Common interest communities are also known as homeowner’s associations, condo associations, and co-op associations. These community associations have one thing in common – they include multiple properties or multiple units within one property. But, that’s really where the similarities end. Homeowner’s associations typically include only single-family homes and condo associations are condominiums. Some condos are in a single building and others are attached properties that look like villas or single-family homes. Co-ops are usually clustered together in a single building, and are usually found in larger cities.

At Realty Solutions, our territory is mostly south Jersey – from Burlington County south. We are property managers who manage all kinds of residential homes, as well as community associations. As the Director of Community Management at Realty Solutions, I oversee the management of all the associations we have under management. We work with all of these different types of associations, and today we want to clarify what makes them different.

HOA and Condo Associations: One Major Difference

The main difference between a homeowner’s association, or an HOA, and a condo association is the way they are deeded. An HOA is a fee-simple association. The homeowner owns the structure of the home and also the land that the house is built on. There are no restrictions or limitations to the ownership of that property. While an HOA may have rules and requirements that the homeowner must follow, the house and the land that the house is built on belongs to the property owner. The association does not own any part of that.

A condo association is deeded as a condo. In this case, the homeowner only owns from the inside of the property to the sheetrock. The condo association owns the exterior of the property, including the roof, the exterior walls, and the ground outside of the home. The land, the gardens, and the hallways if it’s a building, all belong to the association. This is all common property, and it does not belong to the homeowner. When you buy a condo, you own the condo, and that’s all that you are entitled or deeded to possess.

Co-Op Associations: Different from HOAs and Condo Associations

A co-op association is a completely different animal. These are basically apartments in which an owner buys a lease. Then, the association manages that lease for the owner. Also known as a housing cooperative, this is a unique type of ownership. The corporation is membership-based, and as a homeowner you have a shared purchase in the property. It’s not like a single-family home, where you own everything or a condo, where you own the actual structure but not the surrounding land. Make sure you know the difference before you buy, because owning a co-op is completely unlike owning any other type of property.

This can be confusing, and we’re always happy to help clarify anything or answer any questions that you may have. If you’d like to talk further about community management and how we can help your association, please contact us at Realty Solutions.