New horizontal property guidelines

The management of condominiums in Portugal faces significant transformations with the entry into force of law 8/2022 of January 10th – an essential update to the horizontal property regime. This new context brings with it a range of changes in the rules that govern life in condominiums.

Read this article if you want to be up to date with the latest horizontal property guidelines and how they can impact your fraction and the community of your building.

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What is the constitutive title of horizontal property?

It consists of a fundamental document that establishes horizontal ownership and is essential for the structure of the condominium, outlining its origin and detailing the various fractions and common areas.

This document contains crucial information, such as: the location of the building and a description of the autonomous units, including the permillage that each one represents in total. This value is essential to calculate the share that each condominium owner must contribute, understood as their share of common expenses.

Furthermore, the constitutive title may also include details such as: the specific purpose of each fraction or common area, such as housing or commerce; the condominium’s internal regulations, which establish the rules for the use of common areas and autonomous units; a reference to the possibility of using an arbitration center to resolve possible conflicts between neighbors.

You can obtain the constitutive title at a Land Registry Office.

Transparency in the sale of fractions

An important innovation concerns the act of selling a fraction under a horizontal property regime. Now, the seller is obliged to request a declaration of no debt from the condominium administrator that details the charges and debts relevant to the fraction. Thus, the interest and financial responsibility of the new owners are safeguarded, transferring fundamental clarity and transparency in the transition process to this document.

Under horizontal ownership, each owner holds a share of the land and common parts of the building.

Flexibility in changing the constitutive title

Although the general rule persists – the need for unanimity among condominium owners for any change to the constitutive title – the novelty lies in the possibility of removing such a condition through the courts. This is a legal opening that allows adjustments to the common parts of the building, as long as the majority agrees and that the modifications do not affect the individual use of the units.

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Fairness in the distribution of expenses

The new law clarifies more precisely the duty of each condominium owner regarding the payment of expenses related to common areas. The standard now introduces flexibility in the contribution to common services expenses, which can be divided into equal parts or according to the enjoyment of each condominium, that is, the permilation of the fraction, through regulations approved by the majority of the total value of the building.

Naturally, residents who do not contribute financially to the expenses will not be allowed to take advantage of the improvements implemented, as long as they have a valid justification. However, this does not prevent them from reconsidering their position in the future. If they decide to contribute financially, covering not only the initial costs of the work, but also the maintenance expenses incurred since then, condominium owners will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the improvements implemented.

Reinforcement of administrator functions

The condominium administrator’s duties are now more defined and expanded, including the effective management of deliberations, constant communication with condominium owners and the ability to act on urgent matters. These provisions aim to promote greater efficiency and responsibility in the management of the condominium.

Collaboration of condominium owners

In order to facilitate management, condominium owners now have the duty to provide and update personal data, as well as inform about the sale of fractions, in order to collaborate in maintaining an updated and transparent register.

Agility in convening meetings and preparing minutes

Calling a meeting of condominium owners can be done via email, simplifying and speeding up the process of communication and collective decision-making, always with the guarantee of confirmation of receipt by the recipients.

Additionally, the rules relating to meeting minutes are clarified to ensure the reliability and efficiency of records of deliberations, including adapting them to digital signature technologies.

Adaptation to technologies when holding assemblies

Technology also finds space in the new regime, making it possible to hold condominium assemblies remotely, especially via videoconference, democratizing the participation of all condominium owners.

Want to know more about this topic? Read our article on Advantages of online meetings for condominium owners.

Conclusion

At the end of this analysis, it is clear that the changes to horizontal property legislation in Portugal represent a significant advance in transparency, efficiency and justice in relations between condominium owners and in the management of common spaces. We invite all owners and administrators to absorb and apply these new precepts, an essential condition for a harmonious and productive coexistence.

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