Apsiyon Blog / Life in Residential Communities

Considerations when Buying an Office Space or Property in a Community

Considerations when Buying an Office Space or Property in a Community

Besides changing living habits, the demand for communities is rising steadily, with people lured in by the wealth of social and leisure activities that often come as part of the package. units and office spaces in communities are often lucrative investments due to this demand. If you wish avoid instances of facing exorbitant pecuniary fines or having your property condemned by the municipality, even when you have all the licenses or a title deed, then please read this piece about units and office spaces in communities carefully.

While an average of one and a half million houses are sold every year in Turkey, house sales across the country increased by 16.2 percent in May 2021 compared to the same month of the previous year to 59 thousand 166, according to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute. Real estate investment, which the Turkish people see as a safe haven, ensures that the demand is always at high levels. However, there are a few things you need to pay attention to if you want your property to retain its value over the years and cause no problems in the future.

Make Sure the Community is in Compliance with its Building Permit

You can face exorbitant pecuniary fines or have your property condemned by the municipality, even when you have all the licenses or a title deed. You are well advised to check the municipality records to ascertain that the main immovable, the block building, and the unit were constructed in accordance with the approved license of the project. Always make sure the building has a residence permit (occupancy permit) and the title deed given to you is valid. Most contractors and/or residents on upper floors not happy with the roof work tend to make extensions or do additional work not included in the original permit, thereby violating the laws and regulations. You may be required to get an expert's opinion to examine whether the current state of the building is in line with the building license given by the municipality. Even if all looks in due form on paper, the current state of the building may not reflect what is in the records. Once they obtain the occupancy permit, contractors or residents can at times make additions not included in the building plan. Unit owners get fines or condemnation decisions for the independent units while fines imposed on common areas concern the management of the main property, and so all the residents. A technical/legal expert may be required to examine whether the current state of the building corresponds with the building permit given by the council and the project. Banks ask for a valuation report from those who want to take out a mortgage to buy a house, but these valuation reports may not include additional works/extensions, and new homeowners who receive mortgage often cannot access these valuation reports.

One thing is always possible; even if you have purchased a unit with a title deed and a building permit, your neighbor might sue you one day for unlawful occupation of common areas, if your unit uses spaces in a way that violates the original permit given by the municipality. To your surprise, you may find that your living room is actually located on the common roof area, or that your living room is actually a common workshop room, on the ground floor of a reverse duplex. To make informed decisions, also take your consultant with you when you are buying property. 

Check the Land Share of your Unit/Office

It is important to check whether the land share fits the location of the unit, the value and size of the independent unit at the time of the first sale of the property (on the date of establishment of the easement), and the land shares of units with the same characteristics in terms of location, sale price, and size are the same. 

This is important when electing the community management, apportioning common costs to residents, and voting on things like renovations and annexes. Let's not forget that the land share allocated to each of the independent units cannot be changed due to the subsequent increase or decrease in the value of those units. When the building is demolished and turned into a land and the owners want to sell it as a land, the sale price is determined according to the land share. If you have a low share of the land, you will receive less than the amount you are entitled to for the sale price. Also, if your property is appropriated under urban transformation plans, your new unit's location and size will only be as good as your land share. Someone with a cheaper unit than yours can get more money and eventually a bigger unit, under urban transformation, if their land share is bigger. Similarly, it should be taken into account that shops (commercial) often have a higher sales price compared to other units in a building, and their land shares should be determined according to their value and size. So always check the land share for your unit, office, or shop. If you notice you actually have more land share than what you have been told, file a lawsuit before the building gets demolished. In cases where the land shares are not allocated in proportion to the size of the independent units, each resident or property owner may apply to the court for a recalculation of the land shares.

Check the Ownershşp Status of the Social Facilities

It is important to check the ownership status of social facilities such as sports fields and pools. These areas may actually be registered as independent units, with their ownership held by the building cooperative or the contractor, or they may have been sold to a third party. If the facilities are not registered as common areas, you may have to pay subscription fees to use these. Sometimes social facilities can be built without permission or even on areas that are left to the public. If that is the case, they might always get demolished or require the payment of occupancy fees to the municipality. Most communities pay the council or another institution designated by the Office of National Estate occupancy fees for outdoor parking lots or children's playgrounds, due to unlawful occupancy, and end up seeing these areas converted into public spaces such as police station, power distribution unit, public playground, school, mosque etc.

Check if it has the Legal Status of a Community

Not every place that has the look of a gated community with a security at the door is legally a community. The very road that goes through your community may be publicly owned. If that is the case, the gates of your community may be removed and the road inside opened up for public use upon complaints from neighbors. The amendment of the Condominium Law in November 2007 was a milestone. With the amendments, all properties classifying themselves as communities, built prior to the law and consisting of multiple buildings (Block) on more than one parcel, were obligated to check whether they meet the requirements to be classified as a mass housing arrangement and have the necessary management structure.

See the Management Plan

Apartments and communities are managed according to the management plans registered in the land registry. Unfortunately, most construction companies submit to the land registry a management plan they get from the stationery or download from the internet. Management plans registered in this way can cause serious problems. It is possible to make changes to the management plan and adapt it to the community in question; however, for transition to mass housing arrangements, an absolute majority vote of residents is required; the votes of four-fifths of all unit owners are required to change other provisions of the management plan or to affect the entire change of the management plan registered in the land registry, that is, the abandonment of the old one, and the registration of the new one, with a majority vote almost impossible in all cases due to conflicting interests.

According to Article 73 of the Condominium Law,  contractors can get the right to manage the community for a long period of time based on the provisions in the management plans. Unfortunately, in this case, the general assembly, electing, being elected, and auditing rights can be done away with in the management plans during the period often referred to as "temporary management". However, as the law stipulates, "The temporary management can run for a full year after transition to the status of collective housing, that is, after the occupancy permit is obtained and title deeds are issues by the land registry ex officio within two months. If the occupancy permit has not been obtained and therefore no title deeds come into question, the temporary administration can run for a period of ten years from the receipt of the first construction permit for collective housing." 

The law only sets out the duration of the 'Temporary Management.' Apart from their right to elect and be elected, it does not take away from unit owners the right to hold general assembly, to create a working capital, to determine the amount of "service fees" to cover common expenses, or to approve or disapprove what is known as the "release of debt" activities of the temporary administration. If it is objected that the property owners do not have these rights, then articles contrary to the mandatory provisions of the law found their way into the management plan. Also, in order to regain these rights, it may be necessary for any of the unit owners to file a lawsuit in the magistrate's court, and to wait 1 to 3 years for the conclusion of this lawsuit. Do not forget to review the purchase and sale contract you signed with the producer or the contractor and also the management plan attached to the contract, which the contractor has to register with the land registry before the contract.

Attention: This content was prepared for Apsiyon Blog. It is illegal to use, to post, or to utilize this content on social media or online web-based communication tools and other oral and written publications, as well as to reproduce it in any format, without permission. All kinds of legal and penal actions will be pursued otherwise. The information given as a part of the legal counseling is provided as per the applicable legislation and does not guarantee the readers any result.?
Don't forget to follow our social media accounts!
Facebook Linkedin Twitter Youtube Instagram


You May Be Interested