Condominium and Cooperative Law in Maryland
Cooperatives and condominiums 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.
Just 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 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 Columbia, Maryland
While there are a lot of Columbia, Maryland laws that will affect the residents and owners of condominium and cooperative communities, there are few that are actually specific to such communities. Rather, they are mostly governed by laws of more general application, such as contract law, zoning laws, and landlord/tenant law.
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 owner or manager of the property on which your unit sits will likely have a considerable number of regulations concerning what can be done in and around the housing units. These rules will likely concern cleanliness, noise, and policies governing the presence of pets and long-term guests.
Some of these rules, however, may not be enforceable, if push came to shove. This would depend on the particular laws of Columbia, Maryland which control landlords and tenants.
Can a Columbia, Maryland Attorney Help?
If you have a dispute with a neighbor, your landlord, or your homeowners' association, a seasoned Columbia, Maryland real estate attorney can be instrumental in obtaining a desired outcome.