In S.V. (Immeuble en copropriété) (C-485/21) case the CJEU extended EU consumer protection to management and maintenance services for a co-owned building.
In the decided case an owner of an apartment in a building of a housing association in Bulgaria concluded a contract for management and maintenance of the communal areas of that building. The contract included terms on late payment fees, which ended up being contested as to their fairness (excessive amounts and lack of transparency).
The Court held that Article 1(1) and Article 2(b) and (c) of Directive 93/13 must be interpreted as meaning that:
– a natural person who owns an apartment in a building in co‑ownership must be regarded as a ‘consumer’, within the meaning of that directive, where that person enters into a contract with a managing agent for the purpose of managing and maintaining the communal areas of that building, provided that he or she does not use that apartment for purposes which fall exclusively within his or her trade, business or profession. The fact that some of the services provided by that managing agent under that contract are the result of the need to comply with specific requirements relating to safety and town and country planning laid down by national law is not such as to remove that contract from the scope of that directive,
– where a contract relating to the management and maintenance of the communal areas of a building in co-ownership is entered into between the managing agent and the general meeting of the property owners or owners’ association of that building, a natural person who owns an apartment in that building may be regarded as a ‘consumer’, within the meaning of Directive 93/13, in so far as that person may be classified as a ‘party’ to that contract and does not use that apartment exclusively for purposes which fall within his or her trade, business or profession (para 35).
The uniform rules of law in the matter of unfair terms should apply, subject to the exceptions, to ‘all contracts’ concluded between sellers or suppliers and consumers, as defined in Article 2(b) and (c) of the directive (para 22).