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What is the difference between a condominium and a co-op?

A Condominium owner holds a fee simple title to a unit and also a percentage of indivisible parts of a building, known as "common elements". A Cooperative owner owns personal property, shares in a corporation. A co-op owner has a leasehold interest, which is generally accepted by lenders as collateral. Title to the land and the building is held by the corporation.

Common Elements and Common Charges...
In both situations, owners share the use of common elements, such as pool, tennis courts, roof, lawns, etc. Monthly maintenance fees on a condominium cover the maintenance and management of the common elements and insurance. In a cooperative, monthly maintenance includes taxes, mortgage principal and interest (on the building), operating and maintenance expenses (such as utilities).

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A Condominium is administered by an association of unit owners according to by-laws set forth in the declaration. The owners are bound by these by-laws and the association may be governed by a Board of Directors.

As stockholders, the tenants of a Cooperative exercise control over the administration of the building. Barring discrimination, the Board may approve or disapprove prospective tenants or purchasers of apartment leases.

For a Condominium, financing would be the same as a single family house. The owner can mortgage his or her interest in the condo.

For a Cooperative, financing is arranged by borrowing against the stock. Lending institutions often have different criteria for co-op loans. The original, underlying mortgage on the entire co-op is signed by the corporation creating a lien on the entire parcel of real estate.

Real estate taxes, are assessed and collected on each unit owner of a Condominium. With a Cooperative, the building taxes are assessed against the corporation and included in the shareholders monthly maintenance fee.

A condominium has no requirements other than the borrowers ability to secure a mortgage, if applicable. A Cooperative will generally require a 4 to 1 ratio. This means the perspective purchaser must show documented earnings of 4 times their monthly carrying costs, including mortgage, maintenance, and all revolving monthly debt (i.e. car loans, alimony, child support, student loans, credit card debt).

To contact Terri Golden:

Phone: (201) 461-5000
Fax: (201) 461-6509
Evenings: (201) 941-4702

2151 Lemoine Avenue
Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024