Every communal building must have a management committee, which is elected in a general meeting of the owners and constitutes a legally established entity responsible for the management and administration of communal areas.
The management committee (MC) has the rights, duties and powers provided in the Immovable Property Law. The MC acts for and on behalf of the owners, it is responsible to impose the regulations and it should be duly established, act lawfully and apply the decisions of the general meetings of the owners.
It has the duty to control, operate, manage and administer the communal ownership, which the MC must keep and maintain in good and operational condition, to insure the communal premises. Moreover, it has the right to establish and operate a fund, the balance of which must be sufficient to cover the management expenses.
Furthermore, the MC has to define each owner’s share in the communal expenses and the method of its payment. In the event of failure or omission on behalf of any owner to pay his share, the MC is entitled to recover such amount in the disbursements for repairs and other works carried out in the building or relate to its management through the filing of an action in court against the owner in question.
The decisions of the general meetings are recorded in a special register, to which every owner is entitled to have access. In buildings where no general meetings are called and the MC was not legally elected, an issue may be raised regarding its existence and legitimacy in the context of a dispute between the MC and the owner of a unit.
The MC has the right to sue and be sued for any manner concerning communal ownership. When the MC is non-existent, bringing an action in court on behalf of the MC is considered as abuse of process and the other party may challenge the MC’s entity. Keeping minutes and recording decisions with full justification is necessary since this defeats any disputes or challenges to the legitimacy of the MC’s status and the amount of its necessary costs and disbursements.
The owners of the units participate in the necessary costs for the maintenance of the communal ownership and their share is determined according to the extent of each unit. Where no MC has been appointed, the owners are obliged to pay their share in the common expenses to the vendor.
The District Courts of Paphos and Famagusta, in decisions issued in May, dealt with the above issues and dismissed the actions filed by the MCs on the grounds that they did not prove their claims. The District Court of Paphos held the method of calculation of the common expenses was inconsistent with the law, because the charge was not limited to the necessary expenses provided in it.
It was held that there was a surplus and the MC’s action not to use it and continue imposing common expenses was not in line with the provisions of the law. The court pointed out that since there was a surplus in the MC’s account there could be no need to contribute further to the communal expenditure through the demand for the payment of further communal charges.
The District Court of Famagusta in its judgment held the yearly amount claimed for common expenses and reserve was well above the share of the unit in the common ownership and therefore the MC did not prove its claim or justified the difference.