Maintenance vs. Repair for WEG

2Q==In order for tHome Maintenance he property to be in tiptop shape even after many years, there is an obligation in condominium associations to maintain the common property. This is ensured, among other things, by the maintenance reserve. And with the changes in condominium law, the owners’ meeting is now much faster and easier to quorate.

A great playground with lots of sand for digging, building, muddying and rolling around. The community of owners can decide to build a playground by a simple majority. The maintenance of common property following modernization is one of the obligations of the community of owners.Maintenance, repair and maintenance reserve

Anyone who buys a condominium usually becomes part of a condominium association (WEG). However, the owners not only have to take care of their own apartment, but also have the duty to maintain the common property together with everyone else.

Common property are areas, rooms and objects that are available to all owners at all times or are part of the external design such as foundations, roofs, staircases or supply lines. What exactly counts as common property and what in turn counts as special property can be read in the GEV Guide. Maintenance and repair – what’s the difference?

Maintenance and repair serve to preserve the value of the property. The difference: Maintenance measures are works that maintain the apartment in its usable and functional structural condition and are intended to remove signs of wear. In the apartment, for example, this would be the resealing of the parquet floor, in community ownership, a typical maintenance measure is a new coat of paint of the weathered house façade.

Repair measures, on the other hand, go beyond mere maintenance and are necessary to repair defects or damage that affect the proper condition of the dwelling or common property. The repair is carried out by repair or replacement, e.g. the replacement of broken planks in the parquet floor, the installation of a modern thermal bath after the defect of an old boiler or the repair of cracks in the façade.

The aim of maintenance and repair is to maintain or restore the original proper condition of the property. The criterion of preservation distinguishes maintenance and repair from other measures, i.e. from modernising repairs, modernisations and structural changes.

§ 14 of the WEG obliges every apartment owner to maintain and, as a member of the community of owners, also to maintain the common property. This maintenance obligation also applies to individual apartment owners when it comes to special property. For example, the maintenance of the garden part in the special property of a ground floor owner, which he also uses as the only resident.

Passing on repair costs from common property to a single owner is only permissible in the exceptional case of § 16 Abs. 4 WEG. If, for example, the apartment owner is to bear the costs of renewing the windows himself, he can demand that the other owners also bear the costs for their windows. If this has been handled differently for other owners in the past, there is a right of appeal.The proper administration of the apartment owners

The apartment owners can decide on maintenance and repair measures within the framework of proper administration with a simple majority decision in the owners’ meeting.

Under § 21 Abs. V WEG, the law lists by way of example what belongs to a proper administration in accordance with the interests of all apartment owners:Establishment of house rulesProper maintenance and repair of community propertyConclusion and maintenance of a building, house and landowner liability insuranceAccumulation of an adequate maintenance reservePreparation of a business planToleration of all measures necessary for communication or energy supply for the benefit of a condominium owner

The administration of the joint property of a condominium association is in itself the task of the apartment owners. As a rule, they appoint an administrator to relieve them.Creation of a maintenance reserve for unexpected repairs

In order to ensure that individual owners are not unprepared for an enormous financial burden with regard to unexpected repairs, they should build up an adequate maintenance reserve. There is no legal obligation to do so, but it has some advantages. In most cases, this maintenance reserve is formed by a monthly contribution from all owners. The amount forms together with the ongoing operating costs and the property management costs the so-called house money.

The maintenance reserve is earmarked. This means that it may only be used for the maintenance of the common property of the property, for example:the renewal of an outdated heating systemRoof repairsRepair of damage to the façadePaintingReplacement of windowsInspection of the elevator

Reserves are in the interest of all apartment owners. You avoid financial bottlenecks and the decay of a property. The amount of the maintenance reserve is correspondingly lower for new buildings than for old buildings. How exactly the maintenance reserve is used for renovation work can be decided by the owners themselves. They may also decide that measures shall be financed by means of a one-off special levy.

Since the reserve is earmarked for maintenance and repair measures, the individual owner of the dwelling cannot demand that his reserve be paid to him when selling his property. With the apartment, he also sells his share of the maintenance reserve. However, it is possible for the owner to add the saved amount to the purchase price of the apartment, because the share also passes into the possession of the buyer. How is the maintenance reserve calculated?

The legislator only speaks of an appropriate maintenance reserve (§ 21 para. 5 no. 4 WEG), but does not name a specific amount. This depends on factors such as condition, age, equipment and susceptibility to repair. For rough orientation, Peters’ formula can be used to calculate an appropriate amount for the maintenance reserve. For this, however, the construction costs or the construction costs per square meter must be known. It is assumed that for a property of 80 years, 1.5 times the value of the construction costs for maintenance will probably be incurred. Another factor is the assumption that only about 70 percent of the maintenance costs are attributable to the common property, the remaining 30 percent are costs that owners should take into account for their special property.

Construction costs per square metre x 1.5 x 0.7 : 80 = maintenance reserve

If the maintenance reserve paid in for years is set too high, owners can demand a reduction in the amount. At the meeting, the community of owners then decides by majority vote on the new amount of the maintenance reserve. However, there is no legal claim to repayment of the overpaid amount. As a rule, the funds flow into the “beautification” of the residential complex or the community property.New residential property law since December 2020

Because the legislator saw a renovation backlog for condominium complexes, he changed the Condominium Act (WEG) in December 2020 strongly. This makes it easier to decide on conversions. Changes to the common property – for example, the construction of a playground or a bicycle shed – can now be decided by a simple majority in the owners’ meeting. Until now, modernizations were only possible if a majority of three-quarters of all owners and more than half of all co-ownership shares had voted for it in the owners’ meeting. In practice, however, these majorities were often not achieved.