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The condominium by-laws, also known as the administration and use by-laws, abbreviated to RAU, are an important document to read in order to fully understand the functioning of the condominium.

Establishing the set of rules governing administration and use

There is no obligation to draw up administration and use regulations, but I do not know of any condominiums in the canton of Geneva that do not have them.

According to art. 712 g, para. 3 of the Swiss Civil Code, each condominium-owner is entitled to request that a set of rules governing administration and use be drawn up and noted in the land register. Such rules being binding once accepted by resolution passed by a majority of the condominium owners who together represent more than one-half of the property and being subject to amendment by the same majority even if included in the deed of constitution.

Real estate associations have drawn up standard models which are applied and adapted by most condominiums. I recommend using one of these models, because the drafting of administration and use regulations requires in-depth legal knowledge.

Condominium ownership is mainly regulated in chapter III part four of the Swiss Civil Code, art. 712 a to 712 t and articles 646 to 650 concerning co-ownership are also applicable. Some articles of the Swiss Code of Obligations are also applicable.

Amendment of the regulations

Developers who draw up a set of rules governing administration and use when setting up a condominium often protect their own interests, for example by granting themselves an administration mandate for a minimum period of several years.

Sometimes, the condominium owners may wish to amend the original regulations. Any changes to the regulations must be well thought out and checked. Only dispositive norms of the law can be changed. For example, the power of representation and the competences of the administrator are dispositive norms. The condominium owners cannot deviate from the mandatory regulations. For example, the individual competence of each condominum owner is mandatory.

The form of the regulations

The set of rules governing administration and use can be included in the deed of constitution. If the deed of constitution is drawn up in the constitution of condominium, it must be executed in the form of a public deed. If the regulations are attached to the deed of constitution as an independent document or if they are drawn up by the assembly of the condominium owners they may be in written form. The signature of all condominium owners is not required. It can be entered in the land register. The entry is therefore not compulsory and has only an informative effect.


The regulations essentially contain the following elements (non-exhaustive list):

  • Information about the building
  • The definition of exclusive and communal parts
  • The rights and obligations of the co-owners concerning the exclusive and common parts
  • The use of the exclusive and common parts
  • Provisions concerning works carried out by the co-owners and the community
  • The rules of the house
  • Renting
  • Rules concerning common charges, their distribution, payment and the renovation fund
  • Rules concerning heating and air conditioning
  • Insurance
  • Organisation of the co-ownership
  • The co-owners' meeting
  • Voting rights, decisions (majority by head votes, majority by head votes and share, unanimity)
  • Election of the administrator and allocation of powers, dismissal, etc.
  • The organisation of the condominium
  • The supervisory body
  • The committee of the condominium
  • Exclusion of co-owners
  • General provisions
  • Allocation of cellars or parking spaces that are not allocated as easements
  • Special provisions
  • Jurisdiction and arbitration
  • etc.

The regulations often contain articles from the Swiss Civil Code, which is not necessary, but useful. The set of rules governing administration and use of the condominium help condominium owners to find their way around the community of condominium owners. The provisions of the regulations are binding for the co-owners, co-owner’s legal successor and on any person acquiring a right in rem to a co-ownership share.a. The set of rules governing administration and use should be consulted by all co-owners and before purchasing a condominium part.