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Condominiums

UPDATE Article Ed.1. 2019 - 03-07-2019

Condominiums

Some Members live in condominiums and might know how difficult it can be where there are no clear and well defined rules. It's important to know your rights and your obligations so that everything can run as smoothly as possible. Living in perfect harmony with the neighbourhood is not easy, but it is possible if everyone follows some rules. Here are some of the things to consider if living in a condominium.

Noise – According to the law (DL.nº9/2007) in the night period between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. it is against the law to make unnecessarily loud noise, which of course does not mean that in the remaining hours residents can put their sound system on the maximum volume.

Work in the common areas - all condominium owners must contribute to the conservation works of the building, according to the percentage (permilagem) of the respective ‘fractions’. (In Portugal individual apartments are referred to as ‘fractions’.) It is essential to plan the works in advance and ensure that you have a positive balance, to which end it is mandatory for condominium administrators to hold a ‘Fundo de reserva’, or Reserve Fund, which is equivalent to 10% of the condominium fees.  

Work in your home - to avoid complaints from the neighbourhood, post a warning in advance (aviso) at the entrance of the building, indicating in which apartment the works are to be carried out (limited to the working days between 08:00 a.m. and 08:00 p.m.), the duration and the hours at which there is expected to be more noise. Of course, no alterations should jeopardise the safety of the building, and if damage occurs to general areas it must be repaired. Construction insurance can be a good way to offset potential additional expense caused by such damage. If the alterations will change the exterior appearance of the building, it is necessary to obtain a permit from the assembly of condominiums, which requires a two-thirds majority of the total occupants of the building, and also the town hall.

Local Accommodation - the condominium may prevent local lodging accommodation. In order to prohibit the activity, it is necessary to prove the existence of serious and continuous disturbances in the normal operation of the building, using police records as evidence. They should then inform the local mayor who will decide on the ban.

Pets - the condominium may impose some restrictions on the movement of animals in the common areas of the building, requiring them, for example, to use the service elevator exclusively. Regarding their presence in the apartments, the prohibition can only be established if approved by a joint-owners association.

As for the number of animals per apartment, the law is clear: each fraction can have up to 3 dogs or four adult cats.

Administration - A condominium does not need to accept mismanagement until the end of the term. The solution is to schedule an extraordinary general meeting that represents at least a quarter of the building's occupation to cancel the contract with the management company of the condominium.

Elevators - The expenses of the elevators are the responsibility of all the residents, including the residents who live on the ground floor, as they are considered a common part.

New Home – to avoid any surprises when buying an apartment, you should check the condominium bills first. Contact the administrator and find out if the current owner has outstanding debts. Ask for a non-debt declaration of the apartment you are going to buy. Also ask if additional charges are likely in the near future to be prepared for “new” expenses (repairing and painting the building walls… for example).

List of debtors – There are many condominiums that publish the list of debtors at the entrance of the building and it may seem a good idea to do that to embarrass them into paying their fees, but be aware that the courts disagree because it may be considered defamatory practice and data protection abuse.

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