​Video Transcript: Is it OK to ban non-paying owners from parts of your apartment building?

The struggle is real if you own an apartment in Cyprus you will no doubt if it dealt with some extremely frustrating situations where you just want to pull your hair out.

My name is Russell Flick and I'm the founder of the CyprusCommunalGuide.com in this video I discuss a recent request for advice that I received from an owner of an apartment building who was struggling with a number of non-paying owners.

I was recently contacted by this owner of an apartment in Cyprus and he was asking me questions about voting rights and percentages which is quite a common question that I receive. During the conversation the topic came up on what they were planning to vote for, because there's different regulations depending on what they're voting on.

What he told me was that an item had been proposed to install a number of barriers to block parts of the building to those owners who don't pay towards the maintenance of the building.

During the conversation I could hear his complete frustration and that this was a completely desperate act to try and force these owners to pay their charges I'm sympathetic to this type of situation where frustrations just get to a boiling point over the owners who just fail to live up to their responsibilities towards what are their own buildings.

Unfortunately acting on these frustrations will rarely result in the situation getting any better you have to stop and think about what the likely outcome is?

Think about it yourselves, in this case do you think that there would be an increased risk of damage to the building by those non-paying owners when they come home to find that they've been refused access to that area of the building?

If they tried to force entry to the area or just in anger, and if there was damage how would the committee prove that it was them or would they simply be left footing the bill?

What do you think would happen if they later stage if this didn't work took these owners to court for the non and when these debtors lawyers informs the judge that their client was refused access to part of the building by the committee now remember there's no legal framework in the regulations that gives a committee of right to do this so do you think this could harm their case you know have you thought about any extra liability that they might be exposing themselves to.

What if the debtors don't even use the building, the committee have now effectively given them the best excuse for non-payment “I won't pay as I don't use that facility or that part of the building, so I don't really care that you've locked access these types of facilities”.

This happens quite often and I see that they rarely make things better, they most often just make a bad situation worse.

Instead if you're experiencing this kind of problem you should focus on removing excuses and using the rights that you do have within the regulations. Make sure that your operation and decisions are always whiter than white, that way you don't give them any excuse for non-payment or any form of argument should you decide to go legal in the future.

You can use in-house credit control procedures, professional assistance, communal management companies or debt collectors. If all else fails the final step and the last resort is to instruct a lawyer to get these owners to pay.  

Remember it's a common myth that there's nothing you can do; the regulations are comprehensive and while it takes time you have to remember the law is on your side providing you stay within it.

Russell Flick

Experienced Property Professional, Public Speaker & Author of 'The Ultimate Committee Handbook'. In addition to his published books, Russell is a public speaker, columnist and founder of www.CyprusCommunalGuide.com, the online information portal for property owners to get support and advice on all aspects of communal property ownership and management.