You own a condominium unit, either to live in or to rent. How can you ensure that it is managed optimally? What are the factors to consider? Condominium ownership is interesting because it makes it easier to become a homeowner, since certain investments and costs are shared by everyone. However, condominiums can be difficult to understand. These few lines will help you to better understand its facets and consequently, to ensure a good management of your property.
A condominium, also known by the abbreviation PPE, is a form of co-ownership introduced into the Swiss Civil Code in 1965. It includes private parts – i.e. the dwelling and any annexes (cellars, attics, etc.), over which the owner has an exclusive right. The condominium also includes common parts, of which the members of the PPE are named co-owners. The stairwells, the entrance to the building, the elevator, the garden belong to the community of owners are common parts. The PPE calls for solidarity between the co-owners, for example when making decisions or in case of unpaid charges by one of the members.
When discussing condominiums, we often talk about quotas and renovation funds. What do these terms mean? Usually expressed in thousandths, the quota share reflects the share of value of a housing unit in relation to the total value of the building. It is on the basis of this element that the operating expenses are distributed. These include various costs: caretaker, insurance, electricity, maintenance, etc. Heating and water costs are also common costs that are generally distributed according to criteria other than %0 (m3, meters or m2). The share also impacts the power of representation at general meetings; each decision must indeed be taken according to the majority required by law and the condominium regulations (there are 4 different types of majority).
As for the renovation fund, it is a reserve of money that allows for the financing of possible large-scale investments and renovations. The general assembly sets the amount of the annual allocation to this fund. This fund should preferably be set up as soon as the PPE is created, in order to generate sufficient savings in case of need. The use of the renovation fund is regulated by law and must be validated by the general assembly.
The supreme body of the PPE is the general meeting of co-owners. It is the one that notably approves the accounts, makes decisions on investments and various works undertaken. It appoints (or renews) the administrator, the committee or various delegations and the auditors. Finally, the general meeting deals with routine matters that are not within the purview of the director. The holding of an Assembly on an annual basis is mandatory by law and is mentioned in the Rules of Administration and Use.
A condominium must have an administrator who functions as its executive body. He can be one of the owners or a third party, in principle a management company. His mission is the internal management of the building and the representation of the community towards third parties. On the basis of a mandate contract, the administrator takes care of the administrative, financial, technical and legal aspects of the condominium. He must have a good sense of communication. Finally, he must take urgent measures to prevent or counter damage. He also manages repairs and/or routine maintenance of the residence that do not require the approval of the assembly. It is therefore essential to ensure that the administrator chosen demonstrates all of these skills. The experience and quality of services should be analyzed. It is advisable to compare several offers, ensuring that the various services offered are comparable.
Owners are required to comply with the building’s administration and use regulations. A supplement – such as a charter or building rules – may be introduced, stating the current rules relating to the common areas (laundry, garden, swimming pool, etc.). In case of conflict or dispute and if the problem cannot be resolved amicably, the administrator will intervene, as far as possible.
For the common parts, the future work of the building is planned taking into account the amount to the renovation fund. As for the private parts, it is up to each owner to decide which investments he wishes to deploy and when. However, a co-owner who decides to carry out work in his apartment is required to notify the administrator. The latter will inform the other members of the PPE of the duration of the work and the possible nuisances caused; in certain cases, he will have to obtain their agreement. The administrator will also carry out an inventory of common areas (stairwells for example) before and after the work, to ensure that these spaces are well maintained.
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