Elevators in condominiums: Find out what the legislation says

The maintenance of elevators in condominiums is a topic of great importance, not only to guarantee the comfort of condominium owners, but mainly to ensure the safety of users. Within the Portuguese legal framework, the regulation on the maintenance, inspection and safety of this equipment is well defined, making ownership entities and maintenance companies responsible for their correct management.

Elevadores em condomínios

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Elevator safety and maintenance

The maintenance of elevators in condominiums is subject to a set of legal obligations, with Decree-Law no. 320/2002 as its main reference, which establishes the rules for carrying out periodic inspections, with the frequency depending on the nature of the building and use of the equipment. These criteria are found in Article 8, regarding housing, which refers to a periodicity of:

  • Four years – equipment in mixed housing, commercial or service buildings, or residential buildings with more than 32 dwellings or eight floors;
  • Six years – equipment in residential buildings not included in the previous number;

Subsequently, Law No. 65/2013 intensified the requirements regarding the qualifications of maintenance companies and their technicians, with the aim of ensuring high standards of quality and safety in these services.

The obligations of condominiums

Condominiums, as owners or entities responsible for elevators in condominiums, must guarantee the hiring of an Elevator Maintenance Company (EMA) recognized by the General Directorate of Energy and Geology (DGEG).

This collaboration must be formalized through a contract, which stipulates the conditions for preventive and, if necessary, corrective maintenance of elevators in order to prevent breakdowns and guarantee the functionality and safety of the equipment, with legal responsibility being attributed to them for possible accidents caused by incorrect maintenance of elevators.

During maintenance, the necessary tests will be carried out to ensure the functionality of the equipment by a qualified technician, belonging to the maintenance company. If repairs are necessary, it is only necessary to inform the owner in writing, however, in cases of serious risk, it is necessary to immediately immobilize the elevator and inform both the owner and the City Council in writing, within a maximum period of 48 hours.

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Inspection and inspection of elevators

Inspection of the installation and maintenance conditions of elevators in condominiums is the responsibility of the City Council, which has the authority to carry out regular, periodic or extraordinary inspections, and must also, in cases of accidents, carry out investigations and reports. In cases where the equipment presents a clear lack of safety conditions, it is also your responsibility to seal it.

This service is free, however it may be subject to a fee when carried out at the request of users, upon alert to the need to inspect the elevator due to lack of safety.

In case of breakdowns

When elevator malfunctions occur, condominiums and maintenance companies must act with caution when resolving the problem, ensuring the safety of users. In accordance with current legislation, it is essential that any incidence of damage or risk associated with the equipment is communicated immediately to the entity responsible for maintenance and, if necessary, to the competent authorities.

Replacement of elevators

The modernization and replacement of elevators in condominiums constitute careful procedures, which are governed by strict regulations that seek to ensure not only the modernization of infrastructures but, above all, the safety of their users, and must comply with the following parameters:

  1. Design and Manufacturing Requirements: They must be aligned with design and manufacturing guidelines, ensuring not only efficiency but also safety for the intended use.
  2. Installation and Final Control: It must be carried out in accordance with the best practices in the sector, followed by a final control and assessment to ensure compliance with all safety and operational criteria.
  3. Testing: These must be carried out to prove the compliance of new systems or parts with the required standards, both in terms of performance and safety.
  4. Partial Replacement of Installations: They must also comply with the established requirements, and an inspection is carried out before returning to service to verify that the modification does not compromise the safety of the equipment.

In this sense, Decree-Law No. 295/98 also establishes a set of essential requirements for the operation of elevators that must be observed throughout the replacement process.

Administrative offenses and fines

  • O regime de contraordenações relativas à manutenção e operação de elevadores em condomínios é delineado com parâmetros estritos para assegurar a conformidade com os requisitos de segurança e manutenção estipulados por lei, estando sujeito as seguintes coimas:
  • Falta de Técnico Responsável pela Manutenção: A ausência do técnico de manutenção no momento da inspeção implica uma coima que varia entre 250€ e 1000€. 

  • Não Requerimento de Inspeção nos Prazos Estipulados: O atraso ou negligência na solicitação de inspeções obrigatórias implica uma coima que varia entre 250€ e 5000€.

  • Funcionamento sem Contrato de Manutenção: A operação dos dispositivos sem um contrato de manutenção ativo implica uma coima que varia entre 1000€ e 5000€. 

  • Não Apresentação de Listagens pela EMA: As Empresas de Manutenção de Ascensores (EMA) são obrigadas a submeter listagens de gestão, cuja inobservância implica uma coima que varia entre 2500€ e 7500€.

  • EMA sem Quadro Mínimo de Pessoal ou Inscrição na DGE: A operação sem o pessoal mínimo exigido ou sem inscrição na Direção-Geral de Energia implica uma coima que varia entre 7500€ e 37500€. 

The administrative offense regime relating to the maintenance and operation of elevators in condominiums is designed with strict parameters to ensure compliance with the safety and maintenance requirements stipulated by law, and is subject to the following fines:

Lack of Technician Responsible for Maintenance: The absence of a maintenance technician at the time of the inspection implies a fine that varies between €250 and €1000.

Failure to Request Inspection within the Stipulated Deadlines: Delay or negligence in requesting mandatory inspections implies a fine that varies between €250 and €5000.

Operation without a Maintenance Contract: Operating the devices without an active maintenance contract implies a fine that varies between €1000 and €5000.

Failure to Submit Listings by EMA: Lift Maintenance Companies (EMA) are obliged to submit management lists, non-compliance with which implies a fine that varies between €2500 and €7500.

EMA without Minimum Staff or Registration with the DGE: Operation without the minimum required staff or without registration with the Directorate-General for Energy implies a fine that varies between €7,500 and €37,500.


Portuguese legislation on elevators in condominiums establishes a solid framework to ensure their maintenance and safety. It is imperative that condominiums, together with maintenance companies, comply with their legal obligations, ensuring that elevators are maintained in optimal safety and functional conditions, thus avoiding risks to users. Cooperation and strict compliance with current legislation are essential to minimize inconveniences and potential dangers related to these elevators.

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