Common Ownership Communities

Common Ownership Communities


1. What is a Common Ownership Community?

A common ownership community is a group of homes with their own governing documents and binding rules and regulations. Common ownership communities consist of condominium associations, homeowner’s associations and cooperative housing associations.

•  Condominiums - In a condominium, the individual unit owner owns fee simple title to the air space contained within their unit and an undivided interest in all common grounds, streets and parking, recreation facilities, utilities, and parts of residential structures (i.e., the roof and lobby), which are collectively known as the common elements. A master deed divides the land into units and common elements and sets forth rights, obligations and restrictions of the condominium owner. Owners are obligated to pay assessments.

•  Homeowner’s Associations - In a homeowner’s association, the homeowner owns his/her home in fee simple title and the common grounds and facilities are owned in fee simple by the association as an entity. Open space, recreational and common areas are vested in the homeowner’s association and funds for their upkeep are raised from assessments. Homeowner’s associations are regulated by privately written Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.

•  Cooperatives - In cooperative housing, the shareholder does not own real estate, but owns a share of the legal entity that owns real estate. The corporation owns the land, buildings and any common areas. Each resident has membership in the co-op association and has occupancy rights to a specific suite.

2. What does the Common Ownership Communities Division do?

Common Ownership Communities (COC) provides services to governing bodies, owners and residents of homeowner’s associations, residential condominiums and cooperative housing corporations. Some of our services include:

•  Maintaining an information and referral system for services in the County, related directly to common ownership communities,

•  Maintaining a roster of common ownership communities via the registration process,

•  Providing educational programs for association members, boards of directors, and

•  Creating referrals to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), as necessary and appropriate

3. What does the Commission on Common Ownership Communities Division do?

In 2015, CB-049-2015 established the Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC). Commissioners are stakeholders in the community appointed by the County Executive.

The CCOC was created in order to address the following areas:

•  Ensure the proper establishment and operation of homeowners’ associations, condominium associations, and cooperative housing corporations

•  Promote education, public awareness and association membership understanding of

the rights and obligations of living in a common ownership community

•  Reduce the number and divisiveness of disputes and encourage informal resolution of disputes

•  Maintain property values and quality of life in common ownership communities

•  Assist and oversee the development of coordinated community and government policies, programs and services which support common ownership communities

•  Prevent potential public financial liability for repair or replacement of common ownership communities’ facilities