Chapters of the article
What are the statutes of the SVJ regulating?
The statutes regulate the basic rules and relations between the unit owners and the bodies of the HOA. It is essentially a founding document, so no HOA can exist without statutes. The bylaws are a separate document from the owner’s declaration and the development agreement. However, they must of course be in compliance with them, which must be taken care of.
The previous legislation offered so-called model articles of association of the HOA, which were automatically valid if the HOA was established by law and had not yet approved its own articles of association. However, this option is no longer valid and the HOA can only be established on the basis of the articles of association.
Are you unsure about the bylaws of your unit owners' association?
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Legal requirements of the statutes of the SVJ
The approval of the statutes establishes the unit owners’ association. A notarial record must be made of the establishment of the association (however, this is no longer required when the statutes are amended). However, the new Civil Code also allows the establishment of an HOA by a single owner of all units. In this case, the statutes do not have to be in the form of a notarial deed. Subsequently, the articles of association are registered in the public register and the date of registration is deemed to be the date of establishment of the owners’ association.
A majority of all unit owners must approve the first bylaws.
The bylaws must be delivered to the registration court together with the application for registration in the public register. An electronic form, preferably in PDF format, is also required. In addition, an invitation (specifying the date and place of the meeting), an attendance list with signatures of the attendees and the minutes of the meeting with the result of the vote on the adoption of the bylaws are sent.
According to the new Civil Code, the mandatory elements of the statutes are at least:
- the name of the HOA, which also includes the phrase “community of owners” and the name of the building for which the community was established,
- the registered office of the HOA in the house for which it was established (if this is not possible for some reason, in another suitable place),
- the membership rights and obligations of the unit owners,
- the designation of the bodies of the HOA (whether the HOA has a chairman or a committee as its statutory body), their powers, the number of members of the elected bodies, their term of office and the manner of their convocation, meeting and quorum,
- determination of the first members of the statutory body,
- the rules for the management of the house and grounds and the use of the common parts.
From 2020, they are no longer mandatory parts of the statutes:
- the method of exercising membership rights and obligations of unit owners,
- the rules for the establishment of the budget of the association, for the contributions for the management of the building and the payment of service charges and the method of determining their amount paid by individual unit owners.
Recommended elements of the statutes:
- Detailed definition of the rights and obligations of the various organs of the community.
- Rules for the creation of the JVU budget and how unit owners will contribute to the costs associated with the management of the house and land. Although this is not a mandatory requirement, it is very practical to lay down these rules in the statutes. The costs may be apportioned according to the shares in the common parts of the building, according to the area of the apartment or according to the number of persons living in the unit. Anchoring precise rules can prevent unnecessary disputes.
- Detailed procedures for the recovery of arrears from apartment owners (when and by whom to send a demand for payment, when to send a pre-action notice, etc.).
- The definition of the common parts of the building and the conditions for their possible exclusive use.
- The possibility and procedure for special per rollam voting (this is a vote outside the assembly, which is usually held in paper form or by e-mail. Together with the motion for a resolution, there is an opportunity on the same sheet to express an affirmative or negative opinion on the motion within 15 days of receipt). This form of voting has proved necessary, inter alia, in the context of the recent epidemic of covid.
- The possibility of proxy representation at the meetings of the JUA.
- Method of convening meetings.
- The possibility of changing the common parts of the house.
The requirements of the contract with the external administrator and the approval of the person of the administrator.
The HOA is the legal entity in charge of the management of the apartment building and the land. In doing so, the law provides for an express prohibition of business. It may not even directly or indirectly participate in the business or other activities of entrepreneurs.
Bodies of the owners’ association
The system of HOA bodies is based on the principle of a pair of mandatory bodies that each HOA must have. The highest body of the HOA is always the assembly. The statutory body may be the committee or the chairman of the HOA, which depends on the will of the owners. Other (voluntary) bodies may also be provided for in the statutes. They can be, for example, an inspection committee, an auditor or a concierge. In practice, however, this is rather uncommon.
Changing the statutes
The statutes do not represent any immutable dogma. If the need arises to change them (for example, the length of the term of office or the voting method, etc.), they must again be approved by a majority of the unit owners. However, the previous bylaws may specify a higher number of votes for approval of amendments. In such a case, however, there is a risk that certain unit owners will block the amendments on purpose.
Where can I find the condominium bylaws?
If you are interested in what and how the bylaws of your HOA regulate, the easiest way is of course to contact the chairman or one of the committee members. Should it happen that he or she does not communicate with you, or for some reason does not have the bylaws, you can either go to the relevant registry court where the bylaws are kept, or you can consult the documents at www.justice.cz. Here you can click directly to the statutes in electronic form.
The basic difference if you are a freeholder and a co-operative owner is that in the latter case you are not the real owner of the flat. That in this case is the housing association, and so-called “condominium owners” are by law only tenants. However, they cannot be evicted from the lease as with a normal lease.
The by-laws of the housing cooperative must also stipulate under what conditions the right of a member to conclude a lease agreement for a cooperative apartment arises. The bylaws may restrict the cooperative members in the disposal of the flat, for example, prohibiting them from renting out the flat. An HOA cannot restrict apartment owners in such a way.
Violation and enforcement of the statutes
If owners violate the bylaws, theoretically they can, for example, be fined. However, there are legal disputes about the possibility of fines being set by private parties. If you nevertheless decide to go down this route, you should define exactly what the penalties are, who decides on the imposition of the penalties and the amount of the penalties (which must be proportionate to the offence).
The actual violation of the statutes by the chairman is more relevant within the JVU. If the members of the JVU want to go to court, for example, they need to prove that the chairman acted contrary to the will of the assembly, i.e. that the assembly did not approve his actions (even after the fact) and that the chairman caused damage.
In addition to the established approved house rules, many HOAs have house rules that apply to all residents of the building, regardless of the property relationship to individual units. It may regulate, for example, issues relating to cleaning, night-time quiet, waste sorting, etc. However, its enforcement is not entirely straightforward. If, by not respecting it, the neighbours are at the same time violating a generally binding legal regulation (disturbing the night peace, disturbing the peace or assaulting neighbours), then the police can of course be called. However, if the neighbour is not sorting her waste or cleaning up her dog friend’s puddles, you can take up the matter with her and reproach her, but that is as far as your powers go.