On 7 June 2018, a new act modifying the current rules of co-ownership (the Act) was adopted in the Chamber of Representatives. On 2 July 2018, the Act was published in the Belgian Official Gazette and on 1 January 2019, the Act will enter into force.
The Act aims to improve and modernise the functioning of the co-ownership rules and to meet some difficulties encountered in practice. In general, the Act is based on the following key principles:
- flexibilisation of the functioning of the association of co-owners in order to facilitate the decision making-process and to prevent deadlock situations;
- increase the efficiency within the association of co-owners;
- rebalancing the relationships within the association of co-owners;
- clear and consistent rules.
The most important changes can be summarised as follows:
- Downsizing of the bylaws. The bylaws must contain a description of (i) the co-ownership, (ii) the private and common parts and (iii) the share in the common parts attached to every private part. In addition, the bylaws must specify the co-owners’ rights and obligations on the private and common parts and the calculation method of the distribution of the common charges. The other provisions can be included in the internal rules of the co-ownership (reglement van inwendige orde). The property administrator (syndicus) has the obligation to amend the internal rules of the co-ownership every time this would be necessary due to a change in applicable law.
- Replacement of the 3/4 majority by a 2/3 majority.
- Replacement of the unanimity rule by a 4/5 majority for all decisions related to the demolition or reconstruction of the building for reasons of hygiene or safety or in case the renovation cost of the building would be disproportionately high.
- Measures facilitating the recovery of the co-owners’ contributions in the common charges.
- Minimum amount of the reserve fund (reservekapitaal).