Living in a building with tenant-ownership – own or rent
This section contains general information about what it means to be a tenant-owner, manage a property, be a member of the board of a tenant owned cooperative housing association, and be a good landlord if the tenant owned cooperative housing association has tenants. There is also information on the rights of non-owning tenants in a tenant owned cooperative housing association.
A tenant owned cooperative housing association is a cooperative economic association that owns and manages a property. The Tenant-Ownership Act, inter alia, governs what a tenant owned cooperative housing association may and must do. A tenant owned cooperative housing association leases the apartments on its property to the members of association who have paid for their owner-occupied apartments. A tenant-owner does not formally own his or her apartment (the apartment itself is owned by the tenant owned cooperative housing association), but instead has a right to reside in the apartment (right of utilization) without any time limitation.
Being a tenant-owner
A tenant-owner is a member in a tenant owned cooperative housing association, which means that the members are indirectly part-owners of the property. The members of a tenant owned cooperative housing association together decide how the property should be renovated, how cleaning should be done and the how common areas should be used. A tenant-owner is entitled to have a say in the activities of the tenant owned cooperative housing association by voting at the annual general meeting of the association and introducing motions to be handled at such a meeting.
The tenant-owner is entitled to pledge, sell or gift his or her owner-occupied apartment. But along with the rights of a tenant-owner, there are also obligations. The obligations of a tenant-owner to the tenant owned cooperative housing association are set out, inter alia, in the by-laws of the association.
The responsibility of the tenant owned cooperative housing association and the tenant-owners, respectively
In simple terms, the tenant-owner is responsible for all maintenance within the apartment, whilst the association is responsible for all other maintenance. This division of responsibility is governed by both the Tenant-Ownership Act and the by-laws of the association.
The Tenant-Ownership Act provides that a tenant-owner shall, at his or her own expense, keep the apartment in good condition, and maintain its standard, unless otherwise provided in the by-laws. The tenant-owner owns and is responsible for the fixtures and fittings of the apartment, for the furnishing and equipment in the bathroom and kitchen, such as the stove and refrigerator, as well as for the maintenance of the surfaces on the apartment, such as walls, floors and ceilings. The by-laws of the association describe the responsibilities of tenant-owners in greater detail. A member of a tenant owned cooperative housing association can be excluded from membership for failure to follow the rules that have been adopted by the tenant owned cooperative housing association.
The responsibility of a tenant owned cooperative housing association includes, for example, the maintenance of common areas, such as the laundry room, stairwells, lines and conduits for electricity, heating, gas and sewage. The association is also responsible of maintenance of areas outside the apartment.