Chapters of the article
What the house rules cover
The house rules are a kind of internal regulation for the residents of the house, specifying their individual rights and obligations. House rules can regulate in particular the use of the common parts and facilities of the house – such as hallways, laundry rooms, carriage houses, attics, etc. They usually also deal with cleanliness in the house, opening and closing the house, rules for renovations or security of the house.
However, the house rules must not conflict with public order, good morals and the law, in particular the Civil Code. For example, it is not possible to prohibit tenants or owners from keeping animals unless such keeping causes undue hardship to others. For example, if the animal soils the common areas, the owner may be required to pay the costs incurred for cleaning. It is also not possible, for example, to restrict smoking in the flat, visitors or to restrict the ability to rent and sublet the flat, for example as shared accommodation to students, or to operate short-term rentals through AirBnB.
Other related obligations can be established here and then enforced. For example, in the case of AirBnB and short-term rentals, an obligation can be added to the statutes for the owner of the apartment to notify within a very short period of time when the occupants of his apartment change. He must thus report every “visit”, and if he fails to do so, he faces penalties. SVJ can therefore make renting a little more difficult and at the same time have an overview of what is happening in the house.
The rules contained in the house rules should also be part of the lease agreements that the owners of individual flats enter into with their tenants. Otherwise, it may not be clear whether they are bound by the rules. It can be a big problem if there is a rule in the lease that contradicts the house rules.
What to do if someone does not comply with the house rules
But what can the house manager do if someone does not comply with the house rules? The HOA can specify in its bylaws the fines that can be imposed on a unit owner who violates the rules in the building. This is true even if the rules were violated by a visitor. So beware of short-term accommodation of strangers. Any fines will always catch up with the owner after the travelers leave. It is advisable to instruct foreigners on the rules of behaviour in the house, ideally providing them with a translation of the house rules.
Thefine must be set at a reasonable amount according to the specific offence. Often, however, the house rules are set up so that after the second violation, the owner receives a written warning of a possible penalty and only after the third violation does the fine come.
The owner can defend the fine in court or the HOA may have to enforce it in court. However, the HOA will have to prove that the violation occurred and that it was caused by the owner or the owner’s visitor. Photographs, security camera footage or a neighbour’s testimony can serve as evidence. If the court decides that the fine is justified, it may also be enforceable in the event of non-payment. The offender will then also pay the costs of enforcement and the amount finally paid will be much higher than the original fine.
Statutes for HOA or housing cooperatives
We will review your HOA or housing cooperative bylaws or we will write them up for you from scratch. We will always ensure that they comply with current legislation. Our bylaws are always tailored to the needs of the residents of the building. We can also set up your HOA or housing association on a turnkey basis. We will arrange everything quickly, flawlessly and at pre-determined prices. You can pay only after the service has been provided.
What it may look like in practice
Recently, a Prague HOA dealt with a case where a resident of the building was constantly parking in the communal garage outside her reserved space. She had purchased a large SUV that did not fit in the designated parking space. As a result, the owner parked the car against the wall, where it prevented others from parking comfortably in their spots. They therefore complained to the committee of the owners’ association. Several appeals did not help, so the whole matter ended up in court. The judge then actually gave the residents the benefit of the doubt and issued a payment order, according to which the owner of the SUV has to pay penalties for each violation of the rules.
Other articles from the series
We prepared this article for the Lidové noviny series “Law & Housing”. See also other articles from the series: