Whether you visit Cyprus on holiday or live here for any length of time, you can’t have helped but notice that there are countless numbers of property developments on the Island. These are especially prolific in and around the resort areas and many of them are made up of one or more apartment blocks.
Most if not all of these developments will have what is termed as “communal areas” which simply means that owners or tenants of the houses and apartments share the use of specific amenities. These can range from nothing more than the access roads to shared septic systems, street lighting, swimming pools, tennis courts and much more. Obviously, all of these things need maintaining and repairing, and that costs money.
Who pays communal fees?
In the following article, we aim to address some of the confusion that currently exists in relation to exactly who is responsible for these costs. Also, there are systems available to ensure that communal fees are paid and so we will be touching on that as well.
The bottom line is that anyone who owns a property on a development is responsible for a share of the fees. This is the case whether they choose to make use of the amenities or not. It also has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of time that they spend at their property. This is an argument that has often been put forward by owners of houses and apartments who reside overseas and only use such properties a few weeks of the year for holidays.
Why doesn’t the developer maintain the communal areas?
The developer will have created communal areas with the express aim of enhancing your property and making it a great place to live or stay. Swimming pools and other outdoor areas belong to every property owner on your development and as such their upkeep is your responsibility, not that of the developer. Whoever built your property is in the business of building houses and apartments, not property maintenance.
Can’t we all just take care of the communal areas close to our own properties?
Whilst every proud property owner is likely to be keen to ensure that their own property is in good order, it is not their responsibility (or entitlement) to carry out repairs or maintenance to any of the communal areas.
Shouldn’t my tenant be paying the communal fees?
Some owners who rent their properties out on a long-term contract automatically assume that the tenant is then responsible for the communal fees. The reality is, however, that a tenant is not the owner. Therefore, in the absence of either a contract of sale or the title deeds, they are, not legally compelled to pay such fees. In fact, even if it has been agreed that they are included in the rental payment, if they fail or refuse to make that portion of the total payment, the owner is still responsible.
I don’t have to pay because I don’t agree with the management committee
Unfortunately, if your development has an elected committee in place to manage the running of how the communal areas are maintained and repaired, you must pay. If you have grievances, these have to be addressed to such a committee, either to the secretary or at the general meeting. The process will be exactly the same for dealing with any queries concerning the condition of your communal areas. This includes issues concerning the competence and cost-effectiveness of the businesses that are contracted to carry out cleaning, maintenance, and repairs to communal areas.
My apartment block has no committee and we manage OK
Unless you are in the fortunate position of renting within a complex that is solely owned, managed, and maintained by one single entity, you definitely need a management committee. If you own a property on a development, the communal areas there will need maintenance and repair at some time.
Protecting your investment
A brief drive around a few of the streets close to any resort will soon reveal what happens on developments where there is no management committee. From peeling paint and piles of rubbish to empty swimming pools and inoperative lifts, the results speak for themselves. Even some of the most prestigious apartment complexes have the potential to become undesirable habitats. The really bad news for owners is that this can and does happen in a shockingly short space of time.
Contact us today to find out more about communal management through our contact us page.