Knowing the Condominium By-Laws and the Condominium Juristic Person-- an Important Step Prior to Purchasing a Condominium Unit
Living in a condominium is a unique setting in that all residents collectively own certain premises and facilities whilst maintaining private ownership of their condo unit. This setting is particularly prone to conflicts regarding privacy, parking, pets, repairs, noise and other issues which are due to personal preferences and varying lifestyles. To brace yourself for these potential sources of complaints and conflicts, you need to know the by-laws of the condominium and understand the concept of the Condominium Juristic Person.
The By-Laws of the Condominium
Before deciding to buy a condo unit, obtain a copy of the Rules and Regulations or By-Laws of the condominium. This document should include the following information:
- Name of the Condominium Juristic Person
- Location of the office of the Condominium Juristic Person
- Amount of sinking fund the owner must pay
- Description of the common properties
- Delineation of how the common and private properties are to be used
- Ratio of each condo unit in terms of space
- Procedures for the general meeting
- Maintenance fees
- Procedure for managers and their appointments
Understanding the Concept of the Condominium Juristic Person
In the context of Thai laws governing condominiums, the term Condominium Juristic Person refers not really to a single person but to several persons which form a composite legal entity. The persons comprising such a legal body are so united in their persuasions and purposes that they are recognized by the law almost as if they were but a single individual. In legal jargon, the Condominium Juristic Person is thus an artificial being endowed with certain rights to own property yet with the advantage of insulating individual members from personal liability. The Condominium Juristic Person has both rights and responsibilities as outlined in the Condominium Act. The Condominium Juristic Person is where the owners air their concerns and file their complaints to. This legal body upholds the Condominium By-Laws as the law which governs the management of the affairs of the whole condominium.
Relating to the Condominium Juristic Person
It is important that you know how to esteem, relate to and take full advantage of the Condominium Juristic Person. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Request a copy of the Condominium Juristic Person’s account to make sure that everything is in order. Look for signs of transparency as there have been cases where funds have been surreptitiously siphoned to other avenues besides the ones stipulated. All payments, funds and fees pertaining to the property’s maintenance and upkeep must be meticulously accounted for.
- Refrain from making payments which are not included in the list of payments as outlined by the Condominium Juristic Person. An exception to this is in cases where unexpected repairs must be urgently undertaken and added funds are needed. In instances such as this, the Condominium Act stipulates that such a payment may only be required upon approval by no less than three-fourths of the body during a general meeting. Prior to casting your vote for an emergency fund, inquire whether the emergency fund is really legitimate. Air your concerns over proper liquidation and transparency of reporting.
- Realize, too, that as a sort of check-and-balance system, it is allowed for the co-owners to set up a committee to oversee or “police” the Condominium Juristic Person. Such a committee is generally composed of not more than nine persons elected during a general meeting of all members/co-owners.
- Realize that your voting rights as a co-owner is directly proportional to the total area or space you own in the condominium building. As such, one who owns greater space has greater voting rights.
- The Condominium Act requires that there be at least one general meeting of all co-owners in a year and that there should also be emergency meetings when the need arises.