Balcony closure in condominium, safety and decorum are not always compromised: a recent case


Emma Potter

Renovation of ground floor apartment with closure of two balconies: the story

A condominium owner was carrying out renovation work on his apartment on the ground floor, consisting ofopening of two French windows on the condominium facade of the north side, creation of direct access to your home from the condominium sidewalk on the north side, partial closure of the east side balcony and total closure of the south side balcony.

The condominium turned to the Court complaining that these works, not authorized by the assemblyhad entailed the change of destination of the two terraces (became two rooms with internal partitions) e compromised the safety and stability of the condominium building due to the increased loads.

The plaintiff himself believed that the works created by the defendant had modified the shape of the building condominium with alteration of the architectural decoration. The plaintiff therefore requested that the defendant be sentenced to restoration of the status quo antesubject to the payment of the sums necessary for the safety of the condominium building, in any case in addition to compensation for damages, to be established also on an equitable basis.

The defendant noted, among other things, that no structural verification was necessary for the works carried out; that the shape of the building was not altered as the size of the balconies (and therefore the shape of the building) was not changed; that the closure of the balconies had not affected the common parts of the building; that the façade had already been modified by the other condominiums (with the closing of the balconies with windows9; that the opening of doors or windows on the perimeter wall did not infringe the right of the other condominiums to make equal use of the property; that the compensation request of the condominium was completely unfounded.

The decision

In light of the expert opinion developed during the proceedings, the Court stated that the intervention carried out by the defendant it did not affect the stability and safety of the building as a whole, while i balconies were found to lack the minimum safety requirements. In this regard, the judge (since it is part of exclusive property) highlighted how it is the responsibility of the individual condominium owner to implement the works necessary to achieve the aforementioned requirements. In any case, given that the stability and safety of the building as a whole was not compromised, it was the request for restoration and compensation for damages was rejected.

The same judge found that the decoration of the building was not damaged as the work was perfectly camouflaged and in harmony with the lines and architectural forms of the building. This is because the intervention took place on the edge of the existing balconies and, therefore, within the shape defined by the pre-existing building, while the materials used materials were found to be consistent with those originally used for the construction of the building and in accordance with the style of mountain buildings, as well as with the indications contained in the landscape opinion.

Therefore, the Aosta Valley judge ruled out that the modification caused prejudicial consequences on the landscape context or on the architectural appearance of the building: in other words, the intervention in the case examined respected the appearance and architectural decoration of the building (there was therefore a legitimate use of the common thing pursuant to art. 1102 cc). Since the stability and safety of the building as a whole or the architectural decorum of the block have not been compromised, the request for restoration and compensation for damage was rejected (Trib. Aosta 4 March 2024 n. 60).