Condominium and Cooperative Law in New York

Cooperatives and condominium developments are examples of arrangements known 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 people 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 usually pay a periodic fee to cover maintenance.

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 major 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 Southold, New York

Numerous Southold, 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 Southold, 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 Southold, New York Attorney Help?

If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Southold, New York, a reputable real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.