Acquisition of a condominium

What you need to know

Acquisition of a condominium

What you need to know
Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Switzerland > Acquisition of a condominium

What needs to be taken into account when purchasing a condominium?

There are a number of important points to consider when purchasing a condominium. It is vital that not only an excerpt from the land register be available for inspection, or a cadastral plan, for the housing unit intended to be purchased, but also for the main land plot on which this housing unit is located. 

The excerpt from the land register on the housing unit must provide information about:

  • value of a share and ownership
  • type of acquisition
  • tax value
  • insured value of the property
  • easements which are only relevant for the corresponding housing unit
  • priority notices, pre-emption rights, any seizures
  • mortgages
  • note on the house rule of the community of condominium owners

The excerpts from the land register on the main land plot must provide information about:

  • breakdown of the total property, indicating the value of the co-ownership shares of the

     respective housing units

  • easements to be considered for the whole property

The easements include a right of use in rem (positive easements) or an obligation to refrain (negative easement). This means that a plot of land can be encumbered for the benefit of another plot of land or a certain person in such a way that its owner must accept certain actions by the person entitled to it or cannot exercise their ownership right in certain directions. These may be rights of way, rights to lay pipes, cables and conduits, but also rights to build at the boundary of land plots and rights to building in close proximity to such boundaries. Easements may relate to a single housing unit or to the entire main and plot. It is important to document the any and all easements completely.

In order to get a first impression of the condominium unit to be bought, a look at the situation plan is recommended. This plan provides an overview of the entire building as well as the adjoining properties. The floor plan provides further insight into the layout of the individual flats.

The partition plan identifies the rooms included in the exclusive share of the condominium as well as the other rooms belonging to the corresponding flat, sorted by colour. Exclusive usage rights are usually marked in the same colour, while communal areas are white. The partition plan is a mandatory component in the establishment of a condominium ownership regime.  If the decision is finally taken that the condominium ownership regime should be established or a condominium purchased, the corresponding deed of constitution or the purchase contract must be entered in the land register in accordance with Art. 712d of the CC. The registration in the land register also records the value of the respective share of the condominium in the total value of the property. Changes in the value of a share require the approval of all directly involved parties and the approval of the assembly of the owners.

Regulations | The assembly of the owners

In order to regulate the life in a community of co-owners, it is recommended to create regulations for the community of co-owners.It is not a legally required component, but may be requested by any individual condominium owner or the community as a whole, if none exists. In the absence of any such regulations, the legal provisions apply. It is advisable to make a note of the regulations in the land register.

As already mentioned, the owners organise themselves through the assembly of the owners. The assemblies are recorded in the minutes, such that all resolutions are recorded together with the results of the votes and the quorums. The minutes thus serve as a means of work, information and evidence. When purchasing a flat as a condominium, an interested party should definitely request to be handed the minutes of the last assemblies to enable them to get an overview of the renovations already carried out, maintenance work or certain concerns of other co-owners. Art. 712m para. 2 of the CC refers to the regulations governing associations with regard to making resolutions, exclusion of condominium owners and the challenge of resolutions of assemblies.

Renovation fund

The financial resources held jointly by the co-owners, such as the renovation fund, must be managed in accordance with the general accounting rules. For instance, the expenditure and the financial situation are to be presented. Estimates must be obtained for planned work on the property. 

Although the establishment of a renovation fund is not required by law, such a fund is an ideal way to finance renovation work. The community is thus forced to set aside certain reserves which, in the event of an emergency, will eventually be able to finance the most urgent construction measures. At the annual assembly of the owners, a decision is then taken on a budget of the costs incurred jointly and the advance payments to be made are determined.

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