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Old 22.05.2016, 18:36
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Legal position of flats

I'm familiar with UK legal concepts over land ownership e.g. freehold, leasehold, commonhold, flying leasehold etc.

I was wondering. When it comes to a block of flats with multiple different owners. How does this work? Who owns the land? Who owns the common parts of the buildings? What laws or rules regulate the responsibilities and obligations?

From documents, I have seen, it seems to suggest that the owners of the flats have fractional ownership of the common parts (and presumably the land also) and bear responsibility for repairs etc. in proportion to their ownership share.

But what is the formal legal structure here? Is it essentially like a partnership with joint and several liability? What if one person doesn't pay? Do the others have a liability?

How are decisions regulated? Is it by majority vote?
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Old 22.05.2016, 18:50
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Re: Legal position of flats

Normally there is a contract for the "Wohnungseigentümergemeinschaft" (shared ownership). That states what is shared ownership and what isn´t.

To organize this all, a WEG often appoints a so called Verwalter, who manages everything that is not your personal area.

What happens if someone doesn´t pay the "Wohngeld" (monthly contribution to shared items and other things? The WEG can sue the owner.

Always always check whether the previous owner had any debts towards the WEG and towards the tax authorities (related to the flat) and look at the minutes of the owners meetings that take place once a year. Important part is how much has been saved already for future repairs!

And yes, there is a majority vote, it also depends on what is being voted on, some things require 100%, others a majority.

Happy to explain more in a call if you want?
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Old 22.05.2016, 18:52
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Re: Legal position of flats

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I'm familiar with UK legal concepts over land ownership e.g. freehold, leasehold, commonhold, flying leasehold etc.

I was wondering. When it comes to a block of flats with multiple different owners. How does this work? Who owns the land? Who owns the common parts of the buildings? What laws or rules regulate the responsibilities and obligations?

From documents, I have seen, it seems to suggest that the owners of the flats have fractional ownership of the common parts (and presumably the land also) and bear responsibility for repairs etc. in proportion to their ownership share.

But what is the formal legal structure here? Is it essentially like a partnership with joint and several liability? What if one person doesn't pay? Do the others have a liability?

How are decisions regulated? Is it by majority vote?
You have about 27 questions in one post. Must be a new record.

First of all there is a formal legal structure for home ownership in this form. In the Swiss French area it is called PPE (Propriété par étages) that is a specific type of home ownership covered in the Swiss Civil Code.

In German I think the PPE concept is called Eigentumswohnungen.

Yes, you are correct that everyone has a "per-thousand" of the total of the PPE. Costs etc. flow from this number.

Votes come in three types depending on the importance of the item. Straight majority (mille only), double majority (units and mille) and absolute majority.

Have to run out for a minute. Will continue later.
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Old 22.05.2016, 19:07
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Re: Legal position of flats

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What if one person doesn't pay?
Then the others issue a Betreibung, and if then not paid, the place goes up for auction.

I personally know of such cases.

Tom
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Old 22.05.2016, 20:25
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Re: Legal position of flats

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I'm familiar with UK legal concepts over land ownership e.g. freehold, leasehold, commonhold, flying leasehold etc.

I was wondering. When it comes to a block of flats with multiple different owners. How does this work? Who owns the land? Who owns the common parts of the buildings? What laws or rules regulate the responsibilities and obligations?

From documents, I have seen, it seems to suggest that the owners of the flats have fractional ownership of the common parts (and presumably the land also) and bear responsibility for repairs etc. in proportion to their ownership share.

But what is the formal legal structure here? Is it essentially like a partnership with joint and several liability? What if one person doesn't pay? Do the others have a liability?

How are decisions regulated? Is it by majority vote?
So back for part II.

The PPE (so everyone together, based on their mille number) owns and is responsible for the outside of the building, the common areas (inside and outside), the plumbing leaving the apts., the roof and the land etc.

Heating, hot/cold water etc. are handled just like a regular apt. in that normally there are counters for everything so it is a "user pay" basis (and not based on the mille rate of each owner. The fixed costs (house keeper, admin costs, upkeep, reno work etc.) are divided base on the mille rate.

By the way, the mille rate is normally calculated base on the M2 of each apt./house in the complex.

Each of the owners will have the right to use the common areas and sometimes parts of what you would think should only be the property of one specific owner (eg. the last meter of the back yard so everyone can get to their yard but need to go over the "property" of another owner). This concept in French is called a "servitude" or "easement" in English and I think it is called "Vorfahrt" in German.

The specific details of who owns what is all on file at the local land office (in Vaud it is called Registre Foncier). This info is also provided/searched for when you purchase a property.

When you purchase something in a PPE structure, you will be given the rules and regulations of your PPE. Most are standard but some can be a bit tricky depending on who set them up (eg. personal interest). Hence the need to have an expert review things and look at issues about potential liabilities such as underfunded renovation accounts (a typical problem area). Often the tough questions (around money) require double majority or 100% agreement. This can block a lot of things from moving ahead.

One of the owners acts at the administrator for the PPE (this is a "legal" position with responsibilities that are very clear) or as mentioned above someone (often a company or real-estate firm) is mandated to play this role.

