Recent developments in Residential Property Management

  • 2009-07-15
  • By Elina Rubeze [Kronbergs & Cukste]
On June 4 the Saeima (Latvian parliament) adopted a new Law on Management of Residential Housing, which is applicable to residential premises, slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2010.
Currently Latvia does not have a law that regulates residential dwelling management, despite the fact that it is fraught with issues 's particularly as a result of the transfer of such premises from state and municipal ownership to private ownership.

Existing law does not deal with minimum common funds or maintenance funds, or the rights and obligations of building managers. Although the introduction of a new law is not necessarily a proper solution to every problem (as often seems to be the prevailing wisdom in Latvia), it is perhaps partly for the reason of an absence of legal management standards that building management is often of such poor quality,  in some instances posing hazards to life and limb. 

The new law deals with parties involved in the maintenance and management process of residential dwellings, their rights, obligations and liabilities, as well as the competence of state and municipality authorities in organizing and monitoring management of residential dwellings. 
Building owners will be responsible for ensuring management of residential dwellings, including mandatory activities, such as energy efficiency, heating, water, trash disposal, and other aspects of the building maintenance. The law calls for the introduction of regulations by the Cabinet of Ministers of minimum heating levels, renovation standards and reconstruction regulation.
Multiple dwelling building managers will require professional education in the vocation, and will be required to register in the building management register. The Cabinet of Ministers is to introduce a regulation concerning same.

A building manager will be permitted to be a natural person or legal entity. Where the building manager is a legal entity, it will be required to ensure that its employee who will perform building management functions has the requisite professional education. If the building will not be managed up to standards 's for example, if it poses threats to inhabitants, health, safety, security, property or the environment 's then the respective municipality pertaining to the building will be empowered to appoint its own manager.  

The law requires that the owner and manager enter into a building management agreement. In addition to the new law, the Civil Law provisions concerning agency agreements will be applicable. Such management agreements as will already be in place prior to Dec. 31, 2011, will be required to be brought into conformity with the new law.

By Dec. 31, 2011, every apartment building will be required to have a file containing basic documents of the building: a land book and apartment inventarization documents, border plans, and agreements regarding land use. In addition, the file will be required to contain owner data, state property building manager and apartment dweller register and technical passport for the building, as well as documents related to management 's including the building management agreement, owner association, company or cooperative statutes, resolutions of the owners, and other documents.

The building file will be in the custody of the owner of the building where there is a single owner, and in the custody of the building manager where there are multiple owners.
It will be interesting to see how this new regulator structure operates in practice.

Elina Rubeze is an associate at Kronbergs & Cukste. Kronbergs & Cukste is a co-founder of Baltic Legal Solutions, a pan-Baltic legal network providing a one-stop-shop for legal services. In Lithuania, Baltic Legal Solutions is represented by Jurevicius Balciunas & Bartkus, and in Estonia, by Glikman & Partnerid.