In the dynamic world of condominium Homeowners Associations (HOAs), understanding voting rights is crucial for unit owners. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intricacies of condominium voting rights in Costa Rica, focusing on two key aspects: the Percentage of Area and Percentage of Value. Then we will review the required quorum and voting rights and the rights and obligations of the Condominium HOA to manage the condominium property.
Demystifying Percentage of Area: Co-Ownership Unveiled
One commonly encountered term in condominium discussions is the “Percentage of Area,” technically known as the coefficient of co-ownership. This percentage signifies the relationship between a unit’s area (private property) and the total condominium area. It plays a pivotal role in determining an owner’s share in common areas.
For instance, if your co-ownership percentage is 0.25%, it means you own a quarter of the common areas. This percentage holds significance during property valuation. When appraising your unit’s fiscal tax value, it includes a proportional share of the common area value. However, it’s crucial to note that a higher co-ownership percentage doesn’t grant additional usage rights to common areas.
Understanding Percentage of Value: Decoding Arbitrary Assignments
The “Percentage of Value” is an arbitrary percentage assigned to each condominium during its formation. This percentage, though not a monetary or exchange value, holds internal significance for the condominium. It determines the weight of your vote in decision-making processes within the HOA.
For example, if the assigned value is one million colones, and your unit is allocated 2%, the internal reference value for your unit within the condominium is 20,000 colones. This value translates into the influence value of your vote during the HOA meetings.
Votes and Quorum: The Crucial Components
The HOA Condominium Meeting
As provided by the Condominium Law, at least one annual meeting must be held, which will be convened in the manner indicated in the condominium and administration regulations. In addition to the annual meeting, the co-owners can hold as many extraordinary meetings as required to address matters of common interest, those indicated in the Law, and those established in the condominium and administration regulations within their competence.
The condominium meetings can be convened by the condominium administrator or by the owners who represent at least one-third of the condominium’s value. How the co-owners will be notified of a meeting must be established in the condominium and administration regulations. Generally, it is established that the call for the meeting will be published in a national circulation newspaper, and notices will be posted in the condominium facilities to inform about the meeting.
The Law guides as to what makes up a proper quorum required for the condominium meeting to be legally formed. For the first call, at least two-thirds (2/3) of the condominium’s value must be represented. In the second call, the quorum will be obtained with any number of attendees.
The agreements contained in Article 27 of the Law must be approved by the unanimous agreement of all the owners, and other agreements not listed there will be approved by the votes representing a simple majority of the condominium’s value.
You Must Comply with Article 27 of the Law
ARTICLE 27 of the Condominium law specifies how the HOA must act to approve resolutions that affect condominium property owners as follows:
Only by the unanimous agreement
Only by the unanimous agreement of all the owners will it be possible to:
Modify the general purpose of the condominium.
Change the proportional area of the subsidiaries, in relation to the total area of the condominium or the area of the common goods.
Renounce the condominium property regime, provided that the resulting parcels or units do not contravene other laws.
Encumber or alienate the entire condominium.
Change the clauses of the constitutive deed or the condominium and administration regulations.
Requires 2/3 of Votes to Approve
Only by the agreement of a number of votes representing at least two-thirds of the total value of the building will it be possible to:
Change the special purpose of a subsidiary property.
Construct new floors or basements, excavate, or authorize any of the owners to carry out these works.
Acquire new common goods, change the purpose of the existing ones, or arrange in any way the manner in which they can be used.
Authorize the leasing of common things.
Approve the partial or total reconstruction of the condominium
In the above cases, when a single owner represents at least fifty percent (50%) of the total value of the condominium, an additional fifty percent (50%) of the remaining votes gathered in Assembly will also be required.
Any other agreement or finding that does not fall within that specified in Article 27 of the law will be approved by the votes of the owners representing the majority of the value of the building
Navigating Condominium HOA Voting with Confidence
In conclusion, navigating condominium HOA voting rights involves a nuanced grasp of Percentage of Area, Percentage of Value, quorum requirements, and voting dynamics. Being aware of these intricacies empowers unit owners to actively participate in decision-making processes, fostering a transparent and well-informed community governance