Some people think that by buying an apartment instead of a house they will be ridding themselves of maintenance.

In fact when you buy a house and you are not in a position to carry out repairs, it’s only your responsibility, but when you own an apartment you cannot hide behind excuses to avoid paying your share of maintenance fees, especially if the lift needs repairs and you happen to be one of the owners on the top floor.

Out of a number of owners, there’s always a person or two sometimes even more, who try to skip a payment and even get away with it, leaving the other owners fuming with anger.

That’s when a condominium company comes handy. The trouble is that many owners object to the idea of joining because of the extra money involved.

Excuses by owners for not paying the fee come in all shapes and sizes, either they’re not in a position to pay or because they don’t want to pay for services that others use without paying, so on and so forth.

Something more stringent and efficient to make owners of apartments pay their annual maintenance fee is a must. It’s grossly unfair for the rest of the owners who pay up. Although it’s a private matter, the authorities concerned should set up an easier way in dealing with defaulters, without having to settle the case in court. 

In the owners’ contract lies a clause reminding them that it’s mandatory to form an association and pay the annual fee. Even if one chooses to leave his apartment vacant, he still is bound to pay.

Anyone buying an apartment should first consider the maintenance fee, which sometimes goes into hundreds of euros; if it’s out of their reach, they should look for another property.

A worker recently told me of a problem in a block of apartments which had no lift and where all the marble in the staircase needed replacing. The majority of owners refused to pay so a foreign owner of one of the flats paid the whole bill himself. It’s a shame that certain owners look upon maintenance work as if it’s not their responsibility.

A resident in a block in St Paul’s Bay told me that most of the owners in the block rent out their apartments, but when it comes to paying for maintenance no one shows up. There is no electricity in the common parts and a messy staircase. So is this what tenants who are renting an apartment and paying a hefty price have to put up with?

Owners who hide behind excuses when it comes to paying maintenance fees are laying the foundation for a free for all where carelessness reigns supreme.


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