Co-ownership shares in condominium – A comparison across jurisdictions and standards

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Condominium is one of the prevalent forms of three- dimensional (3D) property rights (Paulsson, 2007, p. 32). The condominium concept common to a number of jurisdictions consists of three elements: (a) individual ownership of an apartment, (b) co-ownership (joint ownership) of the land and the common parts of the building, and (c) membership of an incorporated or unincorporated owners' association (van der Merwe, 2015, p. 5). The ownership shares of condominium unit owners in the common property are here referred to as co-ownership shares; yet, alternative terms include ownership fraction, condominium share, participation quota, share value, and unit entitlement. The co-ownership share determines the proportional contribution to the common expenses and the share of common profits, as well as the voting power of each condominium unit owner in the administration of the condominium. The most common approaches to the determination of the co-ownership shares are based on equality, relative size or relative value of each condominium unit, or a combination of such (van der Merwe, 1994, p. 57-58). The literature presents detailed descriptions and comparative analysis related to condominium systems in different jurisdictions (e.g. van der Merwe, 2016; 2015; Paulsson, 2007; EUI, 2005; UNECE, 2005); however, the technical and procedural aspects related to the allotment of co-ownership shares still need to be further investigated. This paper aims to compare methods and procedures applied for the allotment of co-ownership shares of condominium systems in the following seven jurisdictions; Denmark, Germany, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Turkey. Also, international geographic information standards are analyzed to assess the extent to which they facilitate allocation of co-ownership shares. The main purpose is to clarify the legal provisions and methodologies related to the determination of co-ownership shares in national condominium systems and bring new insights to countries, which are trying to revise their national provisions for fairer implementations.