New major amendments have taken place in the Condominium Management Act. If one reads them carefully it is obvious the the lobby of the property developers has passed regulations in their favour. Here is a brief description of the major changes (not a complete list):

1. Previous wording of “closed complexes article” didn’t provide who is responsible for filing the registration of the management contract to the Land registry. The new wording is clear: the developer is responsible for this. The lobbing is crystal clear. The so called “closed complexes” are basically a tool for blackmailing and “milking” the buyers. Basically if you buy apartment in such complex, you are bonded to the developer forever. He can charge you whatever maintenance fees he likes. Be careful with this. (Art. 2 Para 2 )

2. A new regulation about small buildings has been introduced. If the building has up to 3 separate premises, owned by different people, the relations between the owners is regulated by the Ownership Act and not by the Condominium Management Act.

3. The new amendments create some new rights to the lessees of the premises(residents), which we won’t discuss in details now.

4. Owners have to pay for repairs of the common parts, but only from what is collected into the “Repair and Renovation fund”. Our interpretation on this is that owners are required to pay only from their installments made to the “Repair and Renovation fund”, and can refuse to pay interim expenses, which exceed their installments to this fund. (Art. 6 para 1 point 9)

5. There’s a slight change in wording about what expenses are paid by owners. According to the new amendments, owners pay for management costs of the common parts. The previous wording used to be “owners pay for for utilities costs“. It’s clear that a new expense is created here – the management of the condominium. It used to be in the law implicitly but now it is defined more clearly that it’s owners responsibility and is equal to the utility expenses. (Art 6 para 1 point 10)

6. Now every owner/resident of the premises in the building has to subscribe themselves into the Condominium book. Our interpretation is that the owner/resident has to ask the manager (who holds the book by law) to enter them in the book.Before the amendment, it was not specified who is responsible for subscribing the new owners/residents into the book.(art. 7 para 3 )

7. For all dog owners, a specification of what should be entered in to condominium book regarding dogs in the building – the book should include their veterinarian passport details(Art 7 para 6 )

8. Various amendments has taken place in the General Meeting rights and obligations (Art 11):

  • The right for GM to distribute the utilities expenses for the common parts is removed (point 1 para 1 )
  • The act of renovation of the building is no longer registered to the municipality register (point 10, letter “v”)
  • The GM no longer sanctions an owner pursuant to the condominium act. (point 10, letter “k” is removed). This is removed because it has to do with simple majority resolutions (50%+1). The sanctions right still stays, but can be exercised with increased 75% majority.
  • GM decides on connecting or disconnecting the building to gas and heating supplier (point 10, new letter “l”)

9. The owners don’t need to convene GM through the local mayor anymore. The previous wording is removed. The new wording is rather generic. Owners can convene General Meeting according to the provision of the law herein. We, however need to point out that owners cannot convene GM directly, but they first need to ask the manager to do it. If the manager don’t do it, then owners can convene a GM themselves, following the procedure in the law (sending invitations etc.). In short, the mayor is no longer involved.

  • Each owner can convene GM in urgent cases OR at least if one year has passed from the last ordinary GM. ( new para 5). Now here the minimum % of owners for convening a GM has been removed. Each owner can now convene the GM without first asking the manager, but only in the aforesaid cases.
  • A new paragraph has been added for newly established condominiums. Each owner can convene the first General meeting! There are no more requirement for 20% common parts owners. This clears out a big hole in the legislation. nobody knew before how the first GM can be convened without existing manager (elected by the GM). Now the law is clear enough. (new para 6 (old 5))

