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Apartment owners cooperative (condominium)

What is a condominium?

A condo is an entity established by the tenants (apartment owners) of an apartment block or by an association of several apartment blocks sharing a yard and utilities.

1

Governance bodies of a condo

Governance bodies of a condo are:

1. The general meeting of members of the condo (apartment owners) is the supreme body of the condo, with its exclusive competence encompassing the following matters: election and dismissal of the chairperson of a condo’s management board, members of a condo’s management board and the audit committee, deciding on their remuneration, approval of the annual report, annual budget and cost estimates of a condo. The general meeting is held at least once a year and is considered legitimate if at least 50% of the total number of apartment owners participate. Two thirds of the condo members or their trustees must be present at the meeting in order for the decisions to be made. The general meeting can consider any issues related to the activities of the condo.

2. Management Board includes a chairperson as well as two or more persons who will represent the interests of the tenants at the meeting of the founders. The management board should consist of proactive people who are trusted by the majority of tenants who have lived in the premises for a long time and who know all the weaknesses in their condominium. The management board exercises general management of the condo, enters into contracts on behalf of the condo, accepts employees for work, etc.

3. Audit commission – these are persons selected at the general meeting of apartment owners, who are trusted by the majority of the tenants of the house. The audit commission cannot consist of members of the founders’ families, the members of the management board themselves (founders) or apartment owners who live together with the condo founders. If the condo unites less than ten members, an auditor may be elected instead of an audit commission.
If you have any doubts as to how the money is spent on your condo, you can contact the audit commission. If the audit commission reveals gross violations in the operations of the condo – you may seek court’s intervention, and the tenants have the right to re-elect members of the board at the general meeting. In the event that the audit commission has lost the confidence of residents, an audit is necessary.

2

Requirements for a prospective condo’s chair

A candidate for the position of a chairperson of a condo’s management board (whether it is apartments or premises) must meet the following requirements:

  1. higher (or post-graduate) education in a relevant field;
  2. at least five years of experience of work in executive positions at organizations and/or at least two years of experience in providing service for condominiums;
  3. knowledge of the current legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan relating to his/her work;
  4. skills of prompt decision making and implementation, work planning and management, business negotiations, public speaking, etc.

Chairperson of a condo’s management board is elected by the decision of the general meeting.

3

Condo’s responsibilities

1. Routine maintenance:

  • to seal joints, potholes and cracks in the walls (upon a requisition);
  • to eliminate roof leakage (except for a complete replacement);
  • to deliver all types of plastering and painting in all premises (every five years);
  • to repair railings, replace broken glass and repair access doors.

2. Maintenance of the heating systems:

  • to repair and operate heating systems;
  • to switch on and off the heating systems (autumn, spring, emergency, routine);
  • to deliver seasonal shutdown of heating systems (in spring), to check the condition of heating systems during the seasonal shutdown;
  • to adjust heating systems when putting them into operation and changing modes;
  • to eliminate minor malfunctions in heating systems (fixing bad sections of thermal insulation, putting a surface layer, elimination of leaks, cleaning mud collectors and shut-off and regulating valves from scale and salt deposits, strengthening of supports under loosened main pipelines);
  • to furnish thermal insulation for pipelines;
  • to furnish hydraulic flushing of heating systems.

3. Maintenance of the water supply facilities:

  • to inspect individual heating units 2 times a month with pressure temperature and shifting coefficient to be measured;
  • to switch to hot water supply mode at the beginning and after the heating period;
  • to replace gaskets of shut-off and control valves;
  • to replace individual parts of cold and hot water pipelines - not more than 1 meter in length;
  • to clean mud collectors, shut-off and control valves from scale and salt deposits;
  • to replace pressure-difference devices (nozzles, washers) and, if necessary, to adjust them;
  • to eliminate leaks;
  • to strengthen loosened supports.

