Condominium and Cooperative Law in Washington
Cooperative and condominium communities are examples of a class of housing developments recognized 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 normally 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 major 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 Covington, Washington
While there are a lot of Covington, Washington laws that will affect the residents and owners of condominium and cooperative communities, there are few that are actually specific to such communities. Rather, 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 normally 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 normally 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 Covington, Washington, 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 Covington, Washington Attorney Help?
If you have problems with your landlord, your homeowners association, or a neighbor, a seasoned Covington, Washington real estate lawyer may prove invaluable.