New Regulations on Condominium Ownership
Living in a condominium in Ecuador is very common and an excellent choice! Condominium living combines security, social spaces, maintenance, and a beautiful living space all into one. It’s no wonder that it is a popular choice of expats.
On May 21st, 2015 a new reform was added to the Condominium Act. This information is important for anyone who is an owner, renter or investor of condominiums in Ecuador. Throughout our years of experience, we have seen many people disregard the regulations on condominium ownership in Ecuador for multiple reasons, but this can be quite an issue as unfamiliarity with the law does not exempt one from the responsibilities or consequences in Ecuador, for this reason, we’ve outlined the recent updates below so that everyone can be up to date.
These are just descriptions of the law, to read the actual articles in the Ecuadorian Constitution, please consult our legal library.
Chapter X Art. 1.-Preliminary administrative authorization
If you are going to buy a property in a condominium, make sure that the owner has “Preliminary Administrative Authorization”, which will be issued by the Municipality. This information is public and anyone can access it if required, it can be obtained in the Planning Department or its counterpart office in the Municipality where the property is located.
Note: Notaries and Property Registrars are prohibited from processing the public deed of sale if a copy of the declaration of condominium property ownership and a copy of the rules of ownership are not inserted.
Chapter X Art. 2.- Preliminary administrative authorization requirements
There are two documents that must be approved by the local municipality in order to obtain Preliminary Administration Authorization (PAA). The first demonstrates that the seller of the property is the actual owner of the land, and the second is a detailed plan of the condominium complex showing the individual living spaces and common areas.
Chapter X Art. 3.- Procedure for the preliminary administrative authorization and declaration of restraint to horizontal property
The PAA will be approved by the municipality
The applicant (buyer of condominium) must make a formal statement of submission to the property, through a public deed.
All real estate contracts must be made by public deed, this guarantees that the rights and obligations are enforceable. It is a common practice to make private contracts that promise to sell, but this practice is illegal because it violates a legal requirement. All builders should be aware of the illegality; there are many rules that indicate this but the laws are not always adhered to in Ecuador.
This deed is registered in the Registry of Properties.
Any changes or updates to the contract or property must be added to this original public deed in the Registry of Properties. This is the only document that allows separation of the properties.
Chapter X Art. 4.- Variations
If for any reason the project plans change, as often happens, it is possible to update the condominium project. The condominium declaration is not written in stone and changes can be made. It is the responsibility of the builder to plan with qualified and experienced construction professionals (architects and engineers), but finish dates are often estimated and not exact.
Chaper X Art. 5.- Plans and internal regulations
Once the project is completed, the final plans must be notarized and registered in the notary where the condominium declaration has been made and then registered in the Registry of Properties of the Canton. Again, these documents are public and certified copies can be obtained at any time, but it is recommended that the administration of the building keeps files with all official documents to deliver to new buyers.
This regulation requires that the declaration is fully understood by all buyers and sellers, this can sometimes be extremely difficult with language barriers, for this reason we advise to have a translator on hand who can tell you explicitly what the declaration says.