In the last decade Malta has seen an increase of apartments.
The more apartments there are the more problems associated to such housing there would be. Owners often must face issues relating to common parts and to their apartment, such as payment of the maintenance costs of the common areas, reimbursement of expenses relating to damages in ceilings and floors.
In 2001, Malta has seen the implementation of the Condominium Act in order to prevent problems arising in a condominium situation. Such prevention is done through the legal introduction of the office of the administrator. The Act introduced the arbitration proceeding for any conflict that might arise. However, let’s first clarify what is a condominium
1. What is a Condominium
The term ‘condominium’ refers to a building involving ownership in a two-level arrangement. It is composed of separate units and the common parts. The separate units are apartments which are separately owned, whilst the common parts, as the name implies are those parts of the building which are used and enjoyed in common by the owners of the separate apartments.
The assumption is that the common parts are owned equally between the owners of each apartment.
Unless the above conditions are satisfied, a building cannot be termed as a condominium. If an owner sells the apartment, s/he cannot sell without the right in the common parts and vice versa.
2. The Administrator
The Condominium Act introduced the office of the Administrator, which helps prevent conflicts and assist with the management of the common parts of the condominium. The administrator is a legal requirement when there are four or more condomini. If
there are less, the administrator is optional.
How is the Administrator chosen? The Administrator is elected through a general meeting of the owners. The quorum during the meeting must be two thirds of the condomini, however, to elect the administrator, a simple majority of the apartments
represented in the meeting shall suffice. Once the administrator is elected s/he must be registered with the Land Registrar. The role of the administrator is to:
– Ensure the observance of the condominium rules and
– Apportion the necessary expenses for maintenance and preservation of the common parts
Any decision taken by the administrator can be appealed by the condominium and the matter can be referred directly to the arbitration.
The condomini can draw up several rules to regulate their condominium. These rules must be submitted to the Land Registrar and approved by the meeting of the condomini. The submission of such rules is normally held during a general meeting. Two thirds of the condomini must be present for the approval of such rules.
Should there be any conflicts, to solve matters in an amicable, inexpensive and reasonable timeframe, the law is in favor of arbitration. One can refer to any law firm to act as an arbitrator and find an amicable solution to the matter.
As apartments started have more condomini, the condominium rules have helped many condomini to have a clear idea on the rights and duties of the common parts.