Although the work is complex and expensive, the administrator must return things to the way they were

The co-ownership administrator had to repair the awning of one of its members, removed for work purposes. The operation turned out to be very difficult by the new standards.

Difficulty in complying with an obligation imposed by a judge does not justify non-compliance and any fine may be payable. According to the law, the payment of a penalty in the event of non-fulfilment of an obligation within the period set by the judge can only be waived if this non-fulfilment results from an external cause, but not in the event that fulfillment is merely difficult.

This was reminded of the community of co-owners who had to repair the awning of one of its members, taken down for work purposes. Since this element was never put back in place, the co-owner ordered the union to do the work, with a fine per day of delay.

Difficult, not impossible

Technically, the operation proved to be very difficult given the new norms and the condition of the retaining wall, the union argued. He highlighted studies by architects or structural engineers that emphasized the wall’s inability to support the installation.

It is difficulty, but not an extraneous cause, which in itself could excuse non-performance and exempt from payment of penalty, the judges decided, because if there was real difficulty in doing the work, the union did not find it impossible. The fine should therefore not be cancelled.

(Cass. Civ 3, 21.9.2023, K 22-15.484).

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