What should you pay attention to before buying condominiums?
OCTOBER 15, 2019 | PROPOSED BY OUR PARTNER ING LUXEMBOURG
Luxembourg's real estate market has peaked in recent years. Since 2010, house prices have risen by an average of 5% per year. And this trend is even more pronounced for land and detached homes. Faced with this situation, more and more homeowners prefer the track of collective housing. But if the co-ownership offers benefits like a more affordable purchase price, shared fixed charges and maintenance of common areas supported by a trustee, it also presents constraints. This is why it is important to understand the operating procedures and the associated costs before embarking on the purchase of a condominium property.
Quota and decision-making power
But what exactly is meant by co-ownership ? According to Article 1 of the law of 16 May 1975 on the status of the condominium built property, it is defined as " any built-up building or group of immovables whose property is apportioned among several persons, in batches each comprising a private portion and a proportion of common portions ". This quota, measured in thousandths, is fixed by the co-ownership regulation and indicated in the descriptive state of division. It makes it possible to calculate the participation of each co-owner in all the expenses relating to the conservation, the maintenance and the administration of the building. Clearly, the higher the value of your apartment compared to others because of its size and location, the greater your share in common costs  .
This distribution in thousandths also fixes according to the same principle the voting power of each co-owner within the general assemblies where the decisions necessary for the operation of the co-ownership are taken (vote of the budget, approval of the accounts, decision on the foreseeable works to be planned, etc.). The more thousandths you have, the more you will have extended decision-making power.
The co-ownership rules and the minutes of the general meeting
The documents that you must carefully consult before committing are two orders : on the one hand, the co-ownership regulations and, on the other hand, the old minutes of the general meetings of co-owners. The first one will allow you to know the share of the expenses inherent to the lot that you intend to buy - and, consequently, of your decision-making power - as well as the duties to be respected within the community. These can not necessarily suit you. Imagine that you want to live in a condominium whose regulation prohibits the presence of pets while you are the proud owner of two beautiful dogs !
The old minutes of general meetings, whether ordinary or extraordinary, are not to be neglected either. You will find very useful information such as the price of the different contracts signed with external service providers - maintenance of green spaces, cleaning, trustee , guarding, maintenance of the elevator, etc. -, the history of claims, any recurring problems related to the building as well as exceptional charges planned in the near future such as the repair of the roof or the total overhaul of the electrical system. This last point is important because it can heavily burden your budget . The important works voted recently in assembly could indeed come back to the load of the buyer and not the seller. You can certainly insert a clause in the sales agreement which provides that the costs of renovations to the building are the responsibility of the seller but it is not certain that he accepts this clause ! In addition to the pecuniary aspects, the minutes will tell you a little more about the personality of your future neighbors.
Once you have consulted these documents, well analyzed the loads which will fall to you, assimilated the principle of operation of the co-ownership and got to know a little more your future neighbors, do not hesitate ! You will have taken all the necessary precautions and will have no reason to regret your choice.
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 It is necessary to distinguish between the general expenses of co-ownership distributed according to thousandths allotted to the different batches by the regulation of co-ownership and the special charges distributed according to the relative utility of the common equipments for the different batches. Thus, the co-owner of a lot on the ground floor should not in principle bear the expenses related to the lift unless it also goes down to the basement.