In my apartment building there are 13 neighbours. Originally, 15 units were marketed. One person bought two and put them together, installing an internal staircase between the two units. Another neighbour subsequently aquired the apartment below him and put them together, too, in the same way. The first pays double Va’ad Bayit, although he says that is not because he has too. The second does not pay double. There is now a large bill for fixing the elevator. There are two questions: 1) Do the owners of the double apartment pay 1/13 or 2/15 of the cost each? 2)Is there any case for a neighbour on the ground floor to not have to contribute.
Thank you very much.

Answer:

The owner of the double apartment has to pay 2/15. His ownership of a double portion in the shared property (including the elevator) obigates him to pay a double share.

The ground floor apartments also have to contribute, because payment is based on ownership, not on benefit. Although he benefits less, he nonetheless has to pay. [If payment were to be based on benefit, then the top floors would pay the most, lower floors less, and so on. However, payment is based on ownership of the property, and not on benefit derived from it.]

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