“Your columns dealing with legal issues are always helpful. It can be difficult in Turkey to obtain consistent and reliable opinions on some questions. I own a flat in İstanbul in an area that is central but still mainly residential. It is on the second floor of an old building, and the tapu [title deed] is of the type where we own shares in the whole building rather than separate titles to our flats.
“Last year the owner of the shop on the ground floor of our building converted it into a cafe/bar. He approached me after he had done this to say that the belediye [municipality] needed my permission for him to sell alcohol. The other owners had given this some time before, and he produced the muvafakatname [consent letter] they signed before a notary. I was not happy because I was concerned that the cafe/bar would be noisy and stay open late. I was particularly worried that they would play live or loud music and use an outside area at the back of the building for smoking and drinking. The owner said that I had no need to worry and promised that there would be no live music and that the back area would be closed at a reasonable time. On the strength of these reassurances I signed the permission for him to sell alcohol.
“Unfortunately the bar has become a very noisy place with live music most nights of the week, often playing until well after midnight. The back area is used for smoking and drinking. I find it very difficult to carry out normal activities, including sleeping, in my flat because of this disturbance. Being an old building it is very hard to prevent noise from travelling upwards. I have made my concerns known to the owner without any improvement resulting. I would be interested to know whether the permission I have given for selling alcohol is capable of being withdrawn. Is the consent of all building owners for the sale of alcohol a legal requirement or purely an administrative one? I am aware that I could raise the issues of noise and late opening with the belediye and also try and get neighbors to register complaints. It seems to me, however, that the best means I have of putting pressure on the bar owner would be if I could take action which would directly affect the profitability and viability of his business. I do hope you will be able to help. Best wishes.”
I understand that the property you have is subject to joint ownership and in such a case all shareholders run the property jointly. This can be considered as having shares of a property. The shares do not actually refer to a specific part of the property, but rather, each shareholder owns a part of every single brick of the property. All important matters are subject to the joint and full agreement of the shareholders of the property.
Article 24 of the Flat Ownership Act regulates the matters dealing with the consent of shareholders in such a shared property. Opening a restaurant and obtaining a liquor license is one of the matters that all owners -- shareholders -- should unanimously decide. In your case, you have given your consent and the bar is now licensed to sell alcohol. However, your consent was given for selling alcohol in a proper way within acceptable limits. Your giving of this consent does not actually constitute a transfer of rights. You can withdraw this consent/permission.
I will write about how to proceed and what the possible consequences are of withdrawing consent in my next article.
NOTE: Berk Çektir is a licensed attorney at law and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a sender’s letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise expressly stated by the sender.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not just rely on the information in this column.