The hammer of justice against the abusive interim manager under the new condominium law

Now it is a time for most of you to pay the maintenance fees for your condominium. Some may pay without any question. However, we come across many owners who are abused by the unscrupulous developer or management team of the condominium. These owners share the same revolutionary ideology with the American who would not pay tax without representation. The concept of the condominium is quite

democratic for all owners to share the ownership in common in which each owner has both separate ownership of a unit and a common interest in the common areas. The common areas are the piece of land where the condominium is located including other areas which are for the common usage of all owners. Each owner will have a title deed (Chanote) for his unit and also the House Register Book (Tabien Baan). In one condominium project, not more than 49% of the total private areas can be owned by foreigners. There are many foreigners setting up a Thai limited company to own the unit which exceed the restriction of 49%. If you own a condominium unit either by yourself or company, you will always enjoy the equal protection under the laws of the Kingdom of Thailand. However, the knowledge of laws is always behind the closed door of justice which must be broken by your wisdom.

The first condominium act was enacted in 1979 while in Europe it was quite common in ancient Rome. However, many Europeans use the word apartment instead of condominium which may cause a legal dilemma. Once you are solicited by a developer or broker, you will have to ensure that the building you will buy is the “Condominium Building” or “Arkan Chood” not “Apartment” or “Tee Pak Arsai Ruam”. The condominium has a legal status of a “Juristic Person” or “Nitibukon”. This term is quite obsolete but you still have to know because it is widely used by all Thai lawyers.

The juristic person means the artificial person or legal entity which is created by law and given certain legal rights and duties of a human being.

If you understand the concept of the “Condominium Juristic Person”, you will understand that the developer will have to hand over the ownership to all co-owners upon the day the condominium project is registered with the Land Office. However, the developer may still own some unsold units.

rable to a state with sovereign power which belongs to all owners. The rights and duties of all owners are governed by the by-laws or constitution which cannot be in contradictory with the Condominium Act causing prejudice to all owners.

The management of the condominium will be controlled by the condominium board or committee consisting of 3-5 owners who are selected by the general meeting of co owners which can be held annually or on specific occasion. The Manager will also be selected accordingly to handle all routine activities for collective upkeep and development of the property.
Money is a misery

Upon the registration of the condominium project or juristic person with the Land Office, the developer always appoint the interim director to handle the first stage of the condominium management. The by-laws will also be registered.

Normally, most developers will use a standard form which will be easily accepted by the Land Office. What we should worry is about the management of the sinking fund which can be arbitrarily used by the manager. Many corruptive interim managers end up in a prison.

Section 42.- of the Condominium Act 1979 (amended 2008 requires the Manager to call the First General Meeting of co-owners within six months from the registration date of the condominium project or juristic person with the Land Office . The main agenda will be:-

1. Election of the condominium board consisting of 3-5 persons from the co-owners or their spouses
2. Consideration for approval or rejection of the By-LawsThe General Meeting of co-owner must have ” of all co-owners attending the meeting to constitute the quorum. The resolution in the meeting must be passed by a majority vote.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Some interim managers who were appointed by the developer may enjoy making their money from their power and intentionally ignore to call the First General Meeting for many years. The new amendments to the Condominium Act imposes penalty for these abusive managers.

1. The manager will have to prepare the monthly accounting report for all incomes and expenses for the collective upkeep. This report must be shown in the office of the Condominium Juristic Person for inspection of all co-owners (Section 36 (5)). Any manager who fails to prepare this accounting report will be punished with the maximum penalty fine of 50,000 baht or 500 baht per day. The punishment can be the ground for impeachment of this manager.
2. The manager who fails to call the First General Meeting of co-owners within six months according to Section 42 will be punished for the maximum penalty fine of 5,000 baht under Section 69. To call the meeting, the manager will have to give the copies of the by-laws and other details in the agenda for all co-owners to study at least seven days before the meeting.

Section 353 of the Penal Code “Whoever, being entrusted with the management of a property belonging to the other person, or of which the other person is a co owner, dishonestly does an act contrary to his duty by any means whatever so as to cause damage to the benefit on account of being a property of such other person, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years or fine not exceeding six thousand baht, or both” As we always say that in Pattaya you have to be wise like a serpent but not harmless like a dove. The power of knowledge will always set you free from any dilemma in this land.

The unity of co-owners will make your demand strong. Please bear in mind that even though we all came from the diversified background, but, all of us belong to the same “Band of Brothers”.