Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 19. Virginia Condominium Act

§ 55.1-1900. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Capital components" means those items, whether or not a part of the common elements, for which the unit owners' association has the obligation for repair, replacement, or restoration and for which the executive board determines funding is necessary.

"Common elements" means all portions of the condominium other than the units.

"Common expenses" means all expenditures lawfully made or incurred by or on behalf of the unit owners' association, together with all funds lawfully assessed for the creation or maintenance of reserves pursuant to the provisions of the condominium instruments.

"Common interest community manager" means the same as that term is defined in § 54.1-2345.

"Condominium" means real property, and any incidents to or interests in such real property, lawfully subject to this chapter by the recordation of condominium instruments pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. No project shall be deemed a condominium within the meaning of this chapter unless the undivided interests in the common elements are vested in the unit owners.

"Condominium instruments" means, collectively, the declaration, bylaws, and plats and plans recorded pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. Any exhibit, schedule, or certification recorded with a condominium instrument shall be deemed an integral part of that condominium instrument. Once recorded, any amendment or certification of any condominium instrument shall be deemed an integral part of the affected condominium instrument if such amendment or certification was made in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

"Condominium unit" means a unit together with the undivided interest in the common elements appertaining to that unit.

"Contractable condominium" means a condominium from which one or more portions of the submitted land may be withdrawn in accordance with the provisions of the declaration and of this chapter. If such withdrawal can occur only by the expiration or termination of one or more leases, then the condominium shall not be deemed a contractable condominium.

"Conversion condominium" means a condominium containing structures that before the recording of the declaration were wholly or partially occupied by persons other than those who have contracted for the purchase of condominium units and those who occupy with the consent of such purchasers.

"Convertible land" means a portion of the common elements within which additional units or limited common elements may be created in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

"Convertible space" means a portion of a structure within the condominium that a declarant may convert into one or more units or common elements, including limited common elements, in accordance with the provisions of the declaration and this chapter.

"Declarant" means any person, or group of persons acting in concert, that (i) offers to dispose of its interest in a condominium unit not previously disposed of, including an institutional lender that may not have succeeded to or accepted any special declarant rights pursuant to § 55.1-1947; (ii) reserves or succeeds to any special declarant right; or (iii) applies for registration of the condominium. However, for the purposes of clauses (i) and (iii), "declarant" does not include an institutional lender that acquires title by foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure unless such lender offers to dispose of its interest in a condominium unit not previously disposed of to anyone not in the business of selling real estate for his own account, except as otherwise provided in § 55.1-1947. "Declarant" does not include an individual who acquires title to a condominium unit at a foreclosure sale.

"Dispose" or "disposition" refers to any voluntary transfer of a legal or equitable interest in a condominium unit to a purchaser, but does not include the transfer or release of security for a debt.

"Electronic means" means any form of communication, not directly involving the physical transmission of paper, that creates a record that may be retained, retrieved, and reviewed by a recipient of such communication. A meeting conducted by electronic means includes a meeting conducted via teleconference, videoconference, Internet exchange, or other electronic methods. Any term used in this definition that is defined in § 59.1-480 of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act has the meaning set forth in that section.

"Executive board" means an executive and administrative entity, by whatever name denominated, designated in the condominium instruments as the governing body of the unit owners' association.

"Expandable condominium" means a condominium to which additional land may be added in accordance with the provisions of the declaration and this chapter.

"Future common expenses" means common expenses for which assessments are not yet due and payable.

"Identifying number" means one or more letters or numbers that identify only one unit in the condominium.

"Institutional lender" means one or more commercial or savings banks, savings and loan associations, trust companies, credit unions, industrial loan associations, insurance companies, pension funds, or business trusts, including real estate investment trusts, any other lender regularly engaged in financing the purchase, construction, or improvement of real estate, or any assignee of loans made by such a lender, or any combination of any of the foregoing entities.

