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  • Writer's pictureColleen

PUDs, Co-ops and Condos

These are 3 different types of co-ownership that you may come across when looking to buy, so before you buy one of these let's make sure we know what they are and what you're buying.


These are a form of ownership known as joint ownership.

When you buy a condo, you are actually just buying the airspace within the exterior wall of your unit. Meaning you own nothing tangible, just the space or the air within your unit.

Condos will also include an ownership in some common elements. Common elements would be like hallways sidewalks, walking paths, or clubhouse facilities which everyone uses and so everyone owns a portion of it and shares the responsibility of keeping them maintained.

In some condos there are also limited common elements like if you have an assigned parking space. These limited common elements are things which everyone helps maintain, but not everyone can use.

When you buy a condo there are certain documents that you are entitled to within 5 days of signing your purchase agreement, or you can rescind the purchase contract:

The Master Deed (aka Declaration of Condominium or Declaration Agreement): This is the deed for the entire condo. It shows that this property is declared a condo and describes all the land, each unit and all the improvements. It also includes the establishment of the condo association.

The Articles of incorporation and Bylaws for the Condominium Association: This is where you find information about the management, and maintenance of the condo. This will also contain the

Unit deeds: This is a more specific deed for your specific unit.

The condo association must also provide you with a certificate from the condo association that contains detailed information about the financial position of the condo association, along with a list of all the fees charged to unit owners, and insurance coverage within 10 days of requesting. *Yes you must request this last one yourself.

Cooperative Ownership

These are a type of shared ownership. Technically you as the buyer don't own anything. Co-ops are owned by a non-profit corporation which leases units to stockholders via a proprietary lease. This means that what you are buying here is actually a share, and not the home, in-fact unit owners are known as cooperators not owners or lessees, and your unit is seen as personal property instead of real property.

The rent you pay is actually more like a monthly assessment fee to the owning corporation so that the corporation can repay debt and pay the expenses of the corporation.

A co-op is governed but its Articles of incorporation, Bylaws, CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions), and House rules much like the condo.

Planned Unit Development (PUD)

You own more in this form than either of the other two. Here buyers own the house, the land and a stock in a community association which usually owns and pays a fee to the homeowners association to maintain the common elements. Common elements here would be walking paths, sidewalks, roads, and or parks.

Most HOAs that you see are actually PUDs.

Most PUDs are created out of necessity for something called cluster zoning- this is not super important to know, but I'll leave it here for my curious folks who want the info: cluster zoning is a provisional zoning ordinance that permits a developer to take the overall density of an area and then disperse that density in such a way as to make the most efficient use of the land. An example of this would be a township that may only allow a 1 acre lot for a residential home. Say a developer buys 10 acres, now they want to build 10 homes, but there a big pond in the middle of the acres, and some forest land on one side that would make it difficult to build without chopping it all down, so instead they cluster zone. Everyone who buys a home in this development will maintain the pond and the forest area and those will be common elements, and the homes will be clustered together in a way that doesn't make the developer have to cut down all the trees, or relocated the pond.

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