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Common areas in the apartment building

The housing unit includes both the apartment and the share in the common parts of the house. These are those parts which, by their nature, are intended to serve the unit owners together. Who owns them and under what regime may they be used?

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The common areas belong to all

Common areas in an apartment building are typically corridors, entrances, staircases, utility rooms, roof, foundations and more. They are considered to be owned jointly by all the owners of the flats in the building. They jointly decide on the management and maintenance of these common areas. All owners have the right and obligation to use the common areas in such a way as not to restrict the rights and interests of other owners. When using the common areas, owners should take care to avoid damage or deterioration of the common areas.

They may, however, decide to give a certain part to a unit owner for exclusive use. Such use of the common area must be stated in the owner’s declaration. Which is actually a deed by which all unit owners have agreed to divide up what is common and what is not in the building, or to whom the premises have been given for exclusive use. This means that no one else can use this otherwise common space. As a rule, the person who exclusively uses such space also bears the costs of maintenance and repairs.

In apartment buildings, there are often common areas that are not used by the owners of the apartment units. These are, for example, carriage houses, or even fallout shelters, or spaces intended for shops or business premises. The co-owners may decide to rent out these spaces, but the income from these rentals does not belong to the HOA, but to the co-owners themselves. These are their common parts. The profit is therefore divided between them according to their shares in the common parts of the building.

Decision-making on common areas

The day-to-day management of such common property, including its rental and the disposal of the proceeds, is decided by all co-owners by a majority vote, calculated according to the size of their co-ownership shares. The co-owners may also decide to entrust the management of the house to a common representative, which may be e.g. a JVU. However, here the consent of an absolute majority of all co-owners is required. The JVJ will be authorised to conclude lease agreements, to control the performance of these agreements, to recover rent due and to submit bills to the co-owners. Sometimes it is even stipulated in the statutes that the income from the premises will be counted as a contribution from the members to their SVJ, which makes the accounting situation clearer. However, this is on the edge of the law.

In connection with common areas, it should also be pointed out that from 1 July 2020 you no longer have to offer your co-ownership share to other co-owners before selling it. The right of pre-emption has been abolished again, apparently for good.

Therefore, if you find a buyer for your quarter of the property, you can submit a proposal for registration to the competent cadastral office as soon as the purchase contract is concluded. You will avoid 3 months of uncertainty as to whether one of the co-owners will not exercise their pre-emption right.

However, this regulation has never applied to the common parts of the house – they are directly part of the unit by law. So if you owned the flat separately, you did not have to offer it (even while the pre-emption right was in force) to others, even if you also had a share in the house. Apartment units were previously only affected if more than one person owned a particular apartment directly (for example, as a result of inheritance).

The abolition of the right of pre-emption has accelerated the transfer of residential units and the associated shares in other premises.

Lawyer for HOA and housing cooperatives

We will provide you with a lawyer for HOA or housing cooperative for 6 or 12 months. He or she will be available at any time to represent you in court or with the authorities and help you with any legal issue. All this for a price you know in advance and the option to pay after the service is completed.

We prepared this article for the Lidové noviny series “Law & Housing”. See also other articles from the series:

  1. What to watch out for when buying a property
  2. How to get a mortgage
  3. What to check before buying a property
  4. Who pays the property transfer tax and how?
  5. What should be included in the property purchase contract
  6. The most common mistakes when drafting a proposal to the Land Registry
  7. Buying a property from a developer
  8. Keeping the purchase price when buying a property
  9. The difference between a condominium and a freehold
  10. What is an annuity?
  11. How to properly gift a property
  12. What is the purpose of an easement or servitude?
  13. Making a will and settling an estate
  14. What is a collation
  15. What shouldn’t be missing in a lease agreement
  16. When rent increases can be made
  17. Termination of the lease
  18. Agreement to end the tenancy
  19. How to draw up a work contract with a tradesman
  20. Hidden defects and cancellation of a works contract
  21. When do you need planning permission to renovate a property?
  22. Home Rules
  23. What does serving on a condominium board entail?
  24. Why not underestimate the bylaws in a condominium
  25. Common areas in a block of flats
  26. What is involved in refurbishing a block of flats
  27. Can a condominium or housing association go into debt?
  28. How to renovate a house or cottage
  29. What to watch out for when dealing with a construction “company”?
  30. Building a house on a “green field”
  31. How to remove land from the agricultural fund

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We will provide you with a lawyer for HOA or housing cooperative for 6 or 12 months. He or she will be available at any time to represent you in court or with the authorities and help you with any legal issue. All this for a price you know in advance and the option to pay after the service is completed.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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