The rules of operation of a property co-ownership in France
Buying an apartment in France means becoming a co-owner. In a residential building, the co-ownership operates according to strict rules set out by law.
Determined by the Law of 10 July 1965, a co-ownership’s purpose is to decide upon the management actions and maintenance of the building. Each co-ownership has its own rights and obligations. Let us explain.
Becoming a co-owner
The co-ownership unites all the apartment owners in the same building. Each is a “co-owner”, that’s to say, that they hold – in addition to their private holdings (apartment, garage, cellar) – a share in the building’s communal areas (entrance hall, stairwell, caretaker’s lodge). Mandatory in a building of at least two co-owners, the co-ownership is regulated by the Law of 10 July 1965. The co-owners must take a collective decision on all maintenance activity concerning the communal areas.
Becoming a co-owner is to see yourself automatically granted a right to vote, the weight of which is calculated according to your apartment’s surface area. Generally, the larger the surface area, the greater your voting power.
Brought together during a general assembly (ordinary or extraordinary), the co-owners take decisions by majority vote on all future activity. The subjects are varied: restoration of the stairwell, the installation of interphones, upgrading the lift to current standards, changing the co-ownership trustee, or the doormats (!), installing a relay mast, etc.
Each building has its own co-ownership rules. Drafted as a form of articles of association, this detailed text sets out what is permitted or not in the co-ownership’s communal and private areas. Sometimes, certain rules forbid the use of the property for business purposes, the installation of private lifts, or even the sale of a maid’s room to people outside the co-ownership.
Paying your share of the costs is part of your obligations as a co-owner. Once collected, these sums permit the payment of day-to-day expenses and one-off expenditure associated with the management and maintenance of the building.
The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is made up of several volunteer co-owners elected by their peers. They are charged with taking urgent decisions (e.g. on building works) concerning the co-ownership or/and to progress certain dossiers (e.g. requests for quotes) between AGMs.