Condominium and Cooperative Law in New York
Cooperatives and condominium developments are examples of arrangements identified as "common interest communities."
These residential communities are composed of a single piece of land, occupied by one or more buildings, each of which contains more than one housing unit. The units are owned or leased by the persons who live in them, but the buildings themselves, and the land they sit on, are owned either collectively by the residents, or by some third party. The residents are responsible for the upkeep of the buildings and the common areas of the property (walkways, lawns, swimming pools, etc.). To that end, they typically pay a periodic fee to cover maintenance.
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 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 Smithtown, New York
Many Smithtown, 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 specifically for common interest communities. Such generally-applicable laws include zoning regulations, contracts, and the relations between landlords and tenants.
Usually, 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 substantial 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 authority of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For instance, in Smithtown, 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 Smithtown, New York Attorney Help?
If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Smithtown, New York, a knowledgeable real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.