This is the second installment in our four-part series, “An Introduction to Pennsylvania Common Interest Ownership Communities.” In this series, we explore the legal background of condominiums and planned communities, the two most common types of communities in Pennsylvania, and explain why choosing the right type for your project has a significant impact. To view the first article in the series, click here.
Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act
The Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act (UCA) (68 Pa. C.S. §§ 3101 to. 3414) was adopted in 1980 to govern the formation and operation of condominiums. Prior to the UCA, condominiums in Pennsylvania were governed by the since-repealed Unit Property Act.
By definition, a condominium is a form of real estate ownership. When an individual buys into a condominium, they are purchasing a designated portion of the property for which they are the exclusive owner, called a “unit.” The communal portions of the property that share an undivided interest with other unit owners are referred to as the “common elements.” The deed conveying ownership of a condominium unit includes the common elements, whether specifically referenced in the deed or not. While there is an association responsible for the maintenance and regulation of the common elements, the association itself does not hold title or ownership to that portion of the property.
While condominiums are generally thought of as multi-family apartment-style structures, condominiums have also been used to establish semi-detached (townhome) communities and even single family detached communities.
One of the primary benefits of a condominium is that it allows interests in real estate to be divided in a manner that normally would not be possible – or too cumbersome – under traditional subdivision and land development requirements. However, the right to do so is not unfettered and there has been some upheaval in recent years concerning the scope of those powers.
Contact Erik Hume to further discuss the laws governing condominiums and how Saxton & Stump’s Real Estate Law Group can help devise an appropriate strategy for your development project.
The Full Series on Pennsylvania Common Interest Ownership Communities
Article 1: An Introduction to Common Interest Ownership Communities
Article 2: The Uniform Condominium Act in a Nutshell
Article 3: The Planned Community Act and How it Differs from the Condominium Act
Article 4: The Impact of Choosing the Right Type of Community