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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Under new order, condo complaints to be evaluated in DACO region of origin

Interim Consumer Affairs Secretary Lisoannette González Ruiz

By The Star Staff

The interim secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym), Lisoannette González Ruiz, announced on Tuesday the creation of a new protocol to be followed by the Special Division for Adjudication of Condominium Complaints that will empower regional offices to evaluate complaints.

“At DACO we are always vigilant with regard to consumer rights. One area in which we are constantly identifying viable alternatives to streamline procedures is horizontal property,” González Ruiz said in a written statement. “To support these efforts, I signed Administrative Order 2023-004, which, among other things, decentralizes the evaluation process for condominium complaints, empowering the agency’s five regions, Arecibo, Caguas, Mayagüez, Ponce and San Juan, to address these disputes. This will make the process more expeditious.”

“Our regional offices have the resources and first-class professionals to deal with complaints associated with condominiums,” she added. “What we are looking for here is to make it easier for conflict resolution. The director of the Special Division for Adjudication of Condominium Complaints, Christine Auger Pinzón, and her work team have the capacity and experience to make the processes faster, always ensuring the rights of all those involved.”

According to the new order, the director of Special Division for Adjudication of Condominium Complaints will have the responsibility of assigning the cases directly to the administrative judges of the special division according to the region to which the case belongs. Each regional office will adjudicate the condominium cases that are filed under its region. In the cases belonging to the San Juan Region, all the administrative judges of the special division will be assigned randomly by the director so that there is an equitable assignment of cases.

Meanwhile, if multiple condominium complaints are filed where more than one regional office may have jurisdiction and their consolidation proceeds, the matter will be referred to the attention of the director, who will take into consideration the place of residence of the majority of the plaintiffs and will determine whether or not the consolidation as such proceeds.

After the resolution of a complaint has been issued, if one of the parties goes to the appellate forum, it will fall to the litigation division of the regional office that issued the corresponding resolution to attend to the administrative review, except if the case belongs to the regional office of San Juan, but was treated in another. In this situation, the administrative review will be handled by the litigation division of the San Juan regional office.

Similarly, if a petition to enforce order is filed, it must be addressed by the regional office that issued the resolution, except when the case belongs to the San Juan region.

Law 129-2020, better known as the Puerto Rico Condominium Law, as well as its two subsequent amendments (Law 83-2021 and Law 50-2023), are the basis for the regulation of horizontal property in Puerto Rico.

The law is the basis for the development of the New Condominium Regulation 9383, which went into force on June 6, 2022 as the regulatory platform for horizontal property under the jurisdiction of DACO.

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