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Condominiums and Cooperatives
What is a condominium?
Individuals who buy condominiums own their units as well as the air space within the unit. These buyers have legal title to the unit and only share ownership and obligation with other condominium owners for the common areas. Condominium owners typically pay a monthly or quarterly fee for repair and maintenance of the common areas, including recreation centers and pools. In a condominium, the association/board does not own anything and is simply the regulatory body of the community. The members of the board are elected at a meeting of the unit owners. The election of board members must be by written ballot or voting machine and not by proxy.
The members of a homeowners’ association and their guests must comply with the laws relating to the governing documents of the community and the rules of the homeowners’ association. When there is a vote regarding assessments to repair or improve the property, there must be a quorum of the total voting interests.
What is a cooperative (co-op)?
A cooperative community is a corporation or association that owns the building and the land. Individuals pay rent for maintenance and repair of the building common areas. In a cooperative, the “buyer” does not actually own anything, but rather, is a stockholder or lessee. The purchaser of a co-op apartment does not hold any type of proprietary interest in either the apartment itself, the apartment building containing the apartment unit, or the land upon which the building is situated. The board of administration for a co-op must consist of at least 3 members – a president, a secretary, and a treasurer. Unless the bylaws state otherwise, the officers serve without compensation. A co-op is not considered a homestead.
A “cooperative parcel” is the shares that represent an undivided share in the assets of the association with the lease or other muniment of title or possession. The appurtenances to each co-op parcel include:
- Evidence of membership, ownership of shares, or other interest in the coop
- An undivided share in the assets of the association
- The exclusive right to use a portion of the common areas as provided by the co-op documents
- An undivided share in the common surplus attributable to the unit
- Any other appurtenances provided for in the co-op documents
Issues related to living and owning in a condominium or cooperative:
- Noise issues
- Construction defect claims
- Condominium foreclosure defense
- Construction contracts
- Developer/turnover issues
- Election abuse/annual meeting assistance
- Lien foreclosures
- Improper rule enforcement
- Selective rule enforcement
- Slip, trip and fall
- Preparation and review of purchase contracts
- Purchase and sale of condo units
- Terminating contracts
- Disputes with the association/other residents
- Late fees and assessments
- Improper special assessments
- Damage caused by residents and/or guests
- Damage to vehicle
- Parking issues
- Pet issues
- Broken pipes/air conditioners
Do you need an experienced real estate agent for your condominium or cooperative?
Florida condominiums and cooperatives each have a unique set of regulations and governing bodies. Understanding all of the documents and regulations can be a complex and frustrating task. An experienced Florida agent can assist you in this process. If you have any questions, it would be wise to consult with your local real estate agent to better understand your rights.