Who makes the rules in the condo communal areas, and who’s responsible for it?

All condominiums will have communal areas, which are the amenities that are shared by owners and tenants, such as swimming pools, fitness facilities, the lobby and car parks. All owners have what is known as “fractional ownership” of these areas, and the amount will be based on the size of the unit they own. Of course, as everyone owns a small share of these areas, it is essential to determine who sets and enforces the rules and the upkeep of these amenities.

By law, all condominiums in Thailand must have a Condominium Juristic Person (CJP) responsible for the condo’s overall day-to-day property management. It is an all-encompassing role that also includes managing the communal areas, although it does not necessarily mean that they set the rules as all owners have a legal right to self-governance. In this article, we address all of the points to reduce confusion as it is a common cause of disharmony in many buildings.

What is a CJP?

It is essential to understand the role of the CJP, who may be an individual or a management company, effectively anyone who is involved in the decision-making process within the complex. They have the same legal rights as a human and in many cases work in conjunction with a committee who may be responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for the communal areas.

Who decides who is on the committee?

The co-owners of the condo will vote for the committee. Like all committees, the nominees must be nominated and seconded by separate individuals, although the nominees have the right to reject the nomination. The committee must consist of at least three owners with a maximum of nine, and the term is for two years. Members can be re-elected for another (consecutive) term but must resign their position at the end of the fourth year.

Anyone who owns a unit or units in the condominium can be nominated as a committee member so long as they are deemed to be a “fit and proper” person as stipulated by The Condominium Act. It includes Thai nationals and foreigners, although a foreigner owning a unit in Thai Company Name (which is technically illegal) would be ineligible.

What is the role of the committee?

Once the committee has been formed, they will have a significant role in deciding how the complex is run and naturally, for the most part, would be the communal areas. They will influence how money is spent and what improvements are needed or ratified. In most cases, they will be involved, in conjunction with the CJP, in setting the rules and, in some cases enforcing them. However, the enforcement of the regulations is often delegated to the Condominium Juristic Manager.

Committee members are expected to attend all meetings, including the AGM, unless there are extenuating circumstances. A significant part of their role is to ensure that the rules and regulations of the property are adhered to; predominantly mean the communal areas. If they believe that the CJP or Juristic Manager is not fulfilling their role, they have the power to replace them. They are also responsible for approving the condo’s annual audit, ensuring that the condo’s finances have been correctly managed.

Do all condos have a committee?

Most condos have a committee, but it is not a legal requirement and finding people wishing to take on the role can be challenging. It is a time-consuming and often thankless task, and often, some committee members are forced into the position as no one else wishes to fulfil the role. In these circumstances, the terms of the committee may be amended.

Who is responsible for maintaining the condo’s communal areas?

The Condominium Act states that the primary role of the CJP is to ensure that the communal areas and amenities are properly maintained. It includes that all repairs are completed on time and to a suitable standard. They will also be responsible for organising the regular maintenance, repairs and general running of these areas.

The CJP will be responsible for sourcing quotes and contacting the relevant individuals, and this must be to the best of their ability and within “the confines” of the law. It is mainly for this reason why owners and committees prefer to engage the services of a management company as they will have established trusted contacts along with the necessary experience and know-how to ensure that these functions are correctly carried out.

How is the upkeep of the communal area funded?

Of course, maintaining the communal areas costs money, so all owners must pay what is known as the common area fees (maintenance fee). The fee is usually paid monthly, quarterly or annually, with the price being set at the AGM and charged by the square metre. All owners will get the opportunity to vote on the charge, and the fees will go into a sinking fund from which all costs are paid. Some years there will be a surplus, and this will be retained in the fund to go towards future significant repairs or maintenance.

Who is responsible for ensuring that the maintenance fees are paid?

It is the responsibility of the CJP to ensure that all fees are paid in a timely fashion. Where they are not, interest can be charged, and the CJP has the legal right to sue owners for late or non-payment. It is a significant responsibility as if fees are not collected, or the initial charge is too low, the property could fall into disrepair.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is the role of the CJP and committee to make the rules for communal areas jointly. However, as the committee is answerable to owners and the CJP accountable to the committee, it could be argued that it is a joint decision between all parties, including owners. However, the upkeep of the communal amenities is solely the responsibility of the CJP as per the Condominium Act. Failure to do so may result in the CJP being replaced.

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