Condominium and Cooperative Law in Montana
Cooperatives and condominium developments are examples of arrangements known as "common interest communities."
This is a type of community in which the individual residents rent or own residential units in a building, or collection of buildings, but are collectively responsible for taking maintaining the common areas in their communities, such as lawns, gardens, swimming pools, and the like. This responsibility is usually taken care of by charging the residents a periodic maintenance fee, to pay for the upkeep of the common areas.
If you simply look at one of these communities, you won't be able to tell whether it's a cooperative or a condominium community.
This is because there are no physical characteristics that can clearly distinguish one from the other. The main 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 Helena, Montana
While there are a lot of Helena, Montana laws that will affect the residents and owners of condominium and cooperative communities, there are few that are actually specific to such communities. Instead, they are mostly governed by laws of more general application, such as contract law, zoning laws, and landlord/tenant law.
Generally, 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 land that common interest communities occupy is usually 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 usually 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.
This power, however, has limits. There are some rules which landowners cannot impose. Most obviously, they can't bar people from renting or buying units based on their race, religion, or national origin in Helena, Montana. This conduct is illegal under state and federal law, and can result in severe civil penalties.
Can a Helena, Montana 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 Helena, Montana will be able to help.