The real estate trustee represents the association of co-owners (ACO) and is responsible for the management of the communal parts (lift, façade, roofing, garden, other collective installations, …) of the building.
The real estate trustee gives execution to the decisions taken during the meetings of the General Assembly. He takes care of the administrative, technical management and the accounting.
They both manage property, but there’s a big difference. Both deal with the financial, technical and administrative tasks involved in managing property. But a property administrator manages the common parts of the apartment block and is the point of contact for the co-owners. He or she is also elected by all of the co-owners at the AGM. On the other hand, the steward manages the private parts, such as an apartment and is appointed by an individual owner.
The real estate trustee of a co-ownership may be a co-owner, but the number of voluntary trustees is falling. A real estate trustee must keep track of the ever-changing legislation and the most recent developments regarding the administrative, technical and financial management of a building.
In addition, he must have the appropriate social skills to act as a mediator between co-owners if necessary. For these reasons, associations of co-ownership often call upon professional, external real estate trustees, certified by the BIV/IPI (Institute of Professional Real Estate Agents).
Yes, if a building contains two or more plots (apartments, offices, garage, shops) owned by different people and therefore co-ownership exists, the appointment of a real estate trustee is required. The association of co-owners needs to appoint the real estate trustee.
In the case of a smaller building, which requires a simpler management and limited maintenance, owners may decide to not appoint a real estate trustee. Each owner reserves the right to propose the appointment of a real estate trustee.
In most cases the trustee is appointed by the general assembly, for a term limited to 3 years. The general assembly may renew his term but can also dismiss the real estate trustee at any time.
The real estate trustee may also be appointed through a stipulation in the Internal Rules of procedure. This will mainly happen in the case of newly constructed buildings. The real estate trustee is than chosen by the promotor or project developer of the new apartment building.
In this way, the real estate trustee relieves the property developer of all possible worries associated with the start-up of a project and is responsible for the organization of the first meeting of the General Assembly. He also advices and supports the co-owners at the start of the co-ownership. The mandate of the trustee ends at the first meeting of the General Assembly. The association of co-owners may reappoint the trustee during this meeting.