Condominium and Cooperative Law in Iowa
Condominiums and cooperatives are forms of "common interest" communities.
These are residential areas with one or more buildings, each housing multiple residential units. The units are part of a larger building, which contains other residential units. In turn, there are several such buildings on the property. The units are rented or owned by the residents, but the building as a whole, and the land on which it sits, is owned either by a third party, or collectively by all the residents. The residents, in addition to mortgage or rent, normally have to pay a fee to cover maintenance of the common areas.
Merely viewing one of these communities from the outside (or inside) will not let you discern whether it's a cooperative or condominium community.
This is because there are no physical characteristics that can precisely distinguish one from the other. The general difference lies in the legal ownership arrangement. In a condominium community, the units are actually owned by the residents. The residents also collectively own the common areas, holding joint title to it. In a cooperative community, the buildings and land which make up the houses are owned by a single entity, and the individual units are often rented rather than owned by the residents.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Cedar Falls, Iowa
Various Cedar Falls, Iowa 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.
Typically, the rules established by the owner of the property, or the entity tasked with managing it, are going to have much more of a day-to-day effect on your life than any state laws governing these types of communities.
The manager or owner of the land on which your residence is located will likely have a lot of rules concerning what can and cannot be done in and near the houses. These rules normally mandate cleanliness, keeping noise to a minimum, and regulate the presence of pets.
The power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, 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 Cedar Falls, Iowa Attorney Help?
If you are involved in an argument with your neighbor, in conflict with a zoning regulation, or in a dispute with your landlord, a seasoned Cedar Falls, Iowa real estate attorney can help you prevail.