Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Basel > Blog > Tips for buying condominium property

Tips for buying condominium property

Condominium ownership was first mentioned in the Swiss Civil Code (CC) in the 1960s, when the aim was to make it easier for the population to become home owners. To this day, condominium ownership is still very popular, especially in urban areas. Despite the many advantages, condominium ownership is not equally suitable for everyone. The Engel & Völkers guide provides a comprehensive overview and helps those planning to buy a condominium flat in weighing up their options.

The term condominium ownership may or may not be new to you. According to the CC, condominium ownership is defined as a form of co-ownership of a property. Let’s say you purchase one of eight flats in an apartment building on a plot of land. You then become a co-owner of the entire building and the plot of land on which it sits.

To ensure that living in co-ownership with your neighbours is a pleasant experience for everyone, there are a few things to consider before buying a condominium property.

Closely study the land register extract and plans

In addition to the land register extract for the flat, be sure to also request the extract for the overall plot on which the flat is located. This is very important, since different rights and obligations are declared in the two extracts. The easements are particularly important, since these regulate what you, as the owner, may or may not use. For example, this could be a right of way that you must grant to your neighbours, even if it affects your share in the condominium. Such easements can affect your flat or the overall plot, which is why both documents from the land register are relevant.

Condominium owners’ regulations and renovation fund

As a general rule, every condominium owners’ association has a set of regulations to facilitate living together. If one doesn’t exist, it can still be requested afterwards. In addition to the regulations, a condominium owners’ association meeting is normally held once a year to vote on new decisions. If additional investment is made in the building/plot, then each owner pays their share based on the co-ownership share. This means that smaller flats have to pay less towards common investments than large ones.

If you are interested in an existing flat, it is also worth taking a look at the renovation fund. If the fund has a healthy balance, future investments, such as refurbishment and renovation work on the communal parts, can be paid for directly out of the renovation fund.

Rights and obligations

Those who live in a condominium property have many rights, but also many statutory obligations.

For example, the owner of a garden flat has the special right of use of its seating area and garden. Although the property is purchased in co-ownership, owners of a garden flat have the sole special right of use of their share of the garden. This may also be the case for parking spaces and rooftop terraces. All owners also have the equal right to participate in the owners’ association meeting, which is organised by an external body that also records the decisions and sets the budget for the following year.

Condominium owners’ obligations include, for example, the duty to maintain their own space and common areas. Owners are also expected to contribute to communal costs. These are calculated by means of the co-ownership share and ensure that the residents of a condominium property can live together in harmony.

If you would like to get a better overview of condominium ownership, you are welcome to take a look at the free Engel & Völkers guide online. Or feel free to pop into one of our locations for a no-obligation consultation – we will be happy to answer your questions.

We look forward to helping you buy a condominium flat!

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