Condominium and Cooperative Law in Maryland
Cooperatives and condominiums are types 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, typically have to pay a fee to cover maintenance of the common areas.
Simply looking at the physical structure of a condominium or cooperative community, it would be nearly impossible to tell which is which.
This is because there are no physical characteristics that can clearly distinguish one from the other. The basic 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 College Park, Maryland
While there are a lot of College Park, Maryland laws that will affect the residents and owners of condominium and cooperative communities, there are few that are actually specific to such communities. Alternatively, they are mostly governed by laws of more general application, such as contract law, zoning laws, and landlord/tenant law.
The daily lives of residents, and what they are and aren't allowed to do in their residences, will be far more heavily impacted by rules and regulations that the homeowner's association, or the owner of the land, has imposed.
The land that common interest communities occupy is typically private property. Therefore, the owners of the property are free to make certain rules governing what is and isn't allowed on it. A good manager or owner will typically make every effort to strike a balance between residents' freedom to do what they want in their homes, and the rights of their neighbors to a safe, clean, and reasonably quiet living space.
Some rules set by property owners or managers may not be enforceable, however. For example, in College Park, Maryland, any rule which purports to exclude residents based on race, color, national origin, or religion will not be valid. There are likely some others, as well.
Can a College Park, Maryland Attorney Help?
If you have problems with your landlord, your homeowners association, or a neighbor, a knowledgeable College Park, Maryland real estate lawyer may prove invaluable.