Even if you own an apartment, your options when renovating are limited. This is because parts of the apartment are communal property, and the owners’ association gets to decide whether you can renovate these. But where do the apartment owner’s responsibilities end and those of the owners’ association begin?
There are certain rules in place that determine what you can and can’t alter in your apartment without the approval of the owners of the building’s other apartments. A distinction is made here between individual and communal property. The individual property belongs to the apartment’s owner, the communal property to the owners’ association.
What is individual property and what is communal property?
The individual property within your apartment includes non-load-bearing walls, flooring materials, the inward-facing side of the apartment’s entrance door, sanitary and electrical installations, and any storage space that comes with the apartment, such as a cellar.
Communal property includes exterior walls, the roof, façade, load-bearing interior walls and ceilings, the heating system, the stairwell and the windows.
What can I alter without needing approval?
In many instances, the owner is permitted to alter those parts of their apartment classed as individual property. However, this is only the case where these alterations do not impinge on the rights of other apartment owners. The apartment owner is responsible for pipelines and electrical installations. They are also entitled to alter the kitchen and bathroom(s) as they see fit.
Yet for other alterations, the owner must seek the approval of the owners’ association. Examples include changing the floor plan, or swapping out the apartment’s front door, as the outward-facing side forms part of the communal property. The same goes for windows and balconies. Here, one must not only take account of the uniform appearance of the apartment building as a whole, but also seek the approval of the owners’ association.
How does renovation work affect the property’s value?
A freshly renovated bathroom or a new kitchen can increase the apartment’s value ahead of selling it. However, there is always a risk that the changes do not suit the taste of potential buyers. Modernisation work that raises the status of the fixtures from ‘standard’ to ‘premium’, for example, does generally result in a higher selling price. Yet in most instances, it is impossible to make a blanket statement about this without assessing matters on a case-by-case basis.
This is why property experts recommend consulting a professional. That is not only because the cost of the renovation work needs to be calculated precisely beforehand – anyone planning to renovate their apartment must also know by how much it will increase the value. Otherwise, they may end up actually losing money. Thanks to their many years of experience, professional estate agents know whether the renovation work is worthwhile, and if yes, what specific improvements should be made.
Do you want to find out if it is worth renovating your private apartment before selling it? Get in touch with us. We are happy to advise you.
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In this text, the generic masculine is used for better readability. Feminine and other gender identities are explicitly included to the extent necessary for the statement.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute tax or legal advice in individual cases. Please consult a solicitor and/or accountant to clarify the circumstances of your specific case.
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