Through a single article, Law N° 19.604 dated March 21st, 2018 and still not published in the Official Gazette, modifies the regime of common expenses and other costs paid by the co-owners of a building under horizontal property and condominiums, thus replacing the provisions of art. 14 of Decree-Law No. 14.560.

According to the explanatory statement, the purpose of the law is to unify the regime of horizontal property, granting equal treatment to all those who are subject to its regime.

In this way, it is maintained that costs and other common expenses (article 5 of Law No. 10.751) owed by a co-owner, formulated by the administrator and approved by the Assembly, will constitute an executive title, provided these facts are certified by means of a testimony of the meeting minutes held in accordance with the co-ownership regulation, which will have the probative value of a public instrument (as established in article 7 of Decree-Law No. 14.560).

The innovations are given by the way the debt is updated, which will be done according to the provisions of Decree-Law No. 14.500, regardless of whether the payment is claimed or not by judicial or arbitral means, and will accrue an interest of 12% (twelve percent) annually, which will not be capitalized.

As it can be observed, on the one hand, the interest rate doubled, not requiring the filing of the demand. Thus, interest will run from the enforceability of each of the payments owed (according to the notion of article 1502 of the Civil Code).

On the other hand, the prohibition of the capitalization of interest is one of the measures adopted by the law, with the purpose of ending with a practice that made the debt for this kind of expenses become unpayable and uncollectible.

Drawing from the premise that the obligation to pay for common expenses is of a civil nature, whose sole purpose is to contribute to the expenses generated by the administration and maintenance of the building, it cannot become a commercial operation for a group that is just a center of imputation of rights.

Also, when constituting a periodic obligation, its statute of limitations must be as established in art. 1222 of the Civil Code, which is four years. Finally, it is established that the law is of public order, and therefore applicable to all horizontal property regimes, regardless of the provisions against it that may have been agreed upon in co-ownership agreements or regulations.

Montevideo, April 2018