Dutch Owners Association (VvE)
When you buy a property in the Netherlands in a building with other apartments, you will automatically become member of the VVE or Vereniging van Eigenaren, the Owners’ Association. And it’s not a free membership; it’s obligatory by Dutch law.The Association of Owners is responsible for the common parts of the building like the halls, roof, walls, lift etc. The Owners Association also looks after the maintenance, insurance, enforcement of the house rules, etc., ensures the property is well maintained and insured and deals with communal expenses. In meetings with other owners of apartments decisions are taken about the building.
Management of the Association of Owners
The owners association will conduct the management over the communal sections and the communal property. Decisions of the owners association are taken in meetings. The meetings will take place at least within six months after the end of the financial years. Furthermore, these can be conducted as often as necessary. Decisions by the meeting of owners are taken by majority vote. For specific decisions, like changing the deed of the divison (splitsingsakte) 4/5 majority is necessary.
Rules of the DutchOwners’ Association
Usually the standard set of rules (the Modelreglement) is applicable. In the notarial deed of the property division (splitsingsakte), amendments to the standard rules may be stipulated. Some rules for the apartment Owners are general, like: owners must conduct themselves in conformity with principles of reason and fairness; owners should prevent immediate damage; owners may not cause unreasonably inconvenience, et cetera. More specifically the rules are: no internal or external alterations to the building are allowed without permission of the VVE; the executive of the Owners Association ensure the building; no extensions, protrusions, sub-constructions or top-ups may be placed. The list of rules is quite extensive and very often in Dutch. Please do not hesitate to contact a real estate lawyer of Blenheim if you have any questions on this.
Funds for maintenance of the Owners’ Association
The Owners’ Association (VvE) funds its costs and expenses by contributions it receives from the apartment owners. The apartment owners pay a monthly fee in the account of the VVE. The fee is based on the budget that the executive submits every year and depends on your share in the building. When the apartment’s Owner is in default with his payments this may eventually trigger a foreclosure of the apartment. The contributions also contribute to the fund for (large scale) maintenance of the Association of Owners. A potential buyer of an apartment in the Netherlands should always check, and make sure your estate agent does, that the Owners organisation’s finances are adequate. A new owner of the apartment may be held liable for the debts of the previous Owner.
A real estate lawyer can help with owners’ association related issues
This blog on Dutch law on apartments in the Netherlands provides a brief, general introduction to the topic of Owners Associations, but there is much more to know. If you are considering buying a home in an HOA-governed community, or already live in one and are running into disputes with the Owners Associations or your neighbors, contact a Dutch real estate lawyer. Mark or any of his colleagues is happy to answer your question regaridng your VvE.