Condominium and Cooperative Law in New York

Cooperatives and condominium developments are examples of arrangements known as "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, usually 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 Oswego, New York

Various Oswego, New York 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.

One's daily life in a cooperative or condominium community is more likely to be affected by the rules set by the owners or managers of the property, rather than the regulations of your state or city.

The owner or manager of the property on which your unit sits will likely have a significant 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.

The power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in Oswego, New York, 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 Oswego, New York 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 reputable Oswego, New York real estate attorney can help you prevail.