The responsibilities and liability of a home owner
A new law on Apartment Ownership and Apartment Associations (available in English: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/Riigikogu/act/515012018006/consolide) is in force from the 1st of January 2018. The law has some very practical implications for the home owners to keep in mind. Also, if you are a board member of your own apartment association, it is very important to study the new law and also consider amendments to your existing articles of association.
The new law states very clearly that it is the apartment’ owner who is responsible for the normal up keeping of the apartment and also refraining from negative influence to the other owners. It is important because these obligations also apply when the apartment has been rented out. The owner is still responsible in case of loud parties, smoking indoors, damage to the property etc by his or her tenants or AirBnb guests. Also, if you as a home owner are away for a long time, you still need to consider keeping an appropriate temperature & humidity in your apartment as this might also otherwise negatively influence other apartments.
It is also obligatory to provide the correct phone number and e-mail address to the apartment association. In case you do not live in the apartment, you have to provide the correct address where you could be reached.
Finally, all of the above is important for another reason. The apartment owner could be faced with a legal claim to sell his or her apartment. In practice this is rare but the law states clearly that in the following cases such a claim is possible:
Being more than 3 months late with 6 months’ communal cost payments;
Continuous or multiple breach of the obligation to use the apartment and common space in a manner not exceeding the normal use of the property (i.e continuous loud partying);
when the activities of an apartment owner severely interfere with the exercise of other apartment ownerships.
Hopefully this gives an idea of some of the things that need to be considered by a responsible home owner.