4. Maintenance of plumbing units:

  • to clean up sewage systems in the basement;
  • to eliminate leakage of threaded connections;
  • to install seals on the valves;
  • to weld various holes;
  • to pump out water from the basement;
  • to replace sections of cold and hot water supply in the ceiling, including drilling holes;
  • to call and pay for services of deratization, disinfection, disinfestation of basements and other common areas.

5. Maintenance of electric hardware:

  • to replace blown fuses in the main switchboard;
  • to provide lighting for entrances, replace electric bulbs on the first floors and at a porch;
  • to call and pay for emergency dispatcher services (under contracts and requisitions);
  • to restore burned wires in the main switchboard and floor board;
  • to supply power for emergency lighting;
  • to replace emergency lighting switches.

6. Taking care of the premises:

  • to ensure diversion of rainwater from residential premises, to make sure drainage systems are in good condition;
  • to remove snow, to clean sideways from ice, to spray sand on sidewalks in winter;
  • to call garbage collectors and pay for the collection services;
  • to take care of lawns;
  • to clean the roofs from debris, dirt and leaves.

7. Administrative:

  • to arrange meetings, written surveys of owners of premises (apartments);
  • to review complaints as to the quality of service;
  • to maintain accounting, financial, tax and statistical records and reports as well as technical documents related to the management and maintenance of the condominium facilities in accordance with the housing legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • to notify tenants about technical works if such technical measures prevent tenants from using at least some of the utilities;
  • to open current and savings accounts for the condominium facility;
  • to fund works and services of contractors, service providers (participants of the process of production of works and services) in accordance with the concluded contracts;
  • to keep records of apartment owners, as well as tenants.
4

How does a condo spend tenants’ fees?

Condo’s expenses are approved at the general meeting of tenants (apartment owners), therefore, every tenant of the apartment block must attend the meeting in order to be aware of what a monthly fee is charged for and what kind of work the condo performs.

Depending on the type of buildings, number of floors, number of entrances, design features, area and site improvement of the adjacent premises and other individual elements of construction, technical condition and the degree of wear and tear, the list of expenses may vary.

The amount of contributions is determined on the basis of the design and estimate documentation by the general meeting of the owners.

In case of late payment of obligatory fees, a penalty is charged for each overdue day. If a tenant refuses to pay within three months of delay without any valid reasons, the condo has a right to seek legal redress to recover the debt.

5

What reports does a condo have to maintain?

In order for condo’s work to be the most transparent for apartment owners, the chairperson of the management board must submit a report on how the funds have been used up, at the request of apartment owners at least once a quarter. The results of the report are announced at the general meeting of the apartment owners.

Tenants may also request that the Audit Commission produce a proof that the condo has been checked for financial and economic operations. The Audit Commission provides its opinion on the annual report of the condo’s management board and on the annual statement of revenues and expenditures submitted by the management board.

6

If you are not happy with your condo

If a condo poorly performs its job, actions of the management board or its chairperson can be appealed at the general meeting of the condo members; that is, the condo members may raise the issue of re-election of the management board or chairperson. The only body to which the condo is subordinate is the general meeting of the condo members, while the general meeting of the owners is the body deciding matters relating to individual apartment blocks, and not the entire condo.

At the general meeting, apartment owners may decide whether to transfer from one condo to another or to choose a managing company, or to invite the manager. It all depends on the intentions of the owners who are members of the condo. Moreover, they may ask another condo to service the house. But in this case, only after such condo agrees to extend their service, should owners hold a meeting and transfer to another condo.

Thus, legally, it is up to the apartment owners to make their own decisions.

7

Conducting a general meeting

The meeting shall be held at the initiative of the management body of the condominium, as well as at the request of apartment owners. Local executive bodies have the right to initiate a meeting of apartment owners with a decision on the choosing a management body. Meetings of apartment owners consider and decide the issues related to the management and maintenance of the condominium facility. The procedure for organizing a meeting of apartment owners is carried out individually for each condominium facility. Meetings of apartment owners can be conducted with the use of audio-video recording.

How is the general meeting of apartment owners held?

