la cosa común si fuere divisible o su venta para repartir el producto resultante en proporción a la parte de que es propietario, pues se trataría de una comunidad funcional, caracterizada por el destino del bien. Entiendo que, partiendo de tal consideración, no procedería tales derechos de división  (por otra parte físicamente imposible) ni de retracto, pero el tema no deja de ser opinable.

De todo lo anterior y de la literalidad de la Disposición Transitoria Única de la Ley 4/2012, se puede colegir que todos los regímenes preexistentes a la nueva ley 4/2012 se pueden adaptar a ésta, ya sea de forma meramente publicitaria o ya sea transformando su propia naturaleza jurídica “en cualquiera de la modalidades” reconocidas en esa Ley.

Para analizar por tanto cual puede el contenido de esa adaptación transformadora de la naturaleza jurídica del derecho pre-existente a esta nueva Ley, habrá que concretar cuáles son las modalidades por ella admitidas.

Obviamente dos son las modalidades expresamente admitidas en el Título II de la Ley, es decir el derecho real limitado típico de aprovechamiento por turno y el derecho personal-arrendaticio de aprovechamiento por turno.

Pero además, en mi opinión, el propio artículo 23.8 reconoce la validez de cualquier otra modalidad contractual de constitución de derecho personal o de tipo asociativo con el mismo ámbito objetivo, constituido  al amparo y en los términos previstos en las normas de la UE y en especial conforme al Reglamento Roma I, es decir los personales  sometidos a ley no española.

Esa norma viene por tanto a indicar que la adaptación voluntaria a la Ley 4/2012 de los constituidos a antes de su entrada en vigor  (sean o no anteriores a la Ley de 1998)  puede transformar el régimen preexistente de alguna de las siguientes formas:

–       Los regímenes de derecho real o personal, sujetos o no a ley española, preexistentes a la Ley 42/1998 o personales sujetos a Ley no española constituidos, con anterioridad  o con posterioridad a aquella  al amparo del Convenio de Roma de 1980 (y, en su caso, al Reglamento comunitario  ROMA I)   se pueden transformar en derechos típicos de aprovechamiento por turno, de naturaleza real o arrendaticia, pero en ningún caso en derecho personal sujeto a ley española (al no tener reconocimiento legal), lo que por otra parte parece incomprensible.

  • Así el mayoritario régimen pre-existente de club-truste o cualquier otro, constituido al amparo de normas internacionales, puede transformarse en derecho típico de aprovechamiento por turno, como derecho real limitado o de arrendamiento por temporada, o bien puede transformarse en cualquier otra clase de régimen sujeto a ley no española, si esta lo permite.
  • Más discutible es determinar si es posible que el régimen usual en España  antes de la Ley de 1998 (es decir la llamada multipropiedad  o comunidad funcional ),  preexistente a la Ley 42/1998,  se puede adaptar transformándose de la misma forma anterior, es decir también incluso en derecho personal sujeto a ley no española. Entiendo que no, pues al tener naturaleza real,  es de aplicación la norma española (lex rei sitae) y no son de aplicación ni el Convenio de Roma de 1980 ni el Reglamento ROMA I.

–       El régimen típico de derecho real de  aprovechamiento por turno constituido ex novo a  partir de la entrada en vigor de la Ley 42/1998 o por transformación de los pre-existentes a la misma puede transformase nuevamente en el también típico derecho personal-arrendaticio de aprovechamiento por turno y viceversa.

Pero también estos derechos típicos de aprovechamiento por turno, si son de naturaleza  personal, podrían  transformase en cualquier derecho “personal” sujeto a ley no española. La cuestión   más polémica será la situación de quienes disientan del acuerdo o no asistan: Habrá que estar al tenor de  las normas reguladoras del régimen trasformado, en todo caso.

Sé que esta última posibilidad que creo permite la norma legal puede no ser compartida, pero vuelvo a indicar que al menos su literalidad lo permite, sin que haya prohibición expresa o tácita para ello y lo que es más importante sin que parezca que exista razón válida para prohibición alguna.

Queda una última posibilidad, que es adaptar de forma meramente publicitaria o no publicitar los derechos “comercializados” y sí adaptar con transformación de su naturaleza jurídica los derechos “no comercializados” en consonancia con lo que permitía la anterior Ley 42/1998.  Derogada esa ley no existe cobertura legal específica para hacerlo, pero entiendo que ello tampoco contraviene norma alguna.

Todo lo anterior, como se ha indicado,  es sin perjuicio de la necesaria observancia de las normas legales aplicables a cada régimen y sus propias normas para adoptar los acuerdos de transformación y sin perjuicio del límite que supone el respeto a los derechos adquiridos de cada uno de los titulares del derecho concreto.

Francisco J Lizarza

NORMATIVA COMUNITARIA Y LEY ESPAÑOLA DE APROVECHAMIENTO POR TURNO

 Artículo doctrinal de José Manuel Hernández Antolín

Aunque hace ya  más de un año que se incorporó en ley española la Directiva 2008/112/CE de Aprovechamiento por Turno. Recientemente se publicó  un extenso artículo del Registrador de la Propiedad excedente y Notario Sr. Hernández Antolín en el Libro denominado “Estudios de Derecho Civil en Homenaje al Profesor Joaquín José Ram Albesa”, con el título “El Estado Actual de la Legislación sobre el Derecho de Aprovechamiento por Turno: Directiva Comunitaria y Futura Norma Interna”.

Estimamos que en un documento de consulta muy importante para conocer la génesis de la actual Ley 4/12 de 6 de julio de 2012 de Aprovechamiento por Turno de Bienes Inmuebles de Uso Turístico.

Además disponemos de la versión actualizada por el propio Sr. Hernández Antolín tras culminar el proceso legislativo de la citada Ley con su promulgación.

Ambos textos puede ser consultados en

www.lizarza.com/repertorio  –     entradas días 2012.08.08 y 2013.10.05