This content is from: Local Insights

Macau: Condominium management

João Nuno RiquitoRui Filipe Oliveira

In line with the recent regulatory tendency to focus on the real estate property market, the Macau government has prepared new legislation to regulate the management of a condominium's common areas.

Several government campaigns have been implemented to enhance owners' participation in the management of common areas of buildings or residential complexes. However, the task is often complex and can lead to conflicts, particularly when it involves residential complexes that include more than one administration. The new law aims to clarify and improve the overall functioning of the assembly and management bodies.

The proposed legislation also addresses the role of property management entities in the management of the common areas. The draft law contemplates that only the owners, the usufructuary or the promissory purchasers can be members of the management body. Third party entities can only be employed as service providers, either to assist the management body or to provide certain services. These services will be specified in the condominium assembly's resolution.

Another significant aspect of the draft law is the express stipulation that pre-existing condominium debts be assigned to the purchasers of the units. This issue often divides the courts. The new legislation intends to address it in unequivocal terms: purchasers of a unit will become responsible for the unpaid condominium fees provided, however, such debts are registered with the land register prior to the registration of the acquisition.

Publicity and legal certainty of certain issues relevant not only to the owners, but also to third parties, are also addressed. Examples include: depositing the resolutions that appoint the management members with a public entity (the housing bureau); or, posting the minutes of management board meetings in visible locations.

In addition to arbitration, the draft law allows the condominium regulation to include mandatory mediation to resolve condominium conflicts.

Although it cannot be considered a substantial reform, the proposed legislation introduces relevant changes to management of common areas. It will require more commitment from both the owners and property managers.

João Nuno Riquito and Rui Filipe Oliveira

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