The initiators of the apartment owners’ meeting shall notify all apartment owners no less than ten days in advance of the date, place and agenda of the upcoming meeting. Notification of apartment owners on holding a meeting is made by posting announcement in the state and Russian languages in the entrances, elevators and other places available for viewing, if available on Internet resources.

To conduct the meeting, a chairman and a secretary are elected from the number of apartment owners. The chairman and secretary of the meeting shall register the apartment owners attending the meeting by collecting their signatures. The registration sheet must contain the agenda of the meeting, date of the meeting, address of apartment owners with the indication of personal data, and also the signatures of apartment owners.

The chairman of the meeting shall read the agenda of the meeting. To approve the agenda of the meeting, the chairman shall propose voting among apartment owners. The chairman shall summarize the results of voting by counting votes. If more than half of the apartment owners voted, the agenda of the meeting shall be approved. Based on the results of the counting of votes, in the event of a change in the agenda, the chairman shall announce a new agenda for the meeting.

The chairman shall suggest the participants discuss each issue on the agenda of the meeting. As a result of discussion, the chairman shall suggest that the participants vote on each item on the agenda of the meeting. The chairman shall count the votes. The decision shall be considered as adopted if more than two thirds of those present voted for it.

The meeting of apartment owners is eligible at presence of at least two thirds of the apartment owners of the total number, including those transferred by the developer to the apartment owners in which they live. If the apartment owner owns several apartments, he/she shall have an appropriate number of votes. If the apartment belongs to several owners, then the principle of “one apartment – one vote” shall be applied when counting votes.

The decision of the meeting of apartment owners shall be formalized by the secretary in the form of a protocol approved by the authorized body. Minutes of the meeting of apartment owners shall be stitched together with the registration sheets and numbered (annex to the minutes). The minutes of the meeting shall be signed by the chairman, secretary. If the meeting is held on a quarterly and annual basis, the minutes of the meeting shall be additionally signed by the members of the Audit Commission. Minutes of meetings together with registration sheets and quarterly reports shall be posted on Internet resources.

8

How is written questionnaire held?

In the absence of quorum in the course of a meeting of apartment owners, a decision is taken to hold a repeated meeting or conduct a written questionnaire. The decision to hold a repeated meeting or a written questionnaire is taken at the meeting and reflected in the minutes. The written questionnaire is conducted for each condominium facility separately.

To organize a written questionnaire, responsible persons are appointed from the number of apartment owners. Responsible persons go door-to-door and hand over the voting sheet to apartment owners. If the apartment owner owns several apartments, he/she has a corresponding number of votes at a written questionnaire. If there are several proprietors in one apartment, only one of them fills in the voting sheet on the principle of “one apartment – one vote.” Each voting sheet must contain a serial number, questions submitted for discussion, address, surname, name, patronymic (if any) of the apartment owner, space for signature, signature of responsible persons for conducting the questionnaire.

The voting sheet must correspond to the form approved by the central authorized body. The owner of the apartment expresses his/her opinion by putting a signature in the appropriate column of the voting sheet. If the apartment owner needs to further study the questions, the responsible person can leave the voting sheet.

After signing the apartment owner hands over the signed voting sheets to the responsible persons. The written questionnaire shall be conducted within thirty days. The written questionnaire is considered valid if at least two thirds of apartment owners filled the questionnaire, including the apartment owners who got apartments from the developer. If the developer has not transferred the apartment to the owner, the persons living in them do not participate in voting.

The minutes, following the results of the written questionnaire, shall reflect summary information from the voting sheets. Voting sheets are a mandatory annex to the minutes and shall be stitched together with the minutes of the general meeting of apartment owners. The decision taken through a written questionnaire is mandatory for all apartment owners. If within thirty days the written questionnaire is not completed, and also in case of not making a positive decision at the end of the written questionnaire, a repeated meeting of apartment owners shall be held, about which owners are informed by the initiators of the meeting not less than ten days prior. To maintain order at the meeting, the initiators of the meeting can apply to the internal affairs bodies.