10. A new Art 13 has been created:

  • GM is convened by sticking the invitation on visible and public accessible place in the building not earlier than 7 days before the meeting. In urgent matters the term is not earlier than 24 before the meeting. (new para 1)
  • Owner/resident who is absent for more than 1 month, has to notify in writing the manager of the condominium and has to leave an email address or postal address on which invitations for GM to be send, as well as a phone number. (para 2 ). That’s a great improvement and making the convening procedure very light. Now we finally enter 21 century by using emails. However the regulation is creating controversy. The person who sends the email may not send them at all and still states that he has send them!! Now how an owner can prove in court that he has ( or not) received an email. That’s a situation we don’t want to be in. (para 2)
  • Notification about GM convening can be done verbally (explaining the invitation text), which notification is certified in writing by the persons who are sending the invitations OR by sending the invitation by post or email if such are provided. We now see that only phone notifications has to be confirmed by second person in writing. Sending emails don’t need to be confirmed. This is huge ground for speculations by the managers who convene GMs (para 3 new)
  • If the owner hasn’t provided email or postal address for receiving invitations, the owner is considered as legally invited for GM pursuant para 1 above. This means that if the owner hasn’t provided email ot postal address, the convening is considered as legal for this owner by only putting a note in a visible public place in the building. (para 4)
  • A major change is removing the ban for convening GMs between 15 July and 15 September. The ban stays only for convening GMs on public holidays (para 8 )

11. Major changes in Art. 14:

  • New amendment has been introduced in connection to representation of owners on GM by their relatives. The relatives need to be registered in the condominium book in order to represent the owner. (new para 1)
  • A pleasant surprise is that lawyers, registered in Bar can represent owners on GM only by using normal power of attorney in writing. No notarization required! (para 3)

12. Changes in Art. 15

  • A 67% quorum is not required in cases of art.17, para 2 point 1-4. This means that most of the important resolutions a quorum is not required. This doesn’t makes sense, but it’s in the law. (para one)
  • If there’s no quorum, the GM is postponed by one hour and can continue only if 33% of the common parts are present. It used to continue with no matter what % is present, now 33% has to be present (para 2)
  • If there’s no 33% on the postponed GM, the GM is convened on the next day. If it is non-working day, the GM is convened on the first working day after that. (para 3 new). On the next day (second postponing), the GM can continue no matter how many owners have attended.

13. Changes to Art. 16:

  • The notice that the GM minutes are ready has to be stuck on a public visible place in the building. A protocol is drafted, evidencing the sticking and it is signed by the manager and one resident/owner. The protocol consists of date and time of the sitcking the notice. A copy of the minutes is provided to owners upon request. Here we have a witness of the anouncing the minutes. This is important for appealing GM resolutions, since if no such sticking is done, or no formal protocol for it is signed, there is a formal legal ground for GM to be stopped from enforcing. (para 7)
  • New changes has been introduced to the start of the term for contesting the GM resolutions. The procedure for sticking the notice to the door is removed from this regulation. The terms starts from the moment of sticking the minutes on the public place in the building. This clause saves time to the manager. Instead of going to each apartment door, they only make one notice in the building. (para 9)

14. Changes in all points of para 2 of Art 17. This concerns the majority for adoption of resolution on important matter:

  • 100% majority is required for construction works for new floors, building attachments or establishing building rights in the common condominium land.
  • 75% majority is required for removing an owner from its property for not more than 3 years period. The % of common parts of the removed owners are not added to those 75% and and taken in consideration.
  • 75% majority is required for usefull expenses and receiving of credits.
  • Few more points are created, specifying majority for resolution on different condominium matters.

15. I’m making this a separate point since the information is important and concerns the common parts calculation – one of the trickiest parts in condominium management. As I wrote before, developers are playing hard with this matter and sometimes lie about what common parts are owned by them and owners. Since a proper credible information about the common areas cannot be obtained  from any government or local authority, this issue becomes very serious. The new paragraphs 4 , 5 and 6 try to bring some light to the subject, but in my opinion it is not enough. It’s unofficial translation, so I apologize if there’s nonsense in some sentences. I’m waiting for the official government translation into English.

