Condominium and Cooperative Law in Pennsylvania
Co-ops and condo communities are types of "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 normally taken care of by charging the residents a periodic maintenance fee, to pay for the upkeep of the common areas.
Simply looking at the outside (or inside, for that matter) of a condo or cooperative community, you likely can't tell which it is.
This is due to the fact that there are no visual or physical characteristics that can distinguish one from the other. All the differences between them lie in the ownership arrangements that the residents have. With a condominium, the residents normally own their housing unit, and collectively own the land on which it sits. In a cooperative, the residents rent the units, and the land is owned by a single entity, either a corporation or other form of business association.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Berks County, Pennsylvania
Berks County, Pennsylvania likely has many laws and regulations concerning common interest communities. However, these are mostly limited to the laws and regulations (zoning, land use, etc.) that concern all real estate owners.
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 land on which these communities sit is private property, so the owners have considerable leeway when it comes to setting rules regarding what tenants can and can't do on the property. These rules typically govern things like noise levels, cleanliness, long-term guests, and pets. They are often designed with the goal of balancing residents' rights to a clean and quiet neighborhood, with their individual autonomy.
The authority of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For instance, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, 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 Berks County, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?
If you have problems with your landlord, your homeowners association, or a neighbor, a brilliant Berks County, Pennsylvania real estate lawyer may prove invaluable.