150 representatives of multi apartment building
management attended a Conference Wednesday (December
11) at Hotel Armenia to learn about the requirements
of the new Apartment Building Management Law and
to ask questions and discuss issues about the
Condominiums, functioning effectively in the
western world and offering services such as pools,
gyms and parking, are far from being established
so far in Armenia (See
related story: Rain Buckets and Sky Lights).
The concept of multi-apartment management emerged
in Armenia in 1997. The recently revised Law on
Multi Apartment Building Management (June, 2002)
allows residents of the residential buildings
to form a mini government to take care of the
infrastructure of their building, its nearby land
and property (entries, lighting, elevator, roofs).
Representatives from the Ministry of Urban Development,
Ministry of Justice and Yerevan Municipality presented
the new requirements and related it to apartment
"Apartments and the building itself belong
to the residents of that building, and they are
solely responsible for this property," said
Kamo Khachatryan, from the Ministry of Urban Development.
"The government may facilitate some of their
operation, but the decisions and initiative should
come from the residents themselves," Khachatryan
The need to transfer from "all-government-care"
of former Soviet management to "your-own-headache"
concept of condominiums does not seem clear yet.
Some of the organizational and legal framework
has yet to be delivered to the management of the
multi apartment buildings and residents in general.
The apartment building management representatives
were largely concerned with the legal aspect of
their operation, particularly the rights to appeal
the municipality's decision to allow entrepreneurship
on the apartment building site without consulting
with the residents. "Some of the residents
significantly changed the interface of the building
by opening up commercial activity in the first
floor, or basement", said Gevorg Malkhasyan,
Deputy Minister of Justice.
Malkhasyan explained the condominiums may legally
appeal the municipality's decisions and act as
a legal entity in pursuing the rights and interests
of the building's residents.
residents of the building will give their permission
to place advertisement placards or written ads
on the building's walls, and charge for it. To
start commercial activity or change the interface
of the building the entrepreneur will have to
get at least 51 percent approval votes of the
residential building depending on the type of
project. Otherwise, the court may find the entrepreneur's
action illegal and demand reimbursement.
According to Malkhasyan, if a resident received
permission to dig up the basement of the floor
for his personal activity, business or otherwise,
the apartment building governing board has a legal
right to appeal this action and demand reimbursement
of the cost for fixing the damage.
The idea to take care of the building with its
own resources may not seem appealing to many residents.
Some condominiums' heads expressed concerns about
the financial sustainability and effectiveness
of the new form of management considering the
large number of low-income families residing in
"This was our major concern when we were
drafting the law," says Malkhasyan. "That
is why we minimized the mandatory responsibilities
of the management type, so that their responsibilities
matched with their financial capacities."
The mandatory powers defined in the Law included
sanitary, fire and construction norms that must
be met by the apartment management bodies.
The sources of funding of the condominium's operation
is to be received from residents, as service fee.
The service fee is calculated based on the cost
of the building, minus depreciation, its square
meters, and number of residents. Typically it
may cost a family 1000 drams (less than $2) a
The buildings that do not form their own governance
will still be under direct jurisdiction of the
local community (municipality). However, this
does not automatically mean that cities will take
better care of apartment buildings.
According to the procedures of allocation of
resources, the Community Council decides on financing
each individual building in the budget draft.
However, considering the scarce resources of the
local budgets, the chances to get funding from
municipality to upgrade the building's infrastructure
and utility services are very limited.