Condominium and Cooperative Law in Virginia
Cooperative and condominium communities are examples of a class of housing developments known as "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 usually taken care of by charging the residents a periodic maintenance fee, to pay for the upkeep of the common areas.
If you simply look at a condominium or cooperative community, you likely won't be able to tell if it's one or the other.
There are no physical features distinct to either one, which can be used to distinguish them. Rather, the difference lies in the legal arrangement that governs the relationships between the residents and managers. In condominium communities, the residents own the units they live in, and collectively own the land and buildings in which they are located. In a cooperative community, the units are rented, and are owned by a single entity.
Laws and Regulations Concerning Common Interest Communities in Richmond, Virginia
While there are a lot of Richmond, Virginia laws that will affect the residents and owners of condominium and cooperative communities, there are few that are actually specific to such communities. Instead, they are mostly governed by laws of more general application, such as contract law, zoning laws, and landlord/tenant law.
The daily lives of residents, and what they are and aren't allowed to do in their residences, will be far more heavily impacted by rules and regulations that the homeowner's association, or the owner of the land, has imposed.
Because the land they occupy is usually private property, it is the owners of this property who make most of the rules that will affect your daily conduct. A responsible manager will usually make rules designed to balance your right to live as you please in your own residence, with the right your neighbors have to a clean, safe, and quiet living environment.
The power of landowners is limited, however, and there are some rules that cannot be given legal effect. For example, in Richmond, 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 Richmond, Virginia Attorney Help?
If you have problems with your landlord, your homeowners association, or a neighbor, a reputable Richmond, Virginia real estate lawyer may prove invaluable.