In a co-ownership building such as flats with shared communal areas, it is the syndic (management body) of the building that proposes the work that needs to be done and it may either carry it out on its own initiative or, if the work will be costly, it should obtain several quotes and put them to a vote at the annual meeting of owners.
Owners share the cost, in proportion to their share of the building (ie. owners of large flats pay more), but those who oppose a certain decision, especially with regard to ‘improvements’ as opposed to essential
maintenance, may ask to pay over a 10-year period (with interest), called paiement échelonné.
Exceptionally, if there is costly but urgent work to be done, the syndic may have it carried out without prior agreement. Because paying for costly works sometimes causes complications, by law since January, co-owners have to pay into a fonds de travaux (works fund), once a year, as part of their regular payments to the syndic. This is intended to build up a savings pot which can be used for work on communal
areas if necessary. A vote will still be needed to use it, but the aim is that voting for work to be done will seem less daunting if money is already set aside to be used.