Condominium and Cooperative Law in Virginia
Co-ops and condo communities are forms of "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 outside (or inside, for that matter) of a condo or cooperative community, you likely can't tell which it is.
The general difference is that, in condominium communities, the units are purchased and owned by their residents, and they also collectively own the common areas of the development. In a cooperative community, the land and buildings in which the housing units are owned by a single corporation or association. The individual units are rented by the inhabitants, not purchased.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Arlington, Virginia
Various Arlington, Virginia 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.
Generally, 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 manager or owner of the land on which your residence is located will likely have a lot of rules concerning what can and cannot be done in and near the houses. These rules usually mandate cleanliness, keeping noise to a minimum, and regulate the presence of pets.
The power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in Arlington, Virginia, 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 Arlington, Virginia Attorney Help?
If you are in a dispute with your homeowners' association, a neighbor, or your landlord in Arlington, Virginia, a reputable real estate lawyer may prove extremely helpful, if the dispute cannot be otherwise resolved.