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Condominium and Cooperative Law in California

Condominiums and cooperatives are forms of "common interest" communities.

These are communities in which each resident rents or owns a residential unit. The residential units are part of a larger building, or complex of buildings, which are owned by another entity, such as a corporation or association. The residents are accountable for the upkeep of common areas, such as lawns and walkways. Rather than personally tending to these things, residents usually pay a fee that covers these necessities.

If you simply look at a condominium or cooperative community, you likely won't be able to tell if it's one or the other.

The major difference is that, in condominium communities, the units are purchased and owned by their residents, and they also collectively own the common areas of the development. In a cooperative community, the land and buildings in which the housing units are owned by a single corporation or association. The individual units are rented by the inhabitants, not purchased.

Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Marin County, California

Numerous Marin County, California laws affect common-interest communities. However, almost all of these laws govern real estate more generally, and there are very few laws written particularly for common interest communities. Such generally-applicable laws include zoning regulations, contracts, and the relations between landlords and tenants.

In general, the procedures of the landowner or management board will have a much greater impact on the daily lives and conduct of residents than any state or local laws controlling condominiums or cooperatives.

The land on which these communities sit is private property, so the owners have significant leeway when it comes to setting rules regarding what tenants can and can't do on the property. These rules generally govern things like noise levels, cleanliness, long-term guests, and pets. They are often designed with the goal of balancing residents' rights to a clean and quiet neighborhood, with their individual autonomy.

The power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in Marin County, California, any rule which would exclude residents based on their race is completely unenforceable. Such discrimination is clearly prohibited under federal law, private property rights notwithstanding.

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Can a Marin County, California Attorney Help?

If you have a problem with your landlord, your community association, or a neighbor (which the landlord is unwilling or unable to address), an experienced real estate attorney in Marin County, California will be able to help.

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