What is condominium ownership?
Condominium ownership is the right in rem to use a residential property, for example an apartment or other independent premises exclusively, and dispose over it alone (see Sec. 2(1) Condominium Act (WEG)).
Under Austrian law, condominium ownership is only possible in conjunction with (pro rata) ownership in the landed property on which the apartment has been erected. Owners of an apartment are thus essentially automatically co-owners of the solum on which the building in which the condominium is located has been erected (exceptions to the latter are to be taken into account in connection with buildings constructed on third party property). This immaterial share in the land is expressed in the Land Register by a fraction. Should a building have multiple apartments, fractions such as 45/1000 or 87/2000 can easily arise.
The major difference to “mere co-ownership” that is to be highlighted is that the condominium ownership, i.e. the right to exclusively use a part of the building (apartment) is inseparably associated with the co-ownership share in the landed property. It is registered in the Land Register together with the immaterial share in the landed property, and is thus considered secured. The condominium owner is entitled to only use the apartment privately, let it out or just not use it at all. All other components, such as the area of the staircase or, for instance, the garden, may exclusively be used jointly, as co-ownership in these parts of the building exists, i.e. no real separation exists.
In addition, the condominium owner is free to sell or bequeath his or her apartment.