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30, jan 23 | Reading: 9 min.

Everything about Condominiums | Casas do Barlavento

If you own an apartment in a building with other owners, it is important to know the management and maintenance rules or to find out about the common parts of the condominium. Living in a building where the common areas are shared with other apartment owners means that you must follow the building rules and that maintenance and cleaning should be a concern for everyone. For these aspects to be clearly defined and known to all property owners, there must be a condominium rule. Do you know what they are? Read our article and clear up all your doubts about living in a condominium in Portugal.


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What are the most common components of a condominium?


According to the law that applies to all buildings with condominiums, the following are the common parts of a building:


  • Columns, pillars, load-bearing walls, floor, foundations, and all parts that make up the structure of the building.
  • Roofs or terraces, even if they are intended for use by a fraction.
  • Entrances, entrance halls, stairs or corridors shared by two or more owners.
  • Water, electricity, heating, gas, communication installations, etc.


Some areas can be considered common areas if the constitutive title of horizontal property does not state that these parts belong exclusively to one owner. The areas mentioned are:


  • Areas connected to the building, such as the gardens.
  • Lifts
  • Fractions for the use or accommodation of caretakers.
  • Garages or parking spaces.
  • Rubbish house.


Did you know that the constitutive title of a horizontal property is a public document that certifies that the building meets all the legal requirements for inclusion in the horizontal property legal system? All condominium owners and managers will find this information useful.


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What is the condominium regulation?


The condominium regulation is a document that outlines the guidelines for living in a condominium. In other words, it should include rules for conflict resolution, cleaning, use and maintenance of the common areas. And there are also specific issues to consider whether pets are allowed in the units and whether it is permissible to dry clothes on balconies, among other things. The regulations propose the use and maintenance of the common areas, but also inside the units.


A condominium includes several units, which may be apartments, shops, or offices.


Therefore, the condominium regulation should contain general and special rules, rights and obligations, condominium assembly and condominium manager rules, as well as insurance information.



Who should draw up the condominium regulation?


When the condominium regulation is not included in the constitutive title of horizontal property, the apartment owners' assembly should draught it. If the owners' assembly fails to do so, responsibility is transferred to the condominium manager, though the regulation must ultimately be approved by the assembly.


There are two ways to approve this document. The first is full approval, i.e., unanimity is required, with no votes against, but invalid or blank votes are allowed. The second way of approving the building regulations is to vote on each article of the building regulations and respect the decision of the majority.


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Are condominium regulations compulsory?


First, it must be made clear that a condominium only exists if the building is divided into parts, i.e., units, each belonging to different owners. There is no condominium if there is only one owner, even if the building is rented to several persons.


The condominium regulations are only mandatory if the building has more than four owners, regardless of the number of units. So, if there are six units but only three owners, there is no obligation to have condominium rules. However, it is recommended for all buildings with more than one owner.


Can the condominium regulations be amended?


It is possible to amend the building regulations if the majority agrees with each article. If the condominium regulations are already included in the constitutive title of the horizontal property, they should be amended unanimously.


How are the costs for the common parts borne?


There are costs for the common parts of a building, regardless of how simple the building is. All property owners pay membership fees to ensure the maintenance and use of the common areas of the building. For example, electricity may be paid for on a pro-rata or equal basis if this is stipulated in the condominium rules. If the building has lifts, only those who use them to get to their flats should pay for them. The same applies to the exclusive use of common rooms. The costs are borne by those who use these parts.


How will the conservation work in the common areas be carried out?


The condominium assembly decides on the maintenance work in the building's common areas, but the condominium management supervises the process. This includes obtaining budgets, issuing permits, and hiring contractors. Noise and safety regulations must be followed throughout the process.


In the case of urgent work in the common areas, any unit owner may act on his initiative, even if the condominium manager does not agree or no one has been appointed to this position. Urgent works are those that endanger people's safety, aggravate the building's condition, or cause damage to neighbouring buildings or property.


If one owner uses the common area exclusively, such as the terrace, he is responsible for maintaining and properly using it. Even if the apartment owner makes good use of the terrace, the renovation costs are borne by the condominium.


Did you know that in 2022 new condominium regulations were enacted to govern property transfer? Among other regulations, governing works in common areas, the former owner is responsible for paying for these works if this is decided at a condominium owners' meeting. This means these costs are not passed on to the new owner, even if the work is completed after the sale.


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What are the new condominium laws that come into force in 2022?


Since 1 April 2022, new condominium rules were applied when you sell a property. You will now need to include a new document in the collection of documents required for the house deed.


This document must state whether there are debts to the condominium association. The statement of expenses must indicate all expenses and payment dates or debts of the former condominium member and the nature of the fraction, within ten days. The owner must report the sale of the property to the condominium association within fifteen days and include the new owner's details in the document.


Meetings must be minuted and the main points of each meeting must be recorded in writing. At the end of each meeting, those present must sign the minutes and the manager must name the absent owners.


The condominium owners' assembly can be convened by e-mail. Since April 2022, it has been possible to express a wish at a meeting to receive these notices by e-mail, if this is recorded in the minutes.


In addition to being convened by email, the meetings can also be held by video call. The signing of the minutes of the meeting can also be done digitally. It should be noted that these two new measures were introduced after the Covid-19 pandemic and are designed to act more quickly in future similar cases.


The condominium manager has other duties. He must confirm the existence of a common reserve fund. He is also responsible for collecting the agreed costs and interest from the owners. The building authority must implement the decisions of the assembly within 15 working days or the agreed period. At least every six months, the condominium manager should inform the property owners about all processes related to the building. If work is required, the condominium manager must present in the owners' meeting with at least three cost budgets.


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Casas do Barlavento Condominiums Management Service


Casas do Barlavento offer an essential condominium management service for those living in multi-owner buildings. We act as managers in several condominiums and take care of all the tasks related to this function and even more. We work with partner companies to maintain the buildings and clean the common areas. Furthermore, we maintain constant contact with the owners and work hard to expedite all bureaucratic processes. We have extensive experience working with non-resident condominiums and can communicate in English and Portuguese.



Leave condominium management to those with the experience to manage all operations such as meetings, budgets, and the implementation of condominium rules at meetings.