When one has always lived in renting, not always easy to understand the arcane and the operation of a co-ownership.
The essence of co-ownership life in 10 points.
1. Meeting of co-owners
In the building(s) subject to the co-ownership status, all the owners are united within the “Syndicat” of co-owners, who takes important decisions relating to the building(s). The “Syndicat” meets at least once a year to vote on the budget, to validate the accounts of the previous fiscal year, to appoint the syndic, to vote on the execution of works, etc.
Each co-owner shall have a number of votes commensurate with the number of thousandths (or tantièmes) corresponding to his lot. Depending on their importance, decisions are taken according to different majorities, provided for in the law on co-ownership.
2. Union Council (Conseil Syndical)
Elected by the general assembly of a co-ownership, and composed of co-owners, the union council has the mission to assist the syndic and to control its management.
Members of the union council may be the co-owners, their spouses, or their legal representatives. Tenants, Syndic, its spouse, ascendants or descendants, or a trustee, such as a guardian, may not be elected.
In the case of co-ownership, the term “co-owner” means each owner of a lot, consisting of a unit and a share of a common part.
All the co-owners form the “Syndicat” of co-owners (Syndicat des Copropriétaires).
This “Syndicat” is represented by a syndic, volunteer or professional.
4. General and Special Charges of the co-ownership
These general charges relate to expenses incurred by the co-ownership, which are borne by each co-owner, according to their share.
They are linked to the maintenance, conservation and administration expenses of the common parts of the building(s) (expenses related to the maintenance of the stairs, the renovation works, maintenance of common gardens, security, etc.).
So-called “special” charges relate to common areas for the use of certain co-owners. Only the co-owners who have the utility of these services and equipment are required to contribute (e.g. charges related to the lift).
5. Lot of co-ownership
The lot represents a fraction of the building following its division. It consists of the units and a share of the common areas.
Each lot is determined by the descriptive division status.
6. Thousandths (Tantièmes)
The thousandths allocated to a dwelling in a co-ownership are used to allocate the expenses or determine the number of votes each owner has at the meetings. These thousandths, also called “Tantièmes”, are proportional to the relative value of each private unit. It is the geometer, when creating the co-ownership, that calculates them.
7. Common areas
In a co-ownership, a distinction must be made between the common areas and the private units, depending on the criterion of the use or utility that the party will present for the co-owners.
The common elements are defined by the Law as being the parts of building(s) and land used for the use or use of all or several co-owners.
Parts of the building are presumed to be common areas. They are for example the structural work, the common elements of the equipment, the ground, the courtyards garden and access road, etc.
However, the co-ownership regulation may provide for a different distribution. A garden can be assigned, for example, to a private unit.
In addition, a common part may be used for the exclusive use of a co-owner. This right of enjoyment does not deprive the common area of its character.
8. Private unit
The units are “the parts of buildings and land reserved for the exclusive use of a particular co-owner”. These parts are “exclusive property of each co-owner”.
The law does not establish a list of allegedly private parties. The regulations must therefore describe them in detail.
In the event of a lacuna or ambiguity, the judges shall characterise the disputed part, on the criterion of the utility and the exclusive use of the party.
9. Regulation of co-ownership (Règlement de Copropriété)
The co-ownership regulation lays down the rules for organising the “Syndicat”. It can be compared to the statutes of a company.
It is a document that is binding on all co-owners.
This regulation determines the destination of the privative and common areas, the conditions for their enjoyment. It lays down, except in the case of imperative legal provisions, the rules governing the administration of the common elements. It cannot impose restrictions on the rights of the co-owners, unless they are justified by the destination of the building(s) defined by the acts (residential building, authorised or unlicensed businesses, etc.) Standing …) or its situation (environment, neighbourhood …).
In the absence of a settlement, the law shall apply in all its provisions.
The co-ownership by-law and its subsequent amendments must be published in the Land Registry Department.
10. The Syndic
As part of a co-ownership, the Syndic is a professional or a volunteer who represents the ‘Syndicat” of co-owners. It is the executive body of the co-ownership. Its mission (link to: SYNDIC ROLE) is to convene the general assembly and to implement the decisions voted, to manage the co-ownership, and to ensure the maintenance and conservation of the building.
It is linked to the ‘Syndicat” by a contract (link to: SYNDIC MANDATE). It is designated, provisionally, in the by-law of co-ownership when the co-owership is created, usually the promoter, until the appointment of the syndic, such as the renewal of his term of office, shall be submitted to the vote of the general assembly by an absolute majority. Its mandate may not exceed 3 years.
The appointment of a Syndic is compulsory. Failing this, a provisional administrator will be appointed by the judge. In particular, he may be entrusted with the task of convening a general meeting which shall appoint a Syndic.
Syndicat of co-owners (Syndicat des Copropriètaires)
As part of a co-ownership, the syndicat of co-owners includes all the co-owners. This union has legal personality: it is therefore a legal entity in its own right, which is represented by the syndic. The syndicat of co-owners has a role limited to the conservation of the building and administration of the common parts. Any decision is taken in general assembly of the co-owners, deliberative organ of the union.