Condominium and Cooperative Law in Washington
Cooperative and condominium communities are examples of a class of housing developments identified 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 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 because there are no physical characteristics that can precisely distinguish one from the other. The general 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 Bellingham, Washington
Various Bellingham, Washington 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.
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 typically 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 typically 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.
Some of these rules, however, may not be enforceable, if push came to shove. This would depend on the particular laws of Bellingham, Washington which regulate landlords and tenants.
Can a Bellingham, Washington Attorney Help?
If you are involved in an argument with your neighbor, in conflict with a zoning regulation, or in a dispute with your landlord, a reliable Bellingham, Washington real estate attorney can help you prevail.