The three kinds
of community associations are condominiums, homeowners’ associations and
cooperatives. The main difference between the three groups is the ownership:
Condominiums - In a condominium, the individual unit owner owns fee simple title to the air space contained within their unit and an undivided interest in all common grounds, streets and parking, recreation facilities, utilities, and parts of residential structures (i.e., the roof and lobby), which are collectively known as the common elements. A master deed divides the land into units and common elements and sets forth rights, obligations and restrictions of the condominium owner. Owners are obligated to pay assessments.
Homeowners Associations - In a homeowners association, the homeowner owns his/her home in fee simple title and the common grounds and facilities are owned in fee simple by the association as an entity. Open space, recreational and common areas are vested in the homeowners’ association and funds for their upkeep are raised from assessments. Homeowners’ associations are regulated by privately written Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.
Cooperatives - In cooperative housing, the shareholder does not own real estate, but owns a share of the legal entity that owns real estate. The corporation owns the land, buildings and any common areas. Each resident has membership in the coop association and has occupancy rights to a specific suite.
Each association has its own unique governing document, written specifically for that association. Your association should provide these documents along with any restrictions that apply to your Planned Development.
The Office may make any information received under Real Property 14-130 available to the public, subject to the provisions of the Maryland Public Information Act.
A person who commits a willful violation of Real Property 14-130 or who causes a person to commit a willful violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000.00.