Poorly managed apartment buildings of concern in Tokyo

Apartment buildings do not magically care for themselves. They require the apartment owners to be proactive about ensuring regular maintenance and repairs are carried out. By doing so, a building can last a long time while also helping with the resale values of those apartments. A poorly maintained building can become unpleasant to live in and resale values can plummet.

In April 2020, the Tokyo metropolitan government introduced a management status reporting requirement for the owners associations of condominiums in the city. It applies to buildings built before December 31, 1983 with more than 6 residential apartments. Documents to be submitted include information on the owners association, manager, bylaws, general meeting schedules, management and repair fund fees, and whether a long-term repair plan has been enacted. Owners associations had until September 30, 2020 to submit these documents. 

In total, 14,000 buildings in Tokyo fall under these requirements, accounting for 1/4th of the condominiums in the metropolitan area.

When the information packs were mailed out to the various buildings, about 20% were returned to sender, having no owners association or no building manager. Furthermore, the submission rate as of the September deadline was low enough for the city to have to ask local ward offices to help. By March 2021, approximately 70% of the submissions were received. 

Based on the submissions collected as of October 2020, 7.8% of the buildings had made no scheduled maintenance or repairs, while 3.4% had never held any annual general meetings. What’s worse is that 2.2% of the buildings had never established an owners association. 12% of the buildings failed to meet even the most basic management guidelines. If these conditions persist, there could be as many as 2,500 buildings in Tokyo that fall into complete disrepair. With the exception of a small number, the majority have no plans to be rebuilt. 

Buildings that had not made their submission by the deadline could be subject to a site visit, guidance and advice by the government, although there are no legal powers to enforce the advice given.

Source: The Nikkei Shimbun, April 14, 2021.

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