What to do about Unauthorised Alterations to an Apartment?
So, your neighbor has made a change to the exterior of their apartment? They have done this without checking their neighbours are OK with it, and it makes the building look ugly as its a different colour to the rest of the building. Can they make these kind of unauthorised alterations, and what can you do about it?
In this article I will discuss the sticky subject of unauthorised alterations to Apartments?
This is a subject that I get asked about a lot. Someone will contact me through the advice website with a question like “My neighbor has enclosed their balcony”, or “They have painted their balcony Green”, “Are they allowed to do this?”.
The first thing to understand is that when you buy an apartment you have a shared investment with your neighbors. What you do affects them, and what they do affects you.
Whats the Problem?
Buildings are built to a particular style and aesthetic, and while people have individual taste or style this should be limited to inside the properties only. When you drive around and see a building that looks more like a Favela as some balconies are enclosed with different materials and outsides are painted different colours, It not only makes the building look unsightly, it can also damage the value of the property for resale, or rental.
Additionally if planning permission has not been granted and your title deeds have not yet been issued, this alteration could cause your title deeds application to be denied.
Because of this the regulations are very strict to protect people and their property investment. These Communal Property Regulations state that no owner can make any unauthorised alterations to their property that:
· Shall prejudice the rights of the owner of any other unit or interfere with its enjoyment by the owner of the other unit;
· Shall affect in any way the jointly-owned property, its smooth functioning or its enjoyment; and
· Shall in any way affect the walls supporting the jointly-owned property and its external walls, shall endanger in any way the safety of the jointly-owned property or shall affect its external appearance.
What happens if they breach the regulations and make an unauthorised alteration to their apartment anyway?
Failure to follow this section is a breach of the law, and the apartment building Management Committee can and should act to restore the property including legal action for damages/costs involved.
It’s important to take action immediately, a notice to terminate works or restore the property via a lawyer, or even an injunction from the court should this be ignored.
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