Specializing in the Condos, Co-ops, Townhomes and Villas of Southeast Florida

Bill Cott
Real Estate Broker | Seawatch Realty, Inc.
Email: | Mobile: (954) 494-5812

Southeast Florida Condo Associations and Ownership

Condos, Co-ops, Townhomes and Villas

A Condominium is a multiple-unit dwelling in which there is separate and distinct ownership of Individual Units (fee simple, just like a single-family home) and joint ownership and responsibility of Common Elements with other owners in the Association. The three basic instruments in the purchase of a condominium are the Deed to the unit, the Declaration Of Condominium and the ByLaws.

A Cooperative (Co-op) is generally setup as a corporation from which the owner purchases shares of the corporation. These shares give the owner exclusive rights and access to the unit they are purchasing through a "Proprietary Lease" or "Occupancy Agreement", as opposed to fee simple ownership in a condominium. There are still joint responsibilities of Common Elements just like in a condominium. The three basic instruments in the purchase of a cooperative are the Corporate Charter, the Bylaws and the Proprietary Lease or Occupancy Agreement.

Townhomes are usually characterized by the ownership of the outside structure and the inside unit. A townhome may have similar features to a freestanding home but usually has at least one shared wall with its neighbor. Townhome owners are ordinarily responsible for the maintenance of the grounds that come with the property. Townhomes may also have associations similar to condos, and have common areas such as a pool or workout facilities that are shared and maintained by the community.

ByLaws / Rules and Regulations

The property and its improvements are managed by an Association made up of unit owners (Board of Directors), who have been appointed by its ownership through an annual voting process. Some Associations hire Professional Property Managers to handle the day-to-day operations, while other communities prefer to manage it directly themselves.

The Association must adhere to the community ByLaws, the regulations by which the Association is governed. The ByLaws usually establish: responsibilities of the Association; voting procedures; qualifications, powers, and duties of the Board of Directors; powers and duties of the officers; information regarding assessments; maintenance responsibilities; and the use of the units and common areas.

Owners purchase their unit subject to not only the Bylaws, but also a set of Rules and Regulations providing specific details of restrictions on conduct of unit owners and residents. These rules and regulations are meant to protect owners, enhance property values, and promote harmonious living. Some typical rules include mandatory maintenance fees, pet restrictions, and color/design choices visible from the exterior of the units.

Each Association is governed by the Florida Statutes, specifically "Chapter 718 Condominiums", also referenced as The Florida Condominium Act. Click Here: The Florida Condominium Act

Unit Property and Association Property

Condominium property is generally categorized into individual "Unit Property" and "Association Property".

"Unit Property" (such as the unit itself) is the part of the condominium property which is subject to "exclusive" ownership as specified in the declaration documents.

"Association Property" can be further subdivided into "Common Elements" and "Limited Common Elements".

"Common Elements" (community pool, tennis courts, community room, etc.) are the portions of the condominium property not included in the units.

"Limited Common Elements" (balconies, assigned parking spaces, storage units, boat slips) are those portions of the condominium (other than the units) which are reserved for the "exclusive" use of a certain unit or units, to the exclusion of all other units, as specified in the declaration documents.

How a specific element of "Association Property" is classified may change the respective rights and responsibilities of the Association versus the unit owner, including who insures and maintains property element.

"Limitied Common Elements" are generally "Appurtenances" and must be associated with an owned unit. This is usually meant to prevent someone from having rights to utilize a parking spot or boat slip unless they own a unit.

Parking Spaces

A condominium parking space can generally be classified as either a “Deeded Parking Space” or an “Assigned Parking Space”.

A "Deeded Parking Space" is a separate individual unit with its own separate percentage of ownership. It is a separate entity from the unit, is generally assessed separately by the city and has its own legal designation and property tax bill. It is deeded and transferred separately from the unit as a fee simple interest, similar to the manner in which the unit itself would be transferred. However, even if the unit owner is given fee simple title, the Condominium Declaration still must be reviewed, since it may place restrictions on the rights of the unit owner in regards to transferring the parking space, as well as how the space is utilized within the community.

An "Assigned Parking Space" generally means that the parking space is a Limited Common Element and is designated in the Condominium Declaration as being reserved for the use of a certain unit to the exclusion of other units. The parking space ownership does not exist separate from the ownership of the unit and consequently passed along with title to the unit. Since Limited Common Elements are under the direct supervision of the condominium Association, if an individual is trying to transfer the Limited Common Element parking space to another unit owner, the individual needs to obtain permission from the Association and the parking space must be transferred in accordance with the requirements of the Condominium Declaration.

Some communities have a single designated space for each unit with "Open Parking" applying the remaining parking spaces. These "Open Parking Spaces" are on a first come basis for guests and owners with a second vehicle. This is generally only done when a community is in the fortunate position to have more than enough capacity for such an arrangement.

Associations have restrictions pertaining to parking that typically include number and types of vehicles that may be parked on the property. Limitations might include no motorcycles, recreational vehicles, trailers or trucks.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions?

Can I get another parking space with my unit?

In most cases, parking spaces were allotted by the original developer of the community when the units where originally purchased. Generally, the Association permits unit owners to sell or trade their parking space with other unit owners. It is not uncommon for parking spaces to sell for $20K to $100K, depending on the community.