Preventive legal advice prevents problems and costs for the VvE. We also supervise VvE decision-making, mediate and negotiate where possible and conduct proceedings for VvE boards and flat owners.
As a board member or ordinary member of a VvE, you have many issues to think about and arrange properly. This can prevent hassle and costs later on and reduces the chance of problems escalating. If things do get complicated, we can help you with our knowledge and experience, both preventively and with an approach if something goes wrong unexpectedly.
A building that is divided into flat rights by a deed of division always has an Owners' Association. If you have bought a flat in this building, you are by law a member of this association. Through the association, with a Board and a General Members' Meeting (ALV), all owners are jointly responsible for maintaining the building. The division deed describes exactly which parts of the building the owners have to maintain together (the 'common parts') and for which they are responsible themselves.
For renovations and adjustments that affect the communal areas, permission must always be obtained from the general meeting of the members of the VvE. This applies not only to larger alterations, roof and exterior painting or foundation repair. Permission is also needed for relatively minor alterations such as installing a dormer or an air-conditioning unit, changing entrances and passages or making a flat roof suitable for a roof terrace.
The management and maintenance of shared facilities, such as leaking pipes or a broken lift, is also the responsibility of the association. This does not apply to pipes if these kinds of facilities are only for the benefit of one flat owner. It is therefore always necessary to look carefully at the division deed to see if a facility is common or not.
If the ALV agrees to an intervention, a building permit (environmental permit) is often also required under administrative law. Depending on the situation, this must be applied for by the VvE or the flat owner concerned. The municipality may also come into play for enforcement issues and mandatory foundation repair and energy-saving measures. We also operate flexibly in the field of administrative law and its interface with VvE law.
The prevention and termination of nuisance in the building and the daily use of the common areas is also an important task of the VVE board. In addition to the division deed, these are often governed by the Rules of Procedure. The combination of the division deed and the Household Regulations regulates the use of the building and how the provisions can be enforced by the board.
In practice, we see that an apartment building and its owner, the owner's association, go through different 'life phases'. When the building is completed, the initiator sets up a VvE with a provisional board. After the flat owners have moved in, the new owners form the VvE board and General Assembly. The management of the building is further structured by establishing a set of House Rules and a Long-term Maintenance Programme (MJOP). In many apartment buildings, an administrator is appointed to take care of the technical and financial management of the building and to help with the regular running of the VvE.
Depending on the quality level of the delivery, this is followed by a phase in which it becomes apparent that the communal facilities of the new building sometimes leave something to be desired. For example, entrances that, on closer inspection, need to be adjusted, a wall in a hallway initially finished with stucco needs to be tiled after all to keep it tidy, or electrical sockets for electric cars are missing in the parking area. Adapting these and freeing up the necessary financial resources all require formal internal decision-making within the VVE.
When this initial period is over, tackling nuisances often comes up on the agenda.
Of course, as a VvE board or member of the association, you do not call a lawyer for every question. Also, as flat owners, you solve problems together internally if at all possible. An appointed administrator or an interest group such as the Vereniging Eigen Huis can also provide first-line support. In practice, conflicts of interest or the incomplete functioning of the Owners' Association can easily lead to differences of opinion and even mutual tension within the building. This can seriously disrupt living enjoyment, incur significant costs and take up a lot of time.
We do not charge for an initial stock-taking contact. If there is a group of members with the same interest, we will see if a collective can be formed so that costs can be shared.
In the early stages of a building's life, when the Board is still relatively inexperienced, it may be advisable to already seek legal advice on how best to implement and possibly amend the Deed of division and the Rules of Procedure, so that no undesirable situations or precedents arise that may be difficult to reverse later.
Sometimes, because of the interests involved, it is extra important that the correct steps are taken by the VvE board and/or by the ALV in order to achieve a legally valid permission or other required decision. We will take a look, advise on the correct approach and, if necessary, provide the required written documents.
It helps in problematic situations not to wait too long before calling in our legal support, so that we can offer solutions, mediation and guidance based on the rules that apply in the building.
If necessary, we write letters or build an approach for further steps such as obtaining a substitute consent or a judgement in court.
We recommend contacting the municipality immediately in the event of enforcement action, as is often the case when a roof terrace or extension is built without an environmental permit, as this often involves short deadlines and the imposition of large fines.
It will also certainly be useful to contact us in the event of damage caused by leakage, for example, where the question arises as to who should bear the costs - insured or otherwise - the VvE or the owner of the flat. Sometimes there are misunderstandings about this.