As mentioned above, a person can be forced to pay for renovations(cash call)/pay into the reno account even if they do not want to. A person can also be kicked out of the PPE. To get to this level there would have to be some major issues (once again, normally around money):
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Old 22.05.2016, 20:52
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Re: Legal position of flats

My apartment is a PPE and regarding heating/hot water it is included in our charges - so it does not matter if you are there for 1 week a year, or live on a permanent basis or if you rent your flat out to tourists as some do. I have always found this strange.
I questioned our administer about one of the flats that was a large 4 bedroomed one that was empty and about the charges that were mounting up and what was the position. He said it was not a problem as when it sold all costs were deducted before the owner saw any cash.
If you are used to the UK system it is very different.
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Old 22.05.2016, 20:59
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Re: Legal position of flats

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If you are used to the UK system it is very different.
Not that different in the UK as failure to pay service charges is the same as not paying ground rent, the lease can be forfeited without compensation. Obviously any mortgage provider will pay the unpaid service charges so they don't loose their security.
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:09
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Re: Legal position of flats

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Not that different in the UK as failure to pay service charges is the same as not paying ground rent, the lease can be forfeited without compensation. Obviously any mortgage provider will pay the unpaid service charges so they don't loose their security.
Not paying ground rent could lead to forfeiture, but I'm not so sure on service charges.

I know one guy who contested service charges and took the case to tribunal. He told me that if you want to contest, you shouldn't pay. Not sure how true that was, but given the bad blood between him and the freeholder/agent, I would be surprised if they could have taken further action against him but didn't.
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:10
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Re: Legal position of flats

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My apartment is a PPE and regarding heating/hot water it is included in our charges - so it does not matter if you are there for 1 week a year, or live on a permanent basis or if you rent your flat out to tourists as some do. I have always found this strange.
I questioned our administer about one of the flats that was a large 4 bedroomed one that was empty and about the charges that were mounting up and what was the position. He said it was not a problem as when it sold all costs were deducted before the owner saw any cash.
If you are used to the UK system it is very different.
I lived in a place which had no separate monitoring of heating and hot water and so was also split according to the floor area.
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:15
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Re: Legal position of flats

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I lived in a place which had no separate monitoring of heating and hot water and so was also split according to the floor area.
Depends on whether you have a water meter or not. If not you will be billed for the percentage owned and that percentage of water usage. Can work out for you or not. I prefer the water meter to pay only what I use
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:17
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Re: Legal position of flats

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I lived in a place which had no separate monitoring of heating and hot water and so was also split according to the floor area.
Most of the newer places have meters for everything - heating, hot water and cold water. It can make a real difference (often 2x more) if people are taking 3 showers per day and leaving the windows open in the winter.

If you are doing it on the mille basis (M2), the poor person who keeps the temp down and only takes one shower per day gets screwed.
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:18
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Re: Legal position of flats

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Depends on whether you have a water meter or not. If not you will be billed for the percentage owned and that percentage of water usage. Can work out for you or not. I prefer the water meter to pay only what I use
It didn't work out for me since I prefer the flat to be quite cold esp. the room where I sleep.
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:24
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Re: Legal position of flats

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Not paying ground rent could lead to forfeiture, but I'm not so sure on service charges.

I know one guy who contested service charges and took the case to tribunal. He told me that if you want to contest, you shouldn't pay. Not sure how true that was, but given the bad blood between him and the freeholder/agent, I would be surprised if they could have taken further action against him but didn't.
Non payment of service charge can lead to forfeiture, it's why leasehold flats exist in the UK, otherwise it would be impossible to collect payments. With freehold flats you can't enforce payment & most lenders won't lend. (I don't mean when you hold a share in the freehold, that is still a leasehold flat)

Google is your friend
http://www.housingrepossessions.co.u...ound-rent.html
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Old 22.05.2016, 21:32
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Re: Legal position of flats

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Most of the newer places have meters for everything - heating, hot water and cold water. It can make a real difference (often 2x more) if people are taking 3 showers per day and leaving the windows open in the winter.

If you are doing it on the mille basis (M2), the poor person who keeps the temp down and only takes one shower per day gets screwed.
It's not always better to have separate meters.

I've been looking for an apartment and I'm always surprised when new buildings with meters have the same charges as old buildings without them. Plus new buildings have no money in the renovation pot.

One new building I saw had issues with the builder and almost nothing in the pot. Having fewer apartments in the complex is not great either as fewer people pay for the common areas.
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Old 11.01.2021, 14:46
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Re: Legal position of flats

Just revisiting this point. If anyone has an example of such a Wohnungseigentümergemeinschaft/PPE agreement/documents that they wouldn't mind sharing with me, please PM me. Thanks!
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Old 11.01.2021, 15:52
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Re: Legal position of flats

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If you are doing it on the mille basis (M2), the poor person who keeps the temp down and only takes one shower per day gets screwed.
It screws the people who are environmentally-concerned too.

We had two neighbours - one who 'washed all the plants in their garden every night and the other who decided that their whole flat would be as hot as a sauna.
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Old 14.01.2021, 13:25
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Re: Legal position of flats

In our case, the heating and hot water is calculated by a meter, so you pay for what you use. However, that would mean people who are hardly ever here, or keep their heating off, would pay nothing towards the overall production, so 30% of the total cost for the whole building is split according to the millesime you own, and 70% according to individual consumption.
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