Definition and legal bases

What you need to know

Definition and legal bases

What you need to know
Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Switzerland > Legal bases of condominium ownership

Legal bases of condominium ownership

In Switzerland, the term “condominium” has been used since January 1965 and originates in Art. 712a et seqq of the Swiss Civil Code (CC).

According to the Swiss Civil Code, a condominium a form of co-ownership of a property which gives the co-owner the exclusive right to use certain parts of a building and to make changes to their internal design. The owner of the condominium is free to manage, use and change the construction of their own rooms as they see fit, but must not make it difficult for any other co-owner to exercise the same right and in no way damage the building components, installations and devices under subject to common ownership and use or impair their function and appearance (Art. 712a of the CC). Condominium ownership is, thus, a form of a qualified co-ownership. In it, in addition to the (ordinary) co-ownership of the entire property, the co-owners also have a special right to certain parts, such as their flats. This entitles them to exclude other co-owners from entry and use of their flat and to construct or change freely on the inside.

In this sense, condominium ownership does not mean a real division of the building in the actual sense of the word, but is to be understood as co-ownership of the entire property as well as special, exclusive rights to certain parts of this property. The legal framework on condominium ownership can be found in Art. 712a et seqq of the CC (Condominium) with references to co-ownership (Art. 646 et seqq of the CC) as well as the law governing associations (Art. 60 et seqq of the CC).

The community of condominium owners is organised by the mandatory assembly of the co-owners. This assembly of the owners elects an administrator who shall carry out the administration of the community in accordance with the provisions of the law and the regulations and with the resolutions of the assembly of owners and who shall take all urgent measures on their own initiative to remedy damage. The administrator also has the task of distributing the shared costs and supervise the exercise of special rights and the use of the communal parts of the property. The assembly of owners then decides on all matters not within the manager’s remit, such as the annual cost estimate, the calculation and the distribution of the costs among the owners, the creation of a renovation fund for the maintenance of the property and the necessary insurance of the property. 

Since in the condominium ownership regime different parties together are responsible for a single property, this form of ownership requires clear rules of coexistence.

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