Differences between exclusive rights over the apartments and rights over buildings

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Please, explain briefly but as clearly as possible the scope of the rights relating (exclusively) to the apartments and the ones relating to the building or to the communal elements owned jointly.

As it is mentioned in section 1, a part of a condominium represents an individual unit. This includes the main assets – object of exclusive property – and a share from common parts that are subject to a perpetual and forced common ownership/co-ownership. Common parts are accessories in relation to determined parts (i.e. apartment) which are the principal assets. Therefore, the owner’s right on individual unit includes:

  • The exclusive ownership of apartment (and/or spaces with other destination than that of dwelling);
  • A share of perpetual and forced co-ownership on common parts.

The exclusive ownership related to a specific part of a condominium (e.g. apartment) shall be transacted (capitalized) only with the corresponding share of perpetual and forced co-ownership on common parts of it.

A. Each owner can freely exercise his right, but within certain limits:

  • Each owner may use the space that is the exclusive property (apartment) and the common parts, without prejudice the rights of the other owners and without changing the destination of the condominium;
  • The owners shouldn’t alter their exclusive properties, if this alteration involves changes in common parts;
  • The owner shall ensure the maintenance of the principal assets, so keep the condominium in good condition;
  • The owners are required to allow access to spaces which are principal goods for carrying out the necessary works for conservation and maintenance of the common parts.

B. As a general rule, all acts regarding the common parts of the condominium must be carried out by all co-owners, meaning unanimously.

According to the Romanian Civil Code there are considered common parts:

  • Land on which the building is located, including both built area and free surface required, according to nature or purpose of building, to ensure its normal exploitation. For any surface in excess the owners are holders of ordinary joint ownership;
  • Foundation, interior courtyard, structure, strength structure, perimeter and separating walls, roof, terraces, stairways and staircase, hallways, cellars and open space basements, water tanks, boilers and elevators;
  • Installations for water, sanitation, electricity, telecommunications, heating and gas, from the branching to the point of distribution to spaces in exclusive property, pluvial canals, lightning rods, collective antennas and other similar parts;
  • Other goods which are in common use, according to law or the will of the parties.

Chimneys and ventilation, as well as washing and drying spaces, are considered common parts exclusively for co-owners using these utilities in accordance with the building project. Common parts can be assigned in exclusive use to certain co-owners only if the other co-owners’ rights are not infringed.

The share of co-ownership on the common parts has accessorial character related to the ownership on the principal good. This share may be alienated or mortgaged only together with the exclusive right of ownership.

In the absence of a contrary stipulation existing in property titles, shares of co-ownership are determined by reporting the useful surface of each dwelling to the total useful area in the building. These shares are expressed in percentage.

Unless the law or contract does not establish otherwise, each owner bears the costs related to maintenance, repair and exploitation of common parts in proportion to its share.

The cessation of common use for common parts can be decided with the consent of all co-owners. In this case, the provisions relating to joint ownership become applicable.