Grounds for taking possession of an owner apartment by the housing company

The Limited Liability Housing Companies Act includes a complete list of grounds that a housing company may use to take over the possession of an owner apartment. No other grounds may be used to begin procedures to take possession of an owner apartment. In practice, the grounds are largely the same as the grounds for rescinding a lease agreement.  

Disturbances 

Living in an apartment building always entails tolerating some measure of sounds related to everyday life. This means that, for instance, showering or using a washer late evening or at night or children making noise are considered everyday sounds of life in an apartment building. What is typically considered disturbances, however, includes disorderly noises, loud music, or shouting matches. In order to use disturbances as grounds for taking over the possession of an owner apartment, the disturbances need to be continuous and significant. Night-time disturbances are more serious than daytime nuisances.   

Failure to pay for common expenses 

Unpaid charges for common expenses may also be used as grounds for taking over the possession of an owner apartment. In principle, the housing company may issue a warning to the shareholder on taking possession of the owner apartment once two months’ worth of unpaid charges for common expenses are outstanding. The housing company may decide on taking possession of the owner apartment when there are unpaid charges from a period of 3 to 4 months.  

Poor care of apartment 

Using poor care of the apartment as grounds for taking possession of the owner apartment requires a level of poor care that causes actual harm to the housing company or another shareholder. This harm may be caused e.g. by an odor emitting from large quantities of items and trash in the apartment or by the apartment not being heated. 

Use in contravention of purpose of use 

When an owner apartment is essentially used in contravention of its purpose of use as provided in the articles of association, this may be used as grounds for taking possession of the owner apartment. Since e.g. business premises can be used for many purposes other than residential, using business premises essentially for living purposes could be considered a contravention of its purpose of use. The same applies for a residential apartment used as an office. 

Shareholder or other person living in the owner apartment violates rules necessary to maintain order in the housing company’s facilities 

If the shareholder or other person living in the owner apartment violates certain rules necessary to maintain order, such as the building’s ordinance or health regulations, this may also be used as grounds for taking over the possession of the owner apartment. One example is continuous violation of a smoking ban issued by authorities. 

However, you should remember that a housing company may not arbitrarily add bans on things considered normal everyday life in the building’s ordinance and use these as grounds for taking possession of an owner apartment. For instance, banning pets or barbecues in the building’s ordinance are principally considered bans on normal everyday life, assuming that no safety measures are broken.