(4) (New – SG. 57 of 2011) When the ownership documents of the individual objects in buildings in the condominium property are not specifying the respective shares of common areas, for the purposes of this law, the ideal parts for each individual site is defined as the ratio between the sum of the size of the individual object and storerooms, assigned to the object, divided by the sum of the area of ??all individual objects and assigned storage areas, thereby resulting number is converted into percentages.
(5) (new – SG. 57 of 2011) Under paragraph. 4 the established the ideal parts of common areas are based on data submitted by the owners or information under Art. 23, para. 1, p. 10, where:
1. sum of the percentages of undivided shares of the owners in common areas is not equal to 100;
2. management is carried in each input, and the sum of the percentages of undivided shares to the owners of the common parts in the input is equal to 100.
(6) (new – SG. 57 of 2011) all common parts set out under par. 4 and 5 are approved by the General Assembly by a majority of not less than two thirds of independent objects in the building entrance. The General Assembly may refuse to approve certain common parts only if an error in calculation.

Now, we can see that when the deed doesn’t state percentage, the calculation of each owner common parts percentage is calculated as a ratio between the total area of the owners premises (apartment, basement etc), divided to the sum of all areas of all individual premises the building. The ratio is converted to percentage and that is the common parts percentage which owner can use to vote on GM.

Note on the Owners associations

There are various changes in the law regarding the owners associations, registered according to this law. I’m not going in details about them because I think owners associations are rare in practice. This doesn’t concern the Owners Association, registered pursuant the Not For Profit Organizations Act.

Read more solicitor advice here:


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  • Derek Matter 17 May 2012 Reply

    I Have been elected on to the Management Committee for our apartment complex ******* in Bansko.
    We do not seem to have a rule book detailing what our rules of conduct , duties and obligations are. Is there such a thing.? Does a Management Committee have a mandate to manage the building and make decisions as matters arrise, or does everything have to be decided at a General Meeting?
    Is there a set of rules as to how a General Meeting is conducted?
    Are there english versions?
    Sorry lots of questions.
    We may be lookng for new lawyer very soon.
    Hope you can help.

    • Milen Hristov 17 May 2012 Reply

      Hello Derek. I have sent you an email.

  • Graham Darby 23 July 2012 Reply

    We currently have a Bulgarian Chairman On The Managing Council for our Complex in Bansko.

    He was the original land owner and owns 30+ apartments in the complex.Prior to this year no maintenance has been paid by him but he has only paid for 3 apartments this year.

    Other Council members are not happy with this situation and do not want him to continue as Chairman……………we are holding an AGM on August 8

    The Managing Council’s elected members will elect the Chairman………….but
    1. Does a member have to be nominated by a fellow member for the role?
    2. Can a member nominate him/herself for the role?
    3. If nominated for the role of Chairman can the member in question vote for him/herself or not allowed to vote?

    Thank you. The Condominium Act does not define the rules other than to say Chairman is elected by MC Members

    • Milen Hristov 29 July 2012 Reply

      I don’t quite understand your question. Do you want to remove your MC chairman only by MC vote? Do you want to remove him only as a chairman but keep him as MC’s member?

  • Stewart Birnie 10 August 2012 Reply

    I understand that regulations have been amended recently, so that management fees are now charged on a flat rate to the holder of the notary instead of a charge per square metre as was the case previously.

    Can you confirm that this is so please and also advise what steps should be taken by an owner’s association in the event of shared ownership of an apartment. In that case, do the new regulations permit also shared payment of the maintenance fees? That is if for one owner the fee is say €600, in the case of shared ownership, would each owner pay €300 each. The answer does appear obvious but I think the regulations are open to different interpretation?

    Thank you very much in anticipation of your answer.

    • Milen Hristov 12 August 2012 Reply

      The regulation for maintenance charges has never been for charging per sq.m. It was the greedy maintenance companies who deliberately disinformed owners/residents to pay per square metre.

      Art. 51 COMA provides that common parts of the condominium will be maintained with installments based on the number of owners, residents and occupiers of the individual premises. So to your question:

      That is if for one owner the fee is say €600, in the case of shared ownership, would each owner pay €300 each

      the answer is no. The AGM should decide maintenance fee per owner/resient/occuipier. In your case if you have joint ownership, each owner will pay as per AGM’s decidion per person.

      If you own property in a holliday apartment building and occasionally rent out to firends or third parties it gets even more complicated, because you would have occupiers too. It’s a complicated matter which needs to be resolved by each condominium AGM, preferrably by majority.