9

How to register the condominium facility?

According to the housing legislation, the condominium facility must be registered as a single complex within 15 working days from the date of establishment and the apartment owners’ cooperative (house management body) shall perform the functions related to registration of the condominium facility. The moment of formation of the condominium is considered from the moment of commissioning of housing and the apartment owners’ cooperative shall comply with the norms of the Law. Within 15 working days from the date of establishment, the management body of the condominium facility shall perform the functions related to the registration of the condominium facility.

Registration of the condominium facility is actually a legal assignment of the right of common shared ownership of the common property of a multi-storey residential building to the apartment owners. Prior to the registration of the condominium, transactions with common property do not acquire legal force, except for cases when the transaction with a share in common ownership is considered to be completed when the transaction is concluded with property in individual (separate) ownership (other proprietary right).

The apartment owners’ cooperative and other management bodies, using inaction of residents, do not register the condominium facilities. This raises all the issues of transparency of their activities, since the apartment owners’ cooperative referring to the lack of registration do not provide reports, do not open accounts (savings and current), leases public premises without consent of residents. At the same time, the lack of registration of the condominium facility is not a reason for not providing information about activities of the apartment owners’ cooperative to the residents. Residents need to be more active and shall legally secure the right to common property by registering the condominium facility in the justice bodies.

For the state registration of the condominium by the participants (authorized representative of the owners or the management body of the condominium) through the “Citizen Service Center” – the branch of the NJSC “State Corporation “Government for Citizens” at the location of the real estate (i.e. the apartment building) the following documents shall be provided:

  1. written application of the established form;
  2. title and identification document for the land plot;
  3. agreement on the calculation of shares in common property, signed by all participants of the condominium facility or a sheet of calculation of shares in accordance with the formula;
  4. documents proving identity of the participants in the condominium;
  5. document confirming payment of the fee for state registration of rights to real estate.

The size of shares of condominium participants in common property can be established by two alternative methods – either by agreement of participants, or by calculation by the formula. The minutes of the general meeting of owners on approval of a condominium establishment, its state registration in the justice bodies is not the main and binding document. It may reflect the issues on the election of an authorized person representing the interests of condominium participants in relation to third parties, including with state and other bodies, the secretary of the meeting shall be approved, who maintains and signs the minutes of the general meeting of the condominium participants.

The minutes shall be signed by all participants of the meeting. The quorum of the meeting shall be considered as held with the participation of a simple majority, i.e. not less than 2/3 of owners.

The agreement on the calculation of shares is signed by all owners of residential and/or non-residential premises (owners of other proprietary rights) who are in separate ownership and/or their authorized representatives, i.e. owners themselves determine the share by agreement among themselves.

If the share in the condominium is calculated by the formula (the ratio of the useful area and the area of non-residential premises located in separate (individual) property (other proprietary right) to the sum of the useful areas of all residential and non-residential premises in the condominium), then the signatures of owners (members of the condominium) are not required in the statement. At that, owners of real estate (apartments and non-residential premises) shall be responsible for the correctness of calculation of shares.

Rights (encumbrances of rights) for real estate arise from the moment of state registration, and the condominium facility shall be subject to obligatory state registration.

Regarding the documents for a land plot for servicing the condominium facility, they can be of two types – title documents and identification documents. As the title documents to the land plot may be the decisions of the Almaty Akimat on granting the ownership of the land plot to the participants of the condominium, or decision of the Akim of Almaty, or the acceptance and transfer certificate of the building with the land plot to the newly built multi-apartment houses from the Developer to the participants in the condominium. Identification document is an act of ownership of a land plot, it is not a title document and, as a rule, issued together with a title document or transferred by the Developer.

When registering a condominium facility, the composition of the common property and share of right holders of each premise in common ownership shall be determined.

Within 15 working days from the date of establishment, the management body of the condominium facility shall perform the functions related to the registration of the condominium facility.

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