Our new flat: 5. The Meeting

Having lived in Germany for so long, it is  not so often that I come across a bureaucratic process that is new to me.  I think the last major ones before this year were getting married, registering a birth and starting a business.

Buying a flat was, of course, a new and very complicated one.  Yet more was still to come.  Last week I took part in our first Eigentümerversammlung – a German Word worthy of a podcast sometime 🙂

The Eigentümerversammlung is the annual meeting of all the owners of the flat in our block.  You see, our block of flats consists of two houses, each with 8 flats.  So there are theoretically 16 owners.  Some live in their flats – as we do, others rent them out.  Some even own more than one.  Each year they all come together for this important meeting to approve the accounts for the building and make any plans for long-term repairs.

And so I found myself discussing items such as colours for paving stones, alternatives to cable television, trees that need cutting down, and various other problems that need sorting out.

Actually, it’s a very organised way of doing things.  The building has an administrator who looks after things for the rest of the year and can take action in emergencies, but otherwise we have to agree on what is to be done and how it is going to be paid for.

On the other hand it can be quite restrictive, as you cannot make certain alterations to your flat – especially if they will be visible from the outside – without the other owners agreeing as well.

Most points on the agenda were dealt with without too much discussion, but every now and then things got quite lively as the discussions became more passionate for their respective causes.

The meeting was a very new experience for me.  If I hadn’t realised before that I had an important responsibility as a property owner, then I did now.  What a long way I’ve come…

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