  • Sarah Pengelly 23 September 2012 Reply

    This is a very helpful website, thank you. We have a practical problem for your consideration.
    Our flat in Bulgaria is part of a large complex.
    Most flat owners in the complex have contracted with a maintenance company that does the maintenance properly. An AGM was held August 2012 agreeing that the complex should be registered under the Condominium Act – at that time we were unaware that two flat owners had already had their own meeting and got registered under the Act.
    The two flat owners called a meeting in May 2012 and then registered the flat under the Condominium Act. One of the two flat owners then appointed himself manager of the whole complex and is sending out demands for payment of maintenance.
    Is there a fast and cheap way to remove the self-appointed manager and de-register him under the Condominium Act?

    • Milen Hristov 5 October 2012 Reply

      Make sure you don’t mix the terms maintenance of common parts and management of individual apartments. There may be a way to replace the current condominium manager, however this highly depends on the documentation produced so far by the condominium and if you are able to follow the legal procedures.

  • KayJay 27 September 2012 Reply

    Mr Hristov

    Firstly, thank you for your very helpful and informative website – and all the work you put into it.

    I am on the Management Committee of our complex and I was wondering if there is any time-limit for producing the Minutes (Protocol) after AGMs – they are written up by one of the staff-members of the Developer/Maintenance Company but they often take weeks to appear. They also never have copies of the POAs of authorised representatives of absent owners and we have never seen proof of the claimed percentages of the complex owned by the Developer and ex-Land Owners when they vote.

    • Milen Hristov 5 October 2012 Reply

      Dear Kayjay, the AGM minutes has to be produced within 7 days as of the date of the AGM. A notice, announcing that the minutes are ready needs to be shown in a public place in the building. Each owner can request a copy of the minutes. All PoAs has to be enclosed to the AGM minutes. IF there are no PoAs the decisions can be appealed before the local District Court. Bear in mind that there is a deadline for the appeal.

  • Darrin 2 February 2013 Reply

    Hi ,
    Can an owner give a non notarised poa to a person who does not own property in the complex to represent them at an GA.
    Not a solicitor ?
    Or can a proxy vote system be used at a GA in Bulgarian?
    Thanking you in advance
    Darrin

    • Milen Hristov 3 February 2013 Reply

      Hi Darrin, yes you can give a PoA to a third party, who is not owner and not solicitor. In this case the PoA has to be notarised. Just have in mind that one proxy can represent up to 3 owners only!

  • Jeff 5 February 2013 Reply

    Zdravai Milen,

    I have a question regarding non payment of the management fees by certain owners in a complex. The owners association was formed in July 2009 at a general meeting assembly. Two solicitors were present and meeting protocol was followed with the minutes published and the meeting was recorded. An owners committee was established and management company was appointed. There has always been an issue with some owners not paying their yearly fee and those owners that do want to be able to collect the past due fees from these owners. The obligation for the yearly fee was written into the title deed of each apartment and in the original sales contract there was an addendum signed by each owner acknowledging that there would be a yearly fee and what that fee would cover. The fee was also re-approved in the general assembly meeting in July 2009. I should note that most of the non paying owners had paid this fee in the past but decided after a year or two that they did not want to pay the fee anymore. Yearly invoices and payment reminders have been sent out by the management company but the non payers simply ignore them.

    The owners committee (management council) now wants to call a general assembly meeting and one of the items on the agenda is to find a way to collect the past due yearly fees for maintenance of the common areas (heating, electricity, water, lifts, etc.). There has been some confusion as to what procedure needs to be followed in order to allow the management company to lawfully take collection actions against the non paying owners, including, but not limited to filing the claim in the civil courts. The need for appointing the management company to take collection action against the non paying owners is due to the fact that all owners live outside Bulgaria. The questions I have about this are as follows:

    1. Does there need to be a vote at the general assembly meeting in order to start collection proceedings against the non paying owners ? If so, can the
    general meeting assembly vote to authorise the management company to act on their behalf and represent them ? Will this decision be recognised by
    the Bulagrian courts ?

