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A Brief History of Condominiums

History Condominiums Vs Cooperatives

Condominiums property Unlike apartments, condominium units may be rented out to tenants by the unit owners at their discretion. This practice is illegal in apartment complexes, as the leasing resident has no property rights aside from maintenance of the unit. Many condominium units in the United States function as hotels or storage facilities. The ownership rights Graystone Manor,built in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1960, was the first condominium ever constructed in the United States. The condominium was adopted from the Caribbean housing cooperative: a form of property ownership under the Napoleonic Code. This differed from traditional English property law which required the legal owner of the residential unit to also own the surrounding land. The Napoleonic Code of 1804 stipulated that properties could share a common building or plot governed by a housing collective, while the airspace and floor space within the individual units still be considered privately owned. Condominium ownership creative freedom The Graystone Manor project was spearheaded by Keith Romney, who encouraged Utah state legislature to pass the Utah Condominium Act of 1960. The proposed appeal of this form of housing tenure was to afford Americans the opportunity to own property in desirable areas, without the financial strain of land ownership. The appeals of ownership as opposed to tenancy were enticing, as evidenced to Romney’s rapid expansion of his housing units throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s - a property revolution that would gain him the nickname “the Father of the Condominium”. Less than a decade after his successful counsel of the Utah Condominium Act in 1960, the Federal Government insured mortgages on condominiums in every US state by 1969. Since their arrival in the 1960’s, condominiums continue to be an affordable form of housing tenure for Americans looking to manage their own property without the burdens of land ownership and high property taxes. Condominiums are bought, sold, and maintained by the respective resident owners. This process builds homeowner’s credit for the resident owner. Depending upon the housing economy, living in a Condominium may either be a risk or a wise investment- much like conventional home ownership. A condominium in the United States is referred to as a form of housing unit that is privately owned by the resident, yet shares a common collective exterior with one or more separate units. Condo owners have property rights contractually specified by the agreement between themselves and the mortgage holder. The appeal of condominiums over conventional home ownership or renting and apartments are numerous. Condo owners enjoy the benefits of property investment and sale, as well as the opportunity to live in more desirable areas without paying the full cost of a house. In addition to these benefits, condo owners also assume the risks of changes in the housing market, and an inability to terminate their residency as easily as an apartment tenant. Origin: Condominiums are derived from French collective property ownerships under the Napoleonic Code of 1804. This was a drastic break from traditional English property ownership laws. English laws stipulated that one must own land in order to be considered a property owner, while the French laws allowed for individually, owned, and managed living spaces within the same unit or building. The first condos in the United States were built in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1960 by Keith Romney, the "Father of the condominium". By the end of the 1960's, condominiums were readily available for purchase in all fifty states of the union. Romney's Graystone Manor paved the way for a revolution in property ownership that would peak in popularity during the 1990's housing economy. Articles & Bylaws: The Utah Condominium act of 1960 allowed for private ownership of a residence in a collective unit. A year later in 1961, the National Housing Act allowed the federal government to insure the mortgages of these private properties. The residents of a condominium development are members of a Homeowner's Association (HOA). The duties of the HOA most importantly include the creation, modification and enforcement of regulations known as "bylaws". Bylaws govern life at the condo and regulate a wide variety of resident concerns, such as the unit's pet policy, quiet time, and allocation of membership dues. These dues paid by all HOA members are responsible for the upkeep and renovation of the collective. Representation: While the HOA's elected board of directors has executive authority over the collective unit of condominiums, it often must seek legal representation in matters of discrepancy between itself and the individual unit owners. Conversely, if the unit owners feel they are being unjustly represented or charged in violation of the HOA's bylaws they are entitled to the same legal representation. Litigation between condominium mortgage holders and unit owners may arise from simple matters of Collection of Dues, to more complex issues of violation of Right of First Refusal (ROFR). Finally, both parties will seek attorney in matters of liens and foreclosure when the HOA has sought compensation or owner removal from the unit. Due to the complexity and logistics of these litigation processes, many real estate attorneys specialize in representation for either party in condominium lawsuits.

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