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John Wilson
New member
Username: Beaky

Post Number: 3
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 5:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a big problem with the apartment that I bought 3 years ago which I hope someone can help me with. There is a second bedroom built on my terrace which has been there for well over 20 years. My understanding is that administrator at the time gave the previous owner permission, although I'm not sure if that permission still exists in writing.

The current administrator has sent me a certified letter ordering me to remove the bedroom on the terrace within 45 days as it's not authorised. This is because recently some work needed to be done to the building, and the other residents wanted workmen to hang off the balcony - going through and having access to my apartment - as it would be cheaper than putting up scaffolding. I refused to allow access (as was within my rights), as did the other top floor apartment owners. As a result of this refusal some other residents on the lower floors (who objected to paying more by having scaffolding) demanded that the administrator take action against unauthorised constructions on the top floor.

The letter claims that if the construction is not removed within 45 days they will go to justice and force it to be removed.

Any advice gratefully received.

Many thanks

John.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1922
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 5:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello John. This type of problems are not uncommon, meaning someone trying to stick it to you. Here is a little bit of advice... I think legal action in this area may go faster than usual, although it may still take time. So no need to panic. For now, it appears a scare tactic.

Are you still holding to your first premise of not allowing the construction team inside your apartment? If not, then try to negotiate an amicable solution.

If you are still of the position of not allowing them inside, then the key will be to find out about the permits. This unto itself may be difficult. Argentina is notorious for keeping bad records and if we are talking 20 years good luck with that. On the other hand, this can work out to your favor as in some cases regulations may contemplate 20 years as posession without any permits (research "usucapion"). I know, this is about building codes so may have nothing to do, but perhaps codes were different back then or full permits were not needed. Fact is, we do not know what you might find... among which there may be things that might help your case. We lost some land in Buenos Aires just like this because someone had illegally occupied it for 20 years.

I will see if we know a lawyer in this particular field but I am pretty sure you will first need to do some research on the permit stuff. The timing seems to be really important in this case, just guessing.
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Leandro
Junior Member
Username: Leandro

Post Number: 43
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 6:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi John and Robert.
Maybe I can help your or recommender about your problem. When you bought your apartment at the "escritura" include this area or second bedroom. Because if you have included in your escritura is your property, other person cannot take your property.
Other situation is for example if you have a person living in this bedroom for 20 years. In this case the person who are living in this place he has a right to USUCAPION.
Please explain more about your problem. I donīt understand your problem with the building.
sorry my english but Iīm studying
Good luck
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John Wilson
New member
Username: Beaky

Post Number: 4
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 4:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Leandro and Robert

Thanks for your advice. The terrace the room is on is part of my apartment and is shown as outside area (uncovered) on my Title Deeds. No-one is trying to take the terrace away from me, that is not in dispute.

Basically, the "bored old ladies" as my neighbour calls them, who live on the lower floors, are being spiteful because the top floor apartment owners said that we would not allow workmen to come in and out of our apartments and hang off the balcony for several weeks to do work, and that it should be done properly with scaffolding instead.

They are saying the extension onto the terrace is an unauthorised modification to the building and must be removed. This is being done out of spite.

The administrator says it's too late to allow building work instead. I got the impression that he didn't really want to be involved in this, but as it was demanded and minuted by some residents at the last building meeting he has to take action.

At this stage I really don't know what to do - this is being done out of spite, not for money, and I don't know how to appease the situation now that it's been made an official resolution at the building meeting.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1923
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 9:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That was my first thought. That they wanted to hurt you or hurt someone. Looks like you are caught in the middle of a conflict between the top floor people who want scafolding and the lower floor ladies who do not want to live with the hassle of the scafold. If I understood correctly, you may just be an ocassional victim of this dispute with little say. Then, I will take the short route of hiring a lawyer who will investigate if there is indeed an older permit or if this has been built so long ago that somehow the addition has become "authorized".

All you really need is a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who handles building codes and can tell you your options. Strange this happen down there like permits showing up out of the blue. With some reassurance from a lawyer you can also use your own scare tactics. If you are close to the administrator perhaps you can find out if the lower floors' ladies are totally kosher or not. Most likely there is something. There always is...

Finally, if you are confronting the possibility of taking down the bedroom... what difference does it make to do this on your own or wait for the ladies to take legal action? Let them do this. I can guarantee you it is going to be a complete pain in the ass *for them* as you will find ways to delay this route. My grandpa had some legal action taken against him in the early years of 1960. I terminated that lawsuit 40 years later after both him and my dad had died.

Not sure how Leandro feels about this.
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Leandro
Junior Member
Username: Leandro

Post Number: 44
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I like your last paragraph Robert jejej. You know I think is the typical problem in the building. You know Iīm real estate agent and management building is normal.
I think you need to read the "reglamente interno del edificio" and also the "reglamento del PH" It say if is possible or not possible you development a bedroom or not.
Then I think you donīt listen your neighbors because you can wait they do a demand (legal action) to you. I know they donīt do a demand (legal action).
But first you consult a lower (lawyer) about the reglamento interno and then you wait.
You donīt need to do a demand (legal action), because if they donīt like your bedroom.

(Message edited by admin on September 10, 2009)
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John Wilson
New member
Username: Beaky

Post Number: 5
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 10:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks again, Guys

Yes, I am caught in the middle of some internal politics.

I have not actually seen the letter itself as I'm away for a few months, but I hope to receive a copy later today. I understand that it's a "certifed" letter and I have a short period in law to respond to it, although I'm not sure what a certified letter actually is or what happens if I don't respond in time. I don't know if this is already a demand or something different.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1924
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 10:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Layman view: a certified letter would be a precursor. Meaning, some kind of proof that they had warned you and that they might use in the future if they decide to go ahead with legal actions. It is not legal action per se. Kind of a 'cease and desist' notification. As Leandro and myself stated, no reason to panic yet. But I think it is important to go through this with a lawyer.
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Leandro
Junior Member
Username: Leandro

Post Number: 45
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 10:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

you have received a "carta documento" is not demand, if you can to copy in that foro, maybe we can help you. But you contract a lawyer, because he will know what do in that case.
MendozaHomes
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Leandro
Junior Member
Username: Leandro

Post Number: 47
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Saturday, October 10, 2009 - 8:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

John
I would like if you have been finishing your problem about your apartment. Is important you write information about the solution.

regards
www.mendozahomes.com.ar
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John Wilson
New member
Username: Beaky

Post Number: 6
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Monday, October 12, 2009 - 6:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There is no resolution yet. I sent a letter to the administrator pointing out that the installation (I was advised to refer to the extension as an installation) was on my outside terrace area and not the balcony. I pointed out that it could not be seen from the street, and asked whether everyone else who had altered the appearance of the building by putting up air conditioning units or kiddy cages was also being asked to remove them.

I also pointed out that under one of the building regulations I was entitled to do what I liked with my property as long as it didn't interfere with anyone else. I said I understood the situation was down to internal politics, hoped it could be solved amicably but if not then should the matter go to court it would be rigorously defended.

I have just received a reply, saying my letter was full of "lies, falsehoods and inappropriateness", the construction is on the balcony and the administrator stands by his original letter and I have 45 days to remove it.

I will be sending him a reply, although I'm not quite sure what to put in it at the moment.

I'll keep you guys posted.

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