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A practical guide to the Italian Condominium Reform

As is well known, on November 20, 2012 the Senate Judiciary Committee finally approved the Condominium Bill.

Pursuant to article 32, the changes will come into force only six months after the publication of this Law in the Italian Official Gazette. Set out below is a brief guide to the most important features thereof:

Administrator

Requirements: The new article 71 bis of the Provisions Implementing the Italian  Civil Code requires that anyone performing the role of administrator must possess a secondary school diploma and must have attended an initial training course in administration condominium.

These requirements, however, are not necessary in the event that the administrator is appointed from among the members of the condominium.

Even those who have been a condominium administrator for at least one year during the three years prior to the date on which this provision comes into force, are authorized to perform the activity of administrator in the absence of the above requirements (without prejudice, however, to the obligation to undergo compulsory periodic training).

The prospective condominium administrator must also not have been prohibited from performing such role as a result of a previous conviction (no register has been set up for condominium administrators).

Insurance: The Assembly may subject the appointment of the administrator to the condition that he execute an individual civil liability insurance policy for acts performed in the exercise of his mandate, the costs of which shall be charged to the members of the condominium.

Duration: The term of office for administrators changes from one year to two years.

Revocation: A resolution removing the administrator from office can be passed at any time by the majority contemplated for his appointment or in the manner provided by the condominium regulations.

A number of cases are listed (for example, failure to open or not use the condominium bank account) in which the members of the condominium may  individually request the convening of the Assembly in order to stop the irregularities and remove the administrator .

Remuneration: The administrator, at the time of accepting the appointment or renewal, is required to specify the amount of his salary, without any entitlement to further compensation (unless otherwise approved by the condominium members), failing which the appointment will be deemed invalid.

Pets

With regard to pets the legislative requirements is clear in providing that the rules of the condominium rules may not prohibit the possession of pets.

Decrees of injunction against defaulting condominium members within six months

As is well known, one of the primary tasks of the condominium administrator is the collection of the fees necessary for providing for the maintenance of the common parts and the provision of services.

In this regard, article 63 of the Implementing Provisions of the Civil Code allows the administrator to ask for an injunction which is immediately enforceable, despite the opposition lodged by the enjoined party.

The novelty lies in the fact that the new article 1129, paragraph 9 of the Civil Code provides that the administrator is required to begin an action for the forcible collection of the payments within six months from the end of the year in which the credit is due, unless otherwise expressly waived by the condominium assembly (the latter provision would seem to apply to those situations in which the Assembly takes note of the serious economic difficulties in which the defaulting condominium member finds himself or the approval of a redemption plan for the money which is owed).

Non-centralized radio or television systems and the production of energy from renewable sources

There are two situations considered by the new article 1122 bis of the Civil Code.

Firstly, there is the opportunity for the residents to install non-centralized systems for radio and television reception, as well as to have access to any other kind of information flow, such as satellite or cable TV. This is limited only by the proviso that these works cause the least damage to the common areas and buildings owned by the individual, preserving in any event the architectural decorum of the building.

The installation of facilities for the production of energy from renewable sources on the terraced roof, on any other suitable surface of the condominium building or in the individual property of a condominium member is also permitted.

If, however, changes to the common areas become necessary, the interested party must give notice to the administrator, indicating the specific content and manner in which such changes will be made, so that the assembly may prescribe, with the majority provided for under paragraph five of article 1136 of the Italian Civil Code, appropriate alternative arrangements for implementing or imposing precautions that safeguard the stability, security or architectural decorum of the condominium building.

The Assembly may, with the same majority, also subject the provision of the services in question by the person in question to a suitable guarantee for any damage that may be caused.

The assembly can then ensure, at the latter’s request, that the use of the terrace roof and other surfaces is shared among the condominium members, thus protecting the different forms of use provided for under the building regulations.

Obligation of the current account

According to the provisions of the seventh paragraph of article 1129 of the Civil Code, the administrator is obliged to pass the amounts received for any reason whatsoever from condominium members or from third parties, as well as those sums of any kind whatsoever paid by the condominium, on a specific bank or post office account, held by the condominium. Each condominium owner, through the administrator, may ask to inspect and obtain copies, at his own expense, of the periodic statements of account.

Condominium Statement of Account

The new article 1130 bis of the Italian Civil Code provides for the so-called condominium statement of account, containing the income and expenditure and any other information relating to the financial situation of the condominium, the amounts available and any reserve funds, which must be expressed in such a way as to allow them to be immediately checked.

The Assembly may also, with the majority provided for the appointment of the administrator, appoint an auditor that checks the accounts of the condominium . The latter’s compensation will be paid by the members in proportion to the size of their properties.

Members of the condominium and those who hold rights over the properties which make up the condominium, may inspect at any time the expenses documents and make copies thereof at their own expense. Records and supporting documents must be kept for ten years from the date of their registration.

Waiver of the central heating or air conditioning system

The new article 1118, paragraph 4 of the Italian Civil Code gives condominium members the right to ask for the centralized heating/air conditioning system to be turned off in their property, so long as this does not create significant imbalances in the functioning thereof or extra costs for other condominium members.

The member who so waives such right is, in any event, required to contribute to the payment of the costs incurred for the extraordinary maintenance of the hetaimng system and for its preservation and retrofitting.

Website

Upon being so requested by the Assembly, the administrator is required to activate a condominium website (which will be updated on a monthly basis unless otherwise provided for by the Assembly).

The costs of the activation and management of the website shall be borne by the condominium.

Access to this site is protected by a password and shall allow members of the condominium to view and print in digital format the monthly statements and the other Assembly documents.

Protection of the intended use of common parts

The new article 1117 quarter of the Italian Civil Code provides that - in the case of activities which have a significant negative impact on the intended use of the common parts - the administrator or the members of the condominium may, even individually, enjoin the perpetrator not to do so and may request the convening of the Assembly to stop the infringement. The Assembly may decide on the termination of such activities with the majority provided by article 1136.

Video Surveillance

Resolutions relating to the installatio

n of surveillance facilities on the common parts of the condominium building must be approved by a majority of those present and at least half the value of the condominium building.

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This post is also available in: Italian

Daniele Costa
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