Condo Ownership in Thailand
CONDO MANAGEMENT IN THAILAND
One of the privileges of condominium ownership is membership in the respective condominium association. Condominium developments consist of privately owned condominium units and public areas which are the collective property of all the individual owners. A condominium association, also known locally as a "condominium juristic person" is a corporate structure set up to own and manage the development's common areas.
The condominium association is "owned" by the individual condominium owners, who are stakeholders with voting power relative to the original size ratio of their unit. Condominium associations are responsible for managing maintenance, collecting maintenance fees, writing and enforcing the rules necessary for maintaining tranquility. Developments with well managed condominium associations are great places to live. On the other hand, living in a poorly managed condominium association can test the limits of your patience and decrease your condominium's resale value.
The primary duty of the condominium association is to manage the development's day to day operations. The condominium association collects monthly maintenance fees from individual condominium owners. These fees are then used to maintain common areas and pay the salaries of full time employees such as the Building Manager, the handyman, and the security guards. When you buy into a new condominium development, be aware that the advertised maintenance fees are normally just estimates. First time developers are not very good at accurately estimating maintenance, and do not be surprised if maintenance fees rise rapidly during the first year.
When a condominium is first sold, the buyer has to contribute to a "sinking fund." The sinking fund is a rainy-day fund kept in reserve for major repairs.
Condominium associations are required to keep detailed accounts and issue financial statements. Condo owners can request copies of financial records at the condominium association or "juristic person's" office.
THE MANAGER AND THE CORPORATE COMMITTEE
Condominium associations are required by law to maintain a Corporate Committee to oversee the management of the common property. The Corporate Committee must consist of between 3 and 9 condo owners appointed to two year terms. Committee members may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
The day to day management of the condominium association is run by the building manager. Managers are appointed at the annual co-owner's meeting. The manager's duties include paying the expenses of the condominium association, keeping the peace, enforcing the rules, and collecting maintenance fees. Managers are either outside hires or retired co-owners.
THE ANNUAL CO-OWNER'S MEETING
Thai law requires that every condominium association hold an annual co-owners meeting. All owners must be invited and given at least seven days notice. The co-owners meeting gives the owners a chance to change the by-laws of the organisation, appoint the manager and Corporate Committee members as well as approve plans to buy or sell common property. Votes are distributed according to the ratio of condominium unit space each co-owner owns. At least 25% of the ownership must attend the meeting to constitute a quorum.
This does not necessarily mean that 25% of the co-owners need to be present: owners can authorize someone to attend and vote on their behalf, and some owners (such as a developer who owns all of the unsold units) may have disproportionate voting power. If one owner has more than one half of the votes in attendance, their votes are reduced so that they only have half of the votes and cannot form an absolute majority.
GOOD MANAGEMENT AND BAD MANAGEMENT
Living in a condominium development run by a well managed condominium association can be a dream. The development will be clean, orderly, and peaceful. This will increase the value of your condominium. On the other hand, the corporate committee members can make life difficult if you get on their bad side. If one of your immediate neighbors is elected to the committee, it might pay to be extra nice. Another hazard is a lack of commitment when it comes to property maintenance.
If your condominium association decides to cut cost when it comes to maintenance, the common areas will deteriorate. This will decrease the resale value of your condo. If you are unhappy with the way things are being run, talk to your neighbors and run for the corporate committee. Taking an active interest in the condominium association is always a good way to ensure security in your investment.