Condominium canopies: when are they legitimate?


Emma Potter

The construction of structures within a condominium can raise numerous legal and cohabitation issues. In particular, the installation of a canopy by a condominium owner can generate disputes regarding the use of common areas and respect for the architectural decorum of the building.

But what are the regulations that govern these situations? How can you ensure that your actions do not infringe on the rights of other condominium owners?

This article explores a specific case, analyzing the ruling of the Court of Castrovillari n. 319 of 15 December 2022to clarify when it is possible to build a shed without violating condominium rules.

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Details of the specific case

The case in question involved two canopies: one made of wood with tiles, and another with beams, pillars and shade cloth. Both were anchored to the condominium perimeter wall and covered an area exclusively owned by the defendants. The condominium owner claimed that these works violated the condominium rules, altered the facade and limited the enjoyment of air and light from the balcony above.

The court rejected these claims, confirming that the structures did not occupy common spaces and did not alter the purpose of the perimeter wall.

Furthermore, the dimensions of the canopies still allowed the use of the wall by other condominium members, without causing aesthetic or structural damage to the building.

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The sentence of the Castrovillari court

The Court of Castrovillari, with the judgment no. 319 of 15 December 2022, has established that the construction of a canopy leaning against the condominium perimeter wall, to cover parking spaces within an exclusive property, does not violate the condominium regulations (art. 1102 cc), provided that:

  • It does not conflict with the purpose of the wall.
  • Do not prevent other condominium members from using it for its intended purpose.
  • Do not damage the common areas.
  • It does not affect the stability, safety or architectural decorum of the building.

This decision reaffirms that interventions carried out within the exclusive property do not require authorizations if they do not compromise the functions and use of the common areas. The ruling refers to precedents of the Court of Cassation that have established similar criteria.

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Reference standards

Article 1102 of the Italian Civil Code establishes that each condominium owner can use the common areas, provided that he does not alter their intended use and does not prevent others from doing the same. This principle allows modifications and improvements by individual condominium owners, provided that they do not prejudice the rights of others.

Article 1102 of the civil code
Use of common property

Each participant may use the common thing, provided that he does not alter its purpose and does not prevent the other participants from making equal use of it according to their rights. To this end, he may make at his own expense the modifications necessary for the best enjoyment of the thing.
The participant cannot extend his right on the common thing to the detriment of the other participants, unless he carries out acts suitable for changing the title of his possession.

The court applied this rule, concluding that the canopies in question did not substantially modify either the function or the aesthetics of the perimeter wall, thus complying with art. 1102 of the Civil Code.

Therefore, these interventions were legitimate and did not require condominium authorizations.

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The right of view and the impact of canopies

One of the complaints was that the owner of the balcony above had a right of view that was being reduced. However, the court ruled that the canopy did not infringe on this right because it did not block the area and light or limit the view in perpendicular direction. The structure was positioned below the balcony without obstructing the plaintiff’s windows or balconies.

This decision highlights the importance of considering the location of sheds and their impact on the rights of other co-owners. Buildings must be designed so as not to interfere with the use and enjoyment of other people’s property.

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The construction of a canopy in a condominium can be legitimate if it complies with current regulations and the rights of other condominium owners. The ruling of the Court of Castrovillari represents an important reference, clarifying that modifications within the exclusive property are permitted if they do not compromise the common areas.

This case offers useful information for those who wish to carry out similar interventions in their condominium.