A homeowners’ lobby group is calling for a change in the law to allow them to carry out energy efficiency improvements without the green light from two-thirds of the owners in a building complex.
Placing solar panels on a roof and installing double glazing have to be agreed by the homeowners’ association (VvE) and that can lead to major disputes, according to Vereniging Eigen Huis.
Most people who buy an apartment in the Netherlands automatically join the homeowners’ association, which must agree before any improvements are made. Even improvements which only directly benefit a few residents, such as extra insulation in the roof, have to be agreed and paid for by the owners.
Vereniging Eigen Huis carried out a survey of its members and found that one in three has been unable to secure agreement from their VvE to carry out energy efficiency measures.
Some homeowners can’t afford to make major investments, while others have plans to move or say they are too old to benefit from the improvements.
The VEH says homeowners should be allowed to make simple changes, such as installing double glazing, without requiring the approval of their neighbours.
However, the association of homeowners’ associations, Vve Belang, says giving people free rein would lead to chaos. It would prefer to relax the rules, so that a simple majority, rather than two-thirds, would be enough to implement changes.
‘The VvE is responsible for the building maintenance, and if everyone was allowed to do what they want, I see it becoming chaotic,’ Kees Oomen from Vve Belang told NOS Radio 1.
‘One apartment would have windows installed by the owner, for example, while another’s windows would be owned jointly.’
Some 15% of the seven million homes in the Netherlands are part of a VvE, but in the bigger cities, where apartments are more common, up to half of residential properties are included.
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