Condominium and Cooperative Law in California

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

They are communities where each individual or family resident rents or owns a unit which is part of a larger building, containing other, similar, residential units. The residents are responsible responsible for the maintenance of the common areas of their living areas, such as gardens, walkways, lawns, and swimming pools. They usually meet this responsibility by paying a monthly fee to support this maintenance.

Merely viewing one of these communities from the outside (or inside) will not let you know whether it's a cooperative or condominium community.

This is due to the fact that there are no visual or physical characteristics that can distinguish one from the other. All the differences between them lie in the ownership arrangements that the residents have. With a condominium, the residents usually own their housing unit, and collectively own the land on which it sits. In a cooperative, the residents rent the units, and the land is owned by a single entity, either a corporation or other form of business association.

Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Laguna Hills, California

There are a large number of laws in Laguna Hills, California that can affect condominiums and cooperatives, but few, if any, of them are unique to such common-interest communities. Instead, they're mostly governed by laws of general application, covering zoning, contracts, and landlord/tenant relations.

In general, the policies 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 governing 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 authority of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For instance, in Laguna Hills, 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.

Can a Laguna Hills, California Attorney Help?

If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Laguna Hills, California, a good real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.