"Land" is a three-dimensional concept and includes parcels with upper or lower boundaries, or both upper and lower boundaries, as well as parcels extending ab solo usque ad coelum. Parcels of airspace constitute land within the meaning of this chapter. Any requirement in this chapter of a legally sufficient description shall be deemed to include a requirement that the upper or lower boundaries, if any, of the parcel in question be identified with reference to established datum.

"Leasehold condominium" means a condominium in all or any portion of which each unit owner owns an estate for years in his unit, or in the land within which that unit is situated, or both, with all such leasehold interests due to expire naturally at the same time. A condominium including leased land, or an interest in such land, within which no units are situated or to be situated is not a leasehold condominium within the meaning of this chapter.

"Limited common element" means a portion of the common elements reserved for the exclusive use of those entitled to the use of one or more, but less than all, of the units.

"Nonbinding reservation agreement" means an agreement between the declarant and a prospective purchaser that is in no way binding on the prospective purchaser and that may be canceled without penalty at the sole discretion of the prospective purchaser.

"Offer" means any inducement, solicitation, or attempt to encourage any person to acquire any legal or equitable interest in a condominium unit, except as security for a debt. Nothing that expressly states that the condominium has not been registered with the Common Interest Community Board and that no unit in the condominium can or will be offered for sale until such time as the condominium has been so registered shall be considered an "offer."

"Officer" means any member of the executive board or official of the unit owners' association.

"Par value" means a number of dollars or points assigned to each unit by the declaration. Substantially identical units shall be assigned the same par value, but units located at substantially different heights above the ground, or having substantially different views, or having substantially different amenities or other characteristics that might result in differences in market value may be considered substantially identical within the meaning of §§ 55.1-1917 and 55.1-1918.

"Person" means a natural person, corporation, partnership, association, trust, or other entity capable of holding title to real property, or any combination thereof.

"Purchaser" means any person, other than a declarant, that acquires by means of a voluntary transfer a legal or equitable interest in a condominium unit, other than (i) a leasehold interest, including renewal options, of less than 20 years or (ii) as security for a debt.

"Reserve study" means a capital budget planning tool used to determine the physical status and estimated repair or replacement cost of capital components and an analysis of association funding capacity to maintain, repair, and replace capital components.

"Settlement agent" means the same as that term is defined in § 55.1-1000.

"Size" means the number of cubic feet, or the number of square feet of ground or floor space, within each unit as computed by reference to the plat and plans and rounded to the nearest whole number. Certain spaces within the units, including attic, basement, or garage space, may be omitted from such calculation or partially discounted by the use of a ratio, so long as the same basis of calculation is employed for all units in the condominium and so long as that basis is described in the declaration.

"Special declarant rights" means any right reserved for the benefit of a declarant, or of a person or group of persons that becomes a declarant, to (i) expand an expandable condominium; (ii) contract a contractable condominium; (iii) convert convertible land or convertible space or both; (iv) appoint or remove any officers of the unit owners' association or the executive board pursuant to subsection A of § 55.1-1943; (v) exercise any power or responsibility otherwise assigned by any condominium instrument or by this chapter to the unit owners' association, any officer, or the executive board; or (vi) maintain sales offices, management offices, model units, and signs pursuant to § 55.1-1929.

"Unit" means a portion of the condominium designed and intended for individual ownership and use. For the purposes of this chapter, a convertible space shall be treated as a unit in accordance with subsection D of § 55.1-1925.

"Unit owner" means one or more persons that own a condominium unit or, in the case of a leasehold condominium, whose leasehold interest in the condominium extends for the entire balance of the unexpired term. "Unit owner" includes any purchaser of a condominium unit at a foreclosure sale, regardless of whether the deed is recorded in the land records where the unit is located. "Unit owner" does not include any person holding an interest in a condominium unit solely as security for a debt.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.41; 1975, c. 415; 1981, c. 480; 1982, c. 545; 1991, c. 497; 1993, c. 667; 1996, c. 977; 2001, c. 715; 2002, c. 459; 2003, c. 442; 2008, cc. 851, 871; 2015, cc. 93, 410; 2019, c. 712; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 9, 494; 2024, c. 324.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.