Condominium Proceedings in Malta

Dr. Silvana Zammit | 24 Jan 2014

Ccmalta Default

Condominiums have become the hub of the real estate industry and as a corollary to this  fact; the problems associated with such a housing arrangement have arisen as well. Condominium owners frequently have to face problems relating to the common parts and to their apartment. These problems include payment of the maintenance costs of the common parts, getting reimbursement of expenses relating to damages in the ceilings and floors of the individual apartments and getting reimbursement of expenses relating to any alteration to the building housing the individual apartments

The Condominium Act was promulgated in 2001 in order to deal with and aid prevention of problems which might arise in a condominium situation.[1] Prevention is aided through the legal introduction of the office of the administrator and via the possibility of producing custom made rules regulating the condominium. Moreover arbitration proceedings are the proper litigation forum when a conflict does in fact materialize.

Prior to delving into further detail on how the above is achieved, an analysis of what constitutes a condominium has to be provided.

 

1.         What is a Condominium?

Legally the term ‘condominium’ refers to a building involving ownership in a two-level arrangement.[2]

A condominium is composed of separate units and the common parts. Separate units consist in apartments which are separately owned[3] while common parts are the parts of the building which are used or enjoyed in common by the owners of the separate apartments.[4] It is presumed that the common parts are owned equally between the owners of the separate units.[5] The law also provides a list of what the common parts consist in absence of agreement.[6]

Unless one has a situation involving the above two-level structure, a building cannot be termed a condominium. In fact, it is not possible for a condominium owner to sell his individual unit without selling his right in the common parts and vice versa.[7]

Therefore due to the above condominium structure, the problems that condominium owners face stem both from the individual units and from the common parts.

 

2.         The Office of the Administrator

In order to help prevent conflicts and to ease the management of the common parts of the condominium, the legislator provided the invention of the condominium administrator. The administrator is a legal requirement whenever there are four or more condomini while it is an option in case there are three or less.[8]

An administrator is elected through the general meeting of the condomini.[9] The quorum for a meeting is the number representing two thirds of the condomini.[10] A simple majority of the units represented in the meeting shall suffice in order to elect an administrator,[11] and once elected, the administrator has to be registered with the Land Registrar.[12]

In order to aid prevention of conflicts and ease the administration of a condominium, the administrator:

·         Ensures observance of the rules regulating the condominium;[13]

·         Apportions the expenses necessary for maintenance and preservation of the common parts between the condomini;[14]

 

The administrator can fulfill the above as the decisions he takes bind all the condomini.[15]

A condominus has the option to appeal to a decision of the administrator to the general meeting and can even instead refer the matter directly to arbitration.[16]

 

3.         Rules Regulating the Condominium

In order to further help prevention of conflicts, the condomini have the option of drawing up custom made rules regulating their condominium.[17] The condomini are given ample of freedom on the matters they can agree on in the rules regulating the condominium although some restrictions do exists.[18]

Nonetheless the condomini can to a great extent prevent future conflicts through the use of the rules regulating the condominium.

For these rules to become operative, they have to be submitted to the Land Registrar and approved by the meeting of the condomini.[19]

Preparation and submission of these rules to the general meeting is a right held by every condominus.[20] In order for approval to take place, a majority representing two thirds of the condomini have to give their approval in the general meeting of the condomini.[21]

 

4.         The Litigation Forum

In order to solve conflicts in a speedy, amicable and inexpensive way, the law is heavily in favor of arbitration to solve any problem which arises in a condominium situation. In fact the norm is that the proper forum of litigation is arbitration.

We at Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors Ltd. can provide the necessary aid to solve any matter in which a condominium situation may be involved. The above text has exclusively been provided as general information and Chetcuti Cauchi Advisors Ltd. shall have no liability for any use of this information.

In case you require any legal assistance, please do not hesitate on contacting us.



[1] Chapter 398 of the Laws of Malta, Condominium Act

[2] Ibid. article 2(1)

[3] Note that separate ownership includes emphyteusis and usufruct. – Ibid. article 2 (2)

[4] The owners of a separate unit, who at the same time hold rights in the common parts, shall henceforth be referred to as ‘’condominus’’ in the singular and ‘’condomini’’ in the plural.

[5] Chapter 398 of the Laws of Malta, Condominium Act, article 6(1)

[6] Ibid. article 5

[7] Ibid. article 6(3)

[8] Ibid. article 15(1)

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid. article 22(6)

[11] Ibid. article 22(8)

[12] Ibid. article 15(5)

[13] Ibid. article 16(1)(a)

[14] Ibid. article 11(1)

[15] Ibid. article 19(1)

[16] Ibid. article 19(2) and (3)

[17] Ibid. article 24(1)

[18] Ibid. article 3

[19] Ibid. article 24(3)

[20] Ibid. article 24(2)

[21] Ibid. article 22(7)


 


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