Condominium and Cooperative Law in Pennsylvania

Co-ops and condo communities are forms 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 accountable for taking maintaining the common areas in their communities, such as lawns, gardens, swimming pools, and the like. This responsibility is typically taken care of by charging the residents a periodic maintenance fee, to pay for the upkeep of the common areas.

Just 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 typically 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 type of business association.

Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in California, Pennsylvania

While there are a lot of California, Pennsylvania laws that will affect the residents and owners of condominium and cooperative communities, there are few that are actually specific to such communities. Alternatively, they are mostly governed by laws of more general application, such as contract law, zoning laws, and landlord/tenant law.

In general, the procedures of the landowner or management board will have a much greater impact on the daily lives and conduct of residents than any state or local laws controlling condominiums or cooperatives.

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 power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in California, 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 California, Pennsylvania Attorney Help?

If you have problems with your landlord, your homeowners association, or a neighbor, a reliable California, Pennsylvania real estate lawyer may prove invaluable.