change facade

Changes in private property cannot affect the facades

An owner explains that in the building in which he resides, located in Cali, some people who have balconies in their apartments have carried out works to increase their height; others have even built them. The owners of these properties affirm that they did it “for the safety of the children.”

The board of directors has repeatedly approached offenders to return these facilities to their original state, but this has not been possible. Therefore, the consultant requests guidance, also because the issue has also been discussed in the assembly of the group, where it has been evaluated to charge a higher value for expenses.

Answer. Although in this case, the balconies are private, it must be remembered that the façade is an essential common good and, consequently, it can only be modified with the approval of the assembly of co-owners.

Similarly, for the expansion and changes of this and the private units, a license must be processed in one of the urban curatorships.

In view of the fact that the attempt of rapprochement on the part of the council has not yielded effective results, it is necessary to initiate the procedure for the resolution of conflicts, which is foreseen in the horizontal property regulations.

Given this, it is necessary to listen to the people who have carried out the works, in order to analyze the alternatives that exist to guarantee the safety of the residents and, thus, protect the exercise of their fundamental rights, which may be threatened by cause of unforeseen construction.

It is important to bear in mind that if necessary and in the case of complicated cases at the time of conciliation, these can be presented before a conciliation and arbitration centre so that the problem is resolved.

Likewise, it must be taken into account that neither the assembly nor much less the council, can impose a higher administration fee, since for this it is necessary to modify the coefficients of co-ownership and the reform of the regulations.

This, in clear accounts, means that the payment of an added value to the quota, for the fact analyzed, does not in any way correct the lack of license that the competent authority must grant.

On the other hand, if it is not possible to reach an agreement, the process for the imposition of sanctions may be exhausted in accordance with the provisions of the regulations, respecting the right to due process and the right of offenders to defence and contradiction.

In the case of sanctions, these may consist of fines, the inclusion of the name of the offender in a list posted on visible sites of the property and suspension of non-essential services.

Without prejudice to the application of these measures, the administrator may file a police complaint before the corresponding police inspection for non-compliance with the urban regulations, since any reform requires a construction license issued by one of the curatorship’s or, failing that, of the planning office or respective agency if it does not exist.