Condominiums – FAQs
1. Do zoning laws affect whether or not I can create a condominium?
No! Zoning laws regulate the uses that may be employed at a property. By statute, zoning laws may not prohibit creation of, or conversion to, the condominium form of ownership where the uses employed at the property are in compliance with the zoning regulations.
2. Are there any statutes that regulate activities in condominiums?
Yes, the Condominium Act, Connecticut General Statutes §47-67, et seq., and the Common Interest Ownership Act, Connecticut General Statutes §47-200, et seq.
3. How do I know which statutory scheme applies to my condominium?
The Condominium Act applies to all condominiums created on or before January 1, 1984. The Common Interest Ownership Act applies to all condominiums created after January 1, 1984. Some sections of the Common Interest Ownership Act have been made applicable to all condominiums.
4. What are common elements?
For most residential condominiums, common elements are comprised of all of the condominium property that is not designated as “units” in the condominium declaration.
5. Who owns the common elements?
In most condominiums, each owner of a specific condominium unit has an undivided percentage ownership interest in the common elements which oftentimes is equal to the ratio of the total square footage of living space of the unit owner’s unit divided by the total square footage of all units added together in the complex.
6. Do the laws change depending on the size of the condominium?
Generally speaking, no. For most residential condominiums the laws are the same whether the condominium has 15 units or 1,000 units. There are several statutes that apply to condominiums which have a small number of units (i.e., 12 units or less).
7. If a unit owner fails to pay common charges, can the association place a lien against the unit?
When common charges are not paid by a unit owner, a lien against the unit automatically arises as a result of the Connecticut General Statutes and the recorded condominium declaration. The association does not need to actually file a lien against the unit as the lien arises automatically by statute.
8. How are condominiums governed?
Most residential condominiums are run by a unit owners association. The association is normally a non-stock corporation. The corporation is run like most corporations, namely, through the election of a board of directors, most often referred to as the “Executive Board”.
9. If I am purchasing a condominium unit, how can I be sure that there are not past-due common charges owed in connection with the unit?
Pursuant to statute (unless the condominium has 12 units or less), the seller of a condominium unit is required to provide to any purchaser of a condominium unit a Resale Certificate. This certificate is obtained from the condominium association and provides an up-to-date statement of any unpaid common charges and assessments, which relate to the unit being sold.
10. What is a limited common element?
A limited common element is a portion of the common elements (i.e., all condominium property other than the units) that is designated for exclusive use by one or more unit owners. Although it is a common area, the costs of maintenance, repair, and modification are usually borne by the unit owner or owners who enjoy exclusive rights to usage of the limited common element area. An example of a typical limited common element area would be a balcony or deck.
11. My condominium is presently not managed by a management company. Should we consider management of the association?
Absolutely! The Danbury area and its surrounding towns have a relatively high number of condominium units when compared to statewide averages. Not surprisingly, this high concentration of condominium units has resulted in a number of sophisticated, high-quality condominium management service providers. Most condominium management companies will speak to your association about providing management services without a consultation fee. Because there is no cost associated with the consultation, most associations are best served by spending the time to meet with local management service providers to see what these providers can do for your specific association.
12. Can my condominium borrow money from a bank to make needed repairs?
If the condominium was created on or after January 1, 1984 (i.e. the Common Interest Ownership Act applies), the condominium declaration is likely to have language in it that will allow the association to assign its common charges income stream to the bank as collateral for the loan. If the condominium was created before January 1, 1984, it is likely that the condominium declaration would need to be amended to add language allowing the condominium association to assign its common charges to a lender.
For more information, contact Collins Hannafin, P.C. to speak with a real estate and condominium attorney.