A condominium is an apartment where owners own their space as real estate, as opposed to owning shares in a co-op building. Condominium owners have a deed and own whatever is inside the walls/unit as well as a proportionate share of the common elements of the building. For example, if there are 4 apartments in the building, the owner would have a deed for their apartment and a 25% interest in the common elements in the building as well. When purchasing or selling a condominium, individuals and families need to additionally consider the building’s offering plan, budget, a management company, common charges, and other expenses. The Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, P.C. can help you navigate these various considerations.
Our Real Estate Practice
- Building and negotiation of Contract terms
- Review of building’s offering plan
- Review of bank commitments
- Preparation of closing documents
- Representation at closings
Ownership of Condominiums
Because a person owns a condominium apartment outright and has a deed, condominiums are considered “real property” in the same way that houses are considered real property. The owner of a condominium apartment is responsible for paying real estate taxes, whereas in a cooperative unit, a unit owner is a shareholder in the corporation, so a portion of the real estate taxes of the building is incorporated into that unit owner’s monthly maintenance payment. In a condominium, the same way as with a house, owners pay the real estate taxes that are allocated to the property owned.
Many condominium boards still maintain a Board application process for purchasers, however the only way a Condominium Board can reject the transaction, is by opting to purchase the apartment themselves. This is called, “the right of first refusal” and Condominium Boards usually simply issue a piece of paper, called “Waiver of the Right of First Refusal” to the parties, prior to the closing of a sale of one of their units.
Condominium Issues for Divorcing Couples
In a divorce situation, where a party or the parties decide that ownership may need to be transferred, it is much simpler to transfer ownership of a condominium than that of a co-op. Usually, the Condo Board does not have to be involved. It merely receives notice that the condominium ownership has changed.
Whether parties decide to sell or buy a Condominium in their normal daily life or transfer ownership during a change in a family structure, such as a divorce, death, estate planning, etc. it is critical to understand how condominium ownership works and to insert clear and effective language in the agreements that would govern the process.
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