Building renovation works in Portugal – rules and regulations for apartment blocks

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Legal requirements for construction works on a Portuguese apartment block / Gtres
5 December 2018, Redaction

How long has it been since your building had any work done to it? Is it a legal requirement to do carry out reparations to the communal areas every now and then? What happens if there are people living in certain flats of the apartment block who don’t pay their condominium fees? In today's article for idealista/news in Portugal, the Portuguese consumer rights watchdog Associação Portuguesa para a Defesa do Consumidor or DECO, we explain the ins and outs of repair works on your block of flats.

If you have a question about consumer rights in Portugal, send it to Deco by email to decolx@deco.pt or by phone to 00 351 21 371 02 20.

"The façade of my building hasn't been painted for many years and now it needs repairs. I have doubts that I would like to clear up: is there any rule about the obligatory renovation works in the building? Some condominium owners don't pay their dues, so how can we divide up the cost of the building works?"

As far as conservation work is concerned, be it facade painting or any other repair, this must be done once in each eight-year period for Portuguese buildings. Further details are available from the Legal Regime of Urban Planning and Building (Regime Jurídico da Urbanização e Edificação).

Works that do not conflict visually (change of colour) or structurally (increase in the size of the property) of the building do not require authorisation from the municipality. Building owners can, of course, proceed with all these works, if the condominium so decides.

In fact, the responsibility for the preservation of the building belongs to the condominium, which means that work can only start after an assembly of condo owners has been held, in which they must decide by simple majority (51%).

To clarify, if the reserve fund doesn’t have enough capital, the financial expenses necessary for the upkeep of the common areas of the building are, as a general rule, paid by the homeowners in proportion to the value of their respective properties.

However, if there are owners of some apartments who do not pay and the condo as a whole doesn’t have the money to carry out the necessary maintenance works, you will have to talk to those defaulting neighbours and try to make them understand that, despite the costs and problems normally associated with the words “building work”, the conservation of the building is fundamental for maintaining the quality of each individual property.

All property owners in the apartment building should be aware that regular maintenance work is not only a legal requirement, but also makes easier to manage and support the general upkeep of the condo, being in everyone’s benefit.

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