CONTENT AND OPERATION
Condominium refers to a type of ownership which involves individual ownership of a unit in a condominium development and an undivided interest in the common areas by the owners of the individual units. The common areas may be for the general use of all the unit owners, such as recreational facilities. The common areas also may be limited to the use of a particular unit owner, such as a garage or parking space. Any type of structure may be held in the condominium form of ownership, including single family homes, townhouses, manufactured homes, and apartment complexes.
Condominium ownership is made possible by enabling legislation in each state. In Ohio, R.C. Chapter 5311. (Condominium Law) is the law that establishes the condominium form of ownership. R.C. Chapter 5311. applies only to property that is specifically submitted to its provisions by the execution and filing for record of a declaration by the property owner. In every instance, any property so submitted must be either a fee simple estate or a 99-year leasehold, renewable forever. Neither the submission of property to the provisions of the Condominium Law nor the conveyance or transfer of a condominium ownership interest constitutes a subdivision within the meaning of, or is subject to, R.C. Chapter 711. (Plat and Subdivision Law). (R.C. 5311.02.)
The declaration is essential in creating a condominium form of ownership. It must provide a precise legal description of each individual estate or unit and the common elements. The declaration also contains conditions, covenants, and restrictions that, upon its filing and recording, become part of the law that governs the condominium property. Bylaws, which generally contain the rights and responsibilities of the unit owners and the requirements concerning meetings and officers, are an additional source of law governing condominium developments.
A condominium development is governed by a unit owners association and its board of managers (changed by the bill to "board of directors") and officers. The association may collect fees for common expenses. The declaration and the Condominium Law provide for legal enforcement of unpaid fees and assessments and permits the association to place a lien on individual ownership interests for unpaid amounts.
Generally, the unit owners, by the affirmative vote of all unit owners, may elect to remove condominium property from the provisions of the Condominium Law. That Law provides for the effects of such an election.
Overview of the bill
The bill makes comprehensive revisions in all aspects of the Condominium Law, primarily in the classification of types of units, relocation of unit boundaries and reallocation of undivided interests in the common elements, delegation of common elements as exclusive use areas, conversion of a convertible unit into one or more units or common elements, specific authorization for a unit owners association to purchase property that is not part of the condominium property, contents of a declaration, procedures for amending and recording a declaration, preparation and certification of drawings, contents of bylaws, duties and powers of a unit owners association, keeping and examination of records, lien rights, compliance with the condominium instruments, provisions required in condominium instruments, contents of the condominium development disclosure statement, and remedies of purchasers.
The bill outright repeals R.C. 5311.01, which prescribes the definitions of terms used in the existing Condominium Law. It enacts new R.C. 5311.01, which retains the existing definitions of certain terms, changes the definitions of other terms, and adds new terms and definitions. Following are the terms in new R.C. 5311.01 and their definitions as used in the Condominium Law, except as otherwise provided. The statements in parentheses after each definition indicate whether the bill's definition is the same or essentially the same as in existing law, the definition under existing law if the bill substantially changes that definition, or whether the term and its definition are new (R.C. 5311.01, with division references at the beginning of each term):
(A) "Agent" means any person who represents a developer or who acts for or on behalf of a developer in selling or offering to sell any ownership interest in a condominium development. "Agent" does not include an attorney whose representation of a developer consists solely of rendering legal services. (Definition is essentially the same as in existing R.C. 5311.01(U).)
(B) "Additional property" means land, including surface and air rights, or improvements to land that are described in an original declaration and that may be added in the future to an expandable condominium property. ("Additional property" in existing R.C. 5311.01(Q) means land or improvements described in the original declaration that may be added in the future to an expandable condominium property.)
(C) "Affiliate of a developer" means any person who controls a developer or is controlled by a developer. For the purposes of this provision: