Why utility is important
The utility value provides information about the relationship of a condominium object to the other condominium objects of the property. Last but not least, it serves as a key for voice ratio and operating costs.
The dream condo is found, the deal with the seller is agreed. When looking at the purchase contract and/or the land register, there is often astonishment: According to them, the buyer does not acquire Top 3 with 120 square meters, but a share of, for example, 150/1000 in the property. “When an apartment is purchased, it is not a specific square meter area that is entered in the land register as a share, but the “usable value”, with which an exclusive right to use certain premises of the property is associated – such as this very apartment,” says Markus Kaspar, a notary in Vienna.
The utility value thus provides information on the ratio of the ownership shares of the individual co-owners of a residential building. This, in turn, represents, on the one hand, the key to the allocation of maintenance and operating costs. “At least as long as there is no unanimous agreement to the contrary,” Kaspar says. The owners can, for example, agree that the costs related to the apartments are divided according to utility values, but that those for the elevator are divided according to a different key. Secondly, the utility value determines the voting rights: the higher it is, the more weighty the voting right is.
The basis for calculating the usable value is the usable area, which is expressed in square meters. By the way, this is considered to be the entire floor area of an apartment minus the thickness of the walls and the openings, doorways, stairs, open balconies and terraces located in the course of the walls. “The utility value is calculated in the utility value appraisal, which is prepared by experts,” Kaspar said. In principle, a standard apartment on the second floor is taken as a basis, and the use value of 1.00 per square meter of usable floor space is attributed to it. All other apartments are then compared to this standard apartment. Deviations from the standard apartment are evaluated with an addition and deduction. Surcharges are available, for example, for a quiet courtyard location or better amenities. Discounts, on the other hand, for locations on the ground floor or for north-facing locations. “The useable values of all the apartments together, in turn, add up to the total useable value of the property,” Kaspar explains.
Differences for exterior surfaces
As if that were not complicated enough, there are also different regulations for exterior surfaces. While loggias, verandas and conservatories are considered usable space under certain circumstances, this is not the case for open terraces and balconies. By the way: If the utility value appraisal deviates from the actual conditions by at least three percent, condominium owners can apply for a judicial reassessment of the utility values within one year. The same applies to subsequent additions and conversions.
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