The member of a board of directors comments that the residential complex he inhabits has several blocks with duplex apartments and four floors. “Most of those who live there are the owners, many of them elderly, with serious physical handicaps.”
The consultant adds that “the blocks do not have elevators; However, several years ago, the assembly proposed and approved its installation in each of the blocks. When making the quotes, proposals for payment of fees were presented, but some non-solidarity owners, most of the first floors refused, arguing that they are not obliged to contribute”.
The reader also explains that “several owners, especially of the upper apartments, affected because there are no elevators, we disagree with this refusal. For this, we remind them that Law 675 of 2001 does oblige them to contribute”.
Likewise, the consultant cites article 29 which refers to common expenses, specifically in paragraph 3, where it excludes them only for the purposes of maintenance, repair and replacement.
“In this case, we consider that the exclusion would not be applicable, because we are talking about a new construction and the acquisition of elevators that currently do not exist. I ask: According to the above, is it possible to charge the owners of the first floors for the construction of the elevators?
Answer. Although it is necessary to review the antecedents in each case, according to the information provided, it is a question of equipping each block with an elevator that did not exist from the beginning and carrying out the works for its installation.
Consequently, it is an innovation that, more than luxurious, is useful and will give a greater value to all buildings.
The assembly is competent to evaluate the proposal that implies the substantial modification of the common goods, as well as the need of the majority of owners to have this element to guarantee, mainly, the right to health.
In the same way, the right to equality must be taken into account for people with temporary or permanent disabilities, who require the elevator to use their private unit. On the other hand, it is essential to have the technical studies and the urban planning licenses required when it comes to architectural and structural modifications.
Additionally, the work will result in the imposition of an extraordinary fee and the reform of the horizontal property regulations.
This, due to the adjustments that must be made in accordance with the modification license and the plans approved by one of the urban curatorships.
It will even be pertinent to include provisions on the use of elevators to ensure safety.
Once the decision has been made by the owners’ meeting with a qualified quorum of 70 percent of the total coefficients, it will be mandatory even for dissenters and those who do not attend; that is, they must contribute with the common expenses, this without prejudice to the fact that they can challenge the decision in court.
It is worth noting that the elevator will be a common good for all and that the owners of the first floor will be able to use it to access the upper floors, even occasionally.
There are some exceptions
Law 675 exempts owners of first-floor properties in residential and office buildings from paying expenses when elevators are installed, but under certain conditions: when to access their deposit or parking lot or other property for private use, or property common for general enjoyment, there is no elevator service. In buildings with other uses, everything will depend on what the regulations established.
This aspect must also be analyzed since the norm is strict in this regard. If these conditions are not met, the owners must contribute to the common expenses for such expenses; in fact, the norm says: “Even when they do not use a certain common good or service.”