On 1 January 2018, new legislation will take effect that is intended to improve the way in which home-owners' associations operate. The act (Wet verbetering functioneren verenigingen van eigenaars) primarily removes some of the barriers faced by home-owners' associations in apartment blocks when taking out loans. It also aims to encourage the building up of financial reserves to be used for maintenance in the future.
Although the latter is already mandatory, legislators take the view that it does not yet happen frequently enough. The minimum amount of these reserves will now be regulated by statute, the basic principle being that 0.5% of the rebuild value should be set aside. However, instead of this, it is also possible to choose a different amount, providing that this is justified in a long-term maintenance plan agreed by the home-owners' association.
An important addition that will have an impact in practice is the rule on how the money should be saved. Property investors often prefer not to deposit money in the home-owners' association bank account, opting instead to provide a guarantee that it will be paid when actually needed. The new act stipulates that the money should in principle be deposited in the home-owners' association bank account. Alternatively, it is possible to provide a bank guarantee. Any other method of payment is permitted only if it is either stipulated in the official deed of division or agreed by a majority of at least 80% of votes.