Management of low-income condominiums in Bogotá and Quito: the balance between property law and self-organisation

Rosa Donoso-gomez, Marja Elsinga

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    Governments in urbanising Latin America encourage low-income homeownership. In practice, this means that low-income urban families become owners of units in condominium properties. While the homeownership dream may thus be achieved, difficulties with maintenance can lead to deterioration. This paper considers condominiums as collective action arenas and applies the Institutional Analysis and Development framework of Ostrom (2005 Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.) to explore the links between the characteristics of (1) the communities, (2) governance and (3) the physical environment with the perceived level of maintenance (PML). Using data from a survey of 414 households carried out in 2014, we compare the circumstances of low-income condominiums in Bogota (Colombia) and Quito (Ecuador), two cities with similar housing policies but different horizontal property laws. Our central hypothesis is that the more modern law in Colombia enforces self-organisation and therefore better maintenance outcomes. In line with our hypothesis, the results demonstrate that the maintenance level in Bogota is higher than in Quito. Contrary to our hypothesis, participating in self-organisation in Bogota had a negative effect on PML, while in Quito the effect was positive. This indicates that the law matters but the relationship between the formal arrangements required by law, self-organisation and maintenance outcomes is more complicated than expected.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)312-334
    JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
    Volume18 (2018)
    Issue number2
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2016


    • low-income homeowners
    • condominium
    • common property maintenance
    • self-organisation
    • collective action
    • IAD framework

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