    2. Since all invoices and payment reminders have been sent out via e-mail through the management company, does the management company need to
    send some sort of payment demand notice via registered mail with proof of delievery and give the delinquent owners a certain period of time to pay ? If
    so, what period of time must be given ?

    3. Will having yearly fee being written into the title deed assist in a claim against the delinquent / non paying owners ? Will the fact that most of the non
    paying owners had previously paid the yearly fee in the past (2007-2008) set a precedent that they acknowledged the payment ?

    I realise that I have asked quite a few question and very much appreciate your time in responding. I should note that the management fees are about 50% of the normal fees found in the area where complex is located and was established to provide a minimal level of management during difficult economic times.

    • Milen Hristov 6 February 2013 Reply

      Hello Jeff, I have sent you an email with the replies to your questions.

  • Norman Barron 13 March 2013 Reply

    The complex of apartments has act 16 and is operational however i am not using the apartment and not renting it. It is locked up and only inspected by a management company do i still have to pay the full management fees
    Thanks

    • Milen Hristov 1 April 2013 Reply

      It depends, whether you have followed the regulation of the Condominium Management Act strictly or not.

  • Anne Potter 31 March 2013 Reply

    Hi,
    Great website, very helpful thank you!, I am the owner of an apartment of about 50 units, Act 16 was signed to the block in November 2008, at that time I made my final payment. I have only just received my deeds for my flat and the deeds for my garage are still outstanding, this was mainly down to my naivety, and trusting the developer and paying them directly, but they did come through with my flat deeds eventually!
    That aside the developer acted as the property maintenance company, and we only had our first owners meeting November 2012, which I was unable to vote at as I did not have my deeds, that meant the developer still held my vote along with the vote for the other apartments that had yet to be sold, which made the meeting a fast, as every issues raised was cast to one side by the developer, who had the majority share of votes, so they didn’t provide any accounts on what maintenance had been by myself and a lot of other owners since January 2009, so we have no idea on the true running cost of the complex’s common areas. They have now given us notice to quit as management company, and I have no idea how we move this forward, as I have no idea what they own and what we “the owner” own like the spa, pool, gym and games room and the equipment in them, how can I find this information.

    • Milen Hristov 1 April 2013 Reply

      Hello Anne, it looks like you have a complicated legal matter. As you can imagine a lot of documents and correspondence have to be reviewed and assessed. I’d suggests you instruct a solicitor (not necessarily us) and have the Condominium problems sorted.

      • Anne Potter 22 April 2013

        Hi,
        I contacted a local solicitor, as recomended, but unfortuantly she is sick and in hospital at the moment, she has been recommended, so i want to wait for her to be better and back at work. however in the mean time we will be holding an owners meeting, i am trying to get e template for a proxy vote in english and bulgarian, do you know where i could get such a document?
        Many Thanks
        Anne

  • gerry mulvey 4 April 2013 Reply

    As per Art 51, I have informed the management company of my decision to spend just 28 days in my apartment this summer, thereby absolving me of the need to pay M&M fees @ €15 per sq. metre for my apartment (160.77 sq. metres plus 38.45 sq. metres common parts areas). This represents a saving of €2,988.30 in M&M fees. The problem is, based on past experience, we fully expect our water and electricity to be cut off as soon as we check in for our 28-day stay and we expect to be prevented from using the pools, etc.
    Is there any way to prevent this from happening in advance?
    If it does happen, what can we do while there?
    Despite having individual meters for electricity, our apartments are charged a daily communal rate for water and electricity and the utilities are used as a weapon against us.

    Gerry

    • Milen Hristov 4 April 2013 Reply

      Gerry, unfortunately you can’t prevent this as you can’t prove this will happen for sure. You have to check with your Condominium Internal Rules and Regulations document and see what the GM have decided.

      as for the water and electricity, cutting of utilities by the management company is illegal, as these are provided by the utilities companies directly to you and any third party interference would be illegal. IF you have individual contract with the electricity and water companies, you can file a complaint with them if your utilities are cut off. There are few other options and if you are interested in details, you can email me.

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