What is Condominium Law?

Alexis W.

Condominium law is a body of law designed to govern how people interact with each other within a condominium community. Some condominium law is made on a state level in the location where the condominium is located. Other condominium law is private law, created by the condo's bylaws and legally valid only because the individual owners of the contract sign and agree to the laws. Such private condominium law is enforced by the court as a contract case.

A condo building.
A condo building.

Within most states, there is some condo law made by the government. These laws may include required disclosures that condo owners must make in order to sell their condo. There may also be laws in regards to how condo ownership must be structured. For example, in San Francisco, California, there are many properties owned under a form of legal ownership called tenants-in-common. If the owners who own these tenants-in-common wish to convert to condos, they must comply with specific requirements and apply to the state for a condo conversion.

A condo lease agreement.
A condo lease agreement.

The majority of condominium law, however, is private law that exists between parties. When a person moves into a condo, he may have to sign a document specifying what he may and may not do within the condo building. These bylaws or legal documents may specify how common areas are to be taken care of and make prohibitions on what can and cannot be done in common areas. It is also common for contracts or condo bylaws to specify that a condo owner must pay dues to the condo board, must maintain their condo to certain standards, and must not make certain changes or undergo construction without prior permission and approval of the board.

The laws in condo bylaws are enforceable because contract law dictates that people can make private laws or agreements and that the court will give them legal weight by enforcing them. Many condo bylaws specify that disputes must be settled in arbitration, which means the law mandates the parties involved in the dispute follow the arbitration procedures and have their dispute settled by an independent third party arbitrator. In such cases, whatever the arbitrator decides is legally binding and the parties involved in the dispute must comply with is ruling. In other cases, disputes about condo bylaws will actually be settled in a court of law by a judge or jury.

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