Condominium and elevator: who pays the maintenance costs?


Emma Potter

In the context of condominium expenses, one of the most frequent questions among owners of rooms on the ground floor concerns the maintenance costs of the systems that allow access to the other floors, such as the lift or stairs.

So, does anyone who lives in the building on the ground floor pay for the lift? These systems are part of the common areas of the building and, therefore, even those who live or own a business on the ground floor must contribute to the costs.

But how are these expenses actually shared? Is it possible to obtain an exemption? What does the law say and what has the jurisprudence established on the matter?

Let's find out together in the next paragraphs.

Breakdown of elevator costs

The expenses necessary for the maintenance and replacement of the elevators and stairs of the condominium must be distributed among the owners of the real estate units who use them, according to the following method:

There half of the total amount is divided between all co-owners based on thousandths of ownership. The thousandths represent the share of ownership of each condominium owner with respect to the entire building, determined on the basis of criteria such as the surface area, the height of the floor and the value of the real estate unit. There remaining part it is distributed proportionally to the height of each floor with respect to the ground.

This means that condominiums on the upper floors will pay a higher fee than those on the lower floors, as the use of the elevator is more frequent and necessary to reach the higher floors.

In essence, a cost division approach is adopted based on the differentiated use of the service provided by the access systems to the building's landings. This distribution method is considered fair because it takes into account both individual ownership and the potential use of the lift by the different condominium owners.

Article 1124 of the Civil Code is the reference law for those wondering whether people who live on the ground floor, who do not need to use the lift or stairs to access their home, are required to pay maintenance costs of such facilities.

According to this article, it is the responsibility of the owners of the real estate units to maintain and replace stairs and elevators necessary for the condominium.

Article 1124.
Maintenance and replacement of stairs and elevators

Stairs and elevators are maintained and replaced by the owners of the real estate units they serve. The related expense is divided between them, half on the basis of the value of the individual real estate units and the other half exclusively in proportion to the height of each floor from the ground.

For the purposes of the competition, the cellars, dead boxes, attics or roof rooms and flat roofs are considered as floors in half of the expense, which is divided according to the value, if they are not common property.

While at first glance this provision might suggest that those who do not use the stairs or lift are not required to contribute to the related costs, the reality is different. In fact, even residents on the ground floor have to pay the cost of the elevator. This is because, as co-owners of the common parts of the building, even if they do not use the system, they have the potential right to use it.

What matters is not the actual use of the elevator every day, but the potential possibility of doing soperhaps to access the roof or the flat roof, which represent common areas of the building.

Jurisprudence and legal interpretations

The principle according to which residents on the ground floor must also contribute to the costs of the lift has been confirmed several times by jurisprudence. For example, the Court of Naples maintained that elevator systems fall within the common areas of the condominium even for condominium owners of rooms on the ground floor, as they are indispensable tools for access (even if possible) to the roof and the roof terrace.

The Supreme Court has also expressed its opinion on the subject several times. Various rulings of the Supreme Court (ruling no. 8823 of 30 April 2015) have confirmed the principle according to which all condominium owners are required to participate in decisions relating to the lift, such as those concerning its replacement, since it is a property asset common in condominium buildings.

However, if an elevator it is installed after the construction of the building thanks to the initiative of some condominiums and at their expense, it does not fall within the common property of all condominiums, but rather belongs exclusively to those who financed its installation.

Only these condominiums will be required to participate in the division of extraordinary expenses for the lift and the related ordinary maintenance costs.

Another significant example is the ruling of the Supreme Court of 27 September 2018 (n. 23222), which reiterated the obligation to contribute to the costs of the lift also for the owners of rooms on the ground floor, based on the principle of potential usefulness and on co-ownership of the common parts.

Possibility of exemption from expenses

According to the regulations on the condominium and the distribution of costs for the system, even on the ground floor, the maintenance costs of the lift must be borne together with the other condominiums.

Naturally, the distribution of expenses for the ground floor must be carried out following the relevant legislation, and therefore the thousandth tables also count for the ground floor.

It should be underlined, however, that through a unanimous assembly decision or upon approval of the condominium regulations, it is possible to provide for exemption from lift costs for condominiums who live on the ground floor, in the basement or on the mezzanine floor.

Therefore, with a condominium regulation or with a unanimously approved assembly resolution, the renunciation of the use of the condominium lift can be approved. However, in the event that the installation of the lift takes place at the expense of some condominiums, those who do not participate in the initiative are excluded from using the service and are not required to contribute to the related costs, even if they have the possibility of changing idea later.

All condominium owners are required to contribute to the costs of the elevator, even the shop owners located on the ground floor in a condominium, despite having independent access from the public road, they are obliged to contribute to the costs associated with the lift.


In summary, all condominium residents, including ground floor residents and owners of shops with independent access, are required to contribute to the costs of maintaining and replacing the elevators, as they are common parts of the building.

Article 1124 of the Civil Code establishes that the distribution of expenses occurs based on the thousandths of property and the height of the floor. Even if the lift is not used daily, the possibility of using it and the co-ownership of the common areas impose the obligation to contribute.

Exemptions can only be agreed through unanimous assembly decisions or specific condominium regulations. Jurisprudence has constantly confirmed these principles, guaranteeing fair management of condominium expenses.