In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.
Q: We have recently moved into a new property in a condominium and already have some minor issues regarding noise and building works.
Who do we refer these to and what are the regulations about noise and when people can build?
afpop answers: There are rules laid down in the condominium regulations, which you should be given a copy of, but there are also general rules and laws about noise and building works. Complaints should be referred to the condominium management, if of course you are unable or feel reluctant to try to resolve issues yourself directly.
Noise – According to the law (DL.nº9/2007) in the night period between 11pm and 7am it is against the law to make unnecessarily loud noise, which, of course, does not mean that in the remaining hours residents can put their sound system on the maximum volume.
Work in the common areas – all condominium owners must contribute to the conservation works of the building, according to the percentage (‘permilagem’) of the respective ‘fractions’ (in Portugal, individual apartments are referred to as ‘frações’). It is essential to plan the works in advance and ensure that you have a positive balance, to which end it is mandatory for condominium administrators to hold a ‘fundo de reserva’, or reserve fund, which is equivalent to 10% of the condominium fees. These works will usually take place during normal working hours and the condominium management is responsible for them.
Work in your home – to avoid complaints from the neighbourhood, post a warning in advance (‘aviso’) at the entrance of the building, indicating in which apartment the works are to be carried out (limited to the working days between 8am and 8pm), the duration and the hours at which there is expected to be more noise. Of course, no alterations should jeopardise the safety of the building, and if damage occurs to general areas, it must be repaired. Construction insurance can be a good way to offset potential additional expense caused by such damage. If the alterations will change the exterior appearance of the building, it is necessary to obtain a permit from the assembly of condominiums, which requires a two-thirds majority of the total occupants of the building, and also the town hall.
Local accommodation – the condominium may prevent local lodging accommodation. In order to prohibit the activity, it is necessary to prove the existence of serious and continuous disturbances in the normal operation of the building, using police records as evidence. They should then inform the local mayor who will decide on the ban.
Pets – the condominium may impose some restrictions on the movement of animals in the common areas of the building, requiring them, for example, to use the service elevator exclusively. Regarding their presence in the apartments, the prohibition can only be established if approved in a condominium meeting.
As for the number of animals per apartment, the law is clear: each fraction can have up to three dogs or four adult cats.
Elevators – The expenses of the elevators are the responsibility of all the residents, including the residents who live on the ground floor, as they are considered a common part.
List of debtors – There are many condominiums that publish the list of debtors at the entrance of the building and it may seem a good idea to do that to embarrass them into paying their fees. But be aware that the courts disagree, because it may be considered defamatory practice and data protection abuse.
afpop is the largest foreign residents’ association in Portugal with over 6,000 active members and is a non-profit association. The benefits of membership include information and support on any subject affecting property owners or foreigners living in Portugal, together with savings in many areas of every day expenditure in Portugal through their ADvantage Directory. afpop also arranges regular social events for its members across the region.
282 458 509 | 938 252 100 www.afpop.com