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What can you (not) expect from your union?  Who is responsible for legal obligations?  |  My guide

What can you (not) expect from your union? Who is responsible for legal obligations? | My guide

Livius“We have a problem with our union…” is a statement that lawyer and mediator Astrid Clapbuts hears often. “Many conversations or emails actually start with that simple sentence. Further conversations reveal that this issue is somewhat more nuanced than that. Why are so many people having problems with their union?” Livios construction site Discover it.

What is a trade union?

Once a building has at least two apartments from different owners, it is legally required to appoint a union. The syndicate looks after the common parts of the building on behalf of the Participating Owners Association (VME). Then think about the elevator and the stairwell. Exactly what falls within the common parts of a residential building and what does not fall within the statute.

Apartment rental: These partners play a role.

“The union implements the decisions of the general meeting (AGM) and is therefore often inadvertently the embodiment of a problem faced by the co-owner,” explains Astrid Klapots. “Despite the more transparent condo law, many co-owners still have a wrong image and even false expectations about the operation of VME. Decisions are made at the general meeting, of which the co-owner is a member. Read all about the general meeting.

Would you like to learn more about the specific duties of a union? They are clearly listed here.

The co-owners decide, not the union

So it’s primarily up to the co-owners to decide and manage…not the union. “Often this is seen in reverse. You have to understand this mechanism well and show a sense of responsibility as a co-owner. Today more than ever.”

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“The government imposes obligations regarding the safety and sustainability of homes. Our buildings are outdated in terms of facilities. What about installing solar panels, charging stations and new heating technologies in apartments? In addition, there is also the natural wear and tear of buildings. Reasons enough to effectively question your property management as a co-owner.

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Take responsibility

“It is of course good for your union to raise legal needs or obligations and objectively point out initiatives of the co-owners that are important for the condition of the building. But you certainly cannot expect this from every union. If initiatives are not taken, it is the responsibility of the co-owners.”

Is your building ready yet? EPC for common parts is mandatory from 1 January 2024.

Request “extra work”

This does not change the fact that you can ask the union to take more initiative regarding the management of the common parts of your building. The union agreement contains an overview of the rates for “overtime” you can request from the union. But be aware that this goes beyond normal legal duties and powers and standard contractual terms.

In short, should you call in a leaky tap if your boiler breaks down or you get into a fight with the neighbours? So you don’t have to go to the guild for that.

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Have you bought or are considering an apartment? Here’s what you need to know about the functions of a co-owners association.

Living in an apartment: This is what the law says about your rights and obligations

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Buying a house or apartment off the plan? This is what it means

This article was written by our partner Livios.be. Livios.be is a specialized site focused on construction and renovation.