5 fundamental things to check before buying a condominium house


Emma Potter

When deciding to purchase a home, it is essential to understand every detail surrounding the property, including the state of finances and disputes within the condominium.

A crucial element in this process is the condominium administrator, the key figure in obtaining all the necessary documentation regarding the condominium regulations, extraordinary expenses and ongoing lawsuits.

This article guides the buyer through the different stages and precautions to take for a safe and informed purchase.

Verification of the owner: the importance of the cadastral survey

Before proceeding with the purchase of a property, it is crucial to verify the actual ownership of the property through a cadastral survey. This document provides fundamental details, such as the details of the deed of origin, thanks to which the seller demonstrates that he has the right to sell the property.

It is important to note that the seller and the owner may not be the same. For example, the property may be registered in community of property with the seller's spouse or may be part of an inheritance shared with other family members.

Particular attention must be given to the nature of the last document of provenance. If it is a donation, it is essential to ensure that there have been no other donations in the previous 20 years.

This is because the presence of recent donations could expose you to significant legal risks; an excluded beneficiary could make claims on the property even after the sale, compromising the legal security of the purchase.

The condominium regulations: a fundamental document

The condominium regulations represent the pillar on which the organization of life within a condominium is based. This document details not only the economic aspects but also the rights and duties of condominium owners.

It is essential to request this before purchasing check for any limitationssuch as the ban on transforming housing units into guest houses or B&Bs, restrictions on the use of common spaces or the installation of elements such as verandas, awnings and solar panels.

Knowing this information can significantly influence the purchasing decision and ensure that all parties are clear about the current condominium rules.

Responsibility for previous condominium expenses

When purchasing a property, it is essential to be aware of the financial responsibilities you are taking on, particularly with regards to previous condominium expenses.

The law establishes that the buyer is jointly and severally liable, together with the seller, for the payment of condominium fees relating to the year of purchase and the previous year, according to article 63, paragraph 4, of the implementing provisions of the civil code.

Article 63

Whoever takes over the rights of a condominium owner is jointly and severally obliged to pay the contributions relating to the current and previous years.

This means that the condominium administrator can request the new owner to pay any arrears. However, for debts that date back more than two years, the liability remains solely with the seller.

It is therefore crucial to check the status of previous payments to avoid future surprises and disputes.

Finally, it is vital for the buyer to ensure that the seller obtains a “condominium release” by the administrator. This document is crucial as it certifies the status of the seller's debts and credits relating to condominium expenses, including installments already paid and those still due, as well as any pending legal disputes.

The release offers a clear vision of the financial and legal situation of the real estate unit concerned, avoiding post-purchase surprises.

It is important to underline that, even in the absence of this document, the real estate transaction can proceed. The notary cannot refuse to authenticate the deed for lack of the release.

However, for greater security and transparency, it is strongly advisable that the buyer insists on its presentation during the purchase phase.

Attention to extraordinary work and the role of the administrator

A crucial aspect in the evaluation of a property is the presence of extraordinary works decided by the condominium assembly. According to jurisprudence, the costs for such works must be borne by whoever owned the unit at the time of the resolution, regardless of the actual start date of the works.

This means that even if work begins after the sale, the old owner remains responsible for payment.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that the condominium administrator is authorized to provide documentation only to the selling condominium owner and not to the future buyer. This includes information on the status of condominium payments, any pending lawsuits, and other relevant matters.

This restriction is placed to protect the privacy and integrity of condominium information.

Therefore, it is essential that the buyer requests the seller to obtain this information, to ensure complete transparency before finalizing the purchase.

Verification of urban planning compliance

Before proceeding with the purchase of a real estate unit, it is essential to verify that all changes made have been duly authorized and that the property complies with current urban planning regulations.

This control is essential to avoid future legal problems that could arise in the event of irregularities. The checks include the approval of any renovations, extensions or structural changes to the unit.

It is important to ensure that these changes have been documented and approved at the condominium meeting, if necessary, and that they have received all the authorizations required from the competent local authorities.

Furthermore, the property must comply with the zoning regulations relating to the area in which it is located, including regulations on distances, heights, and land use. Failure to comply can lead to fines, additional costs for mandatory adjustments and potential complications in reselling the property.