16 July 2016

Lawyer’s advice on property division & Dutch association of owners

Category: Real Estate

Knowing what homeowner associations in the Netherlands may regulate is important for anyone considering buying an apartment or house in the Netherlands with a Vereniging van Eigenaars (VvE). Homeowners associations have the authority to regulate a wide range of activities that affect the shared amenities and even private portions of the community. Among the items a typical homeowners association (VvE)may regulate: renting, pets, flooring, exterior modifications, noise, business in private portions, maintenance of common areas etc. Along with the covenants like the ‘splitsingsakte’ or “huishoudelijk reglement” of the VvE , codes, and restrictions (CC&Rs), fees due by the homeowner are something that can vary considerably.

Dutch law on property division & association of owners

In this blog Dutch lawyer on association of owners Mark van Weeren explains about regulation by the Dutch Homeowners associations (Vereniging van Eigenaars or VvE) and solving disputes with the Vereniging van Eigenaars. I ‘ve often had questions if homeowners or owners of an apartment can make modifications to the property in order to gain access or facilitate the use of their units at their own expense. Some modifications may be subject to permission of the VvE and may even require a permit of the municipality. A request for a modification will put on the agenda of the meeting of the association of owners (VvE). Modification to an apartment can be a source of disputes I have noticed. Sometimes some diplomacy may be helpful. Also check out: Dutch Owners Association.

Dispute with Homeowners Association (Vereniging van Eigenaars)

Disputes often arise between the homeowners association and the individual homeowners. For example, the VvE is required to keep a certain amount of cash in reserves for maintenance and unexpected expenditures. If an Homeowner Associaton’s cash balance falls below a certain level, it may raise the monthly VvE dues to cover the shortfall. Of course the homeowners may balk at the rate hike, blaming the VvE for mismanaging the funds. Other disputes may occur with unauthorized rent to tourists, noise an nuisance issues, unauthorized modification of the home or an apartment.

Procedure disputes with Dutch Homeowners Association (VvE)

The bylaws of the association may contain a clause for settling disputes, e.g binding advice, mediation or arbitration. Apart from that the local cantonal Court is always competent to deal with a VvE dispute. The homeowner that wishes to contest a decision of the VvE should be aware of the short time limits. A compliant against a decision oth the Assocation should be filed within 30 days with the Court. Some claims can be filed without a statute of limitation for example the reqeust for authorization to modify an apartment of modify the bylaws. Please consult our Homeowners association attorney for any Homeowners litigation.