Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
12/6/2019

Condominium Act

§ 55.1-1900. (Effective October 1, 2019) 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"Contractable condominium" means a condominium from which one or more portions of the submitted land may be withdrawn in accordance with the provisions of the declaration and of this chapter.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. 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.

"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.

§ 55.1-1901. (Effective October 1, 2019) Application and construction of chapter.

A. This chapter applies to all condominiums and to all horizontal property regimes or condominium projects. This chapter supersedes the Horizontal Property Act (§ 55.1-2000 et seq.), and no condominium shall be established under the Horizontal Property Act on or after July 1, 1974. This chapter shall not be construed to affect the validity of any provision of any condominium instrument recorded prior to July 1, 1974. For the purposes of this chapter, as used in the Horizontal Property Act (§ 55.1-2000 et seq.):

"Apartment" corresponds to the term "unit."

"Co-owner" corresponds to the term "unit owner."

"Council of co-owners" corresponds to the term "unit owners' association."

"Developer" corresponds to the term "declarant."

"General common elements" corresponds to the term "common elements."

"Horizontal property regime" and "condominium project" correspond to the term "condominium."

"Master deed" and "master lease" correspond to the term "declaration" and are included in the term "condominium instruments."

B. This chapter does not apply to condominiums located outside the Commonwealth. Sections 55.1-1971, 55.1-1974 through 55.1-1982, and 55.1-1985 through 55.1-1989 apply to all contracts for the disposition of condominium units signed in the Commonwealth by any person, unless exempt under § 55.1-1972.

C. Subsection B of § 55.1-1955 and § 55.1-1982 do not apply to the declarant of a conversion condominium if that declarant is a proprietary lessees' association that, immediately before the creation of the condominium, owned fee simple title to or a fee simple reversionary interest in the real estate described pursuant to subdivision A 3 of § 55.1-1916.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.40; 1982, c. 545; 1989, c. 63; 2006, c. 646; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1902. (Effective October 1, 2019) Variation by agreement.

Except as expressly provided in this chapter, provisions of this chapter shall not be varied by agreement, and rights conferred by this chapter shall not be waived. A declarant shall not act under power of attorney or use any other device to evade the limitations or prohibitions of this chapter or of the condominium instruments.

1982, c. 545, § 55-79.41:1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1903. (Effective October 1, 2019) Separate assessments, titles, and taxation.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, each condominium unit constitutes a separate parcel of real estate. If there is any unit owner other than the declarant, each unit, together with its common element interest, but excluding its common element interest in convertible land and in any withdrawable land within which the declarant has the right to create units or limited common elements, shall be separately assessed and taxed. Each convertible land and withdrawable land within which the declarant has the right to create units or limited common elements shall be separately assessed and taxed against the declarant.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.42; 1986, c. 324; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1904. (Effective October 1, 2019) Association charges.

Except as expressly authorized in this chapter, in the condominium instruments, or as otherwise provided by law, no unit owners' association may make an assessment or impose a charge against a unit owner unless the charge is (i) authorized under § 55.1-1964, (ii) a fee for services provided, or (iii) related to the provisions set out in § 55.1-1992. The Common Interest Community Board may assess a monetary penalty for a violation of this section against any (a) unit owners' association pursuant to § 54.1-2351 or (b) common interest community manager pursuant to § 54.1-2349 and may issue a cease and desist order pursuant to § 54.1-2349 or 54.1-2352, as applicable.

2015, c. 277, § 55-79.42:1; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1905. (Effective October 1, 2019) Local ordinances; nonconforming conversion condominiums; applicability of Uniform Statewide Building Code; other regulations.

A. No zoning or other land use ordinance shall prohibit condominiums solely on the basis of the form of ownership, nor shall any condominium be treated differently by any zoning or other land use ordinance that would permit a physically identical project or development under a different form of ownership. Except as provided in subsection E, no local government may require further review or approval to record condominium instruments when a property has previously complied with subdivision, site plan, zoning, or other applicable land use regulations.

B. Subdivision and site plan ordinances in any locality shall apply to any condominium in the same manner as such ordinances would apply to a physically identical project or development under a different form of ownership; however, the declarant need not apply for or obtain subdivision approval to record condominium instruments if site plan approval for the land being submitted to the condominium has first been obtained.

C. During development of a condominium containing additional land or withdrawable land, phase lines created by the condominium instruments shall not be considered property lines for purposes of subdivision. If the condominium can no longer be expanded by the addition of additional land, then the owner of the land not part of the condominium shall subdivide such land prior to its conveyance, unless such land is subject to an approved site plan as provided in subsection B, or prior to modification of such approved site plan. In the event of any conveyance of land within phase lines of the condominium, the condominium and any lot created by such conveyance shall be deemed to comply with the local subdivision ordinance, provided that such land is subject to an approved site plan.

D. During the period of declarant control and as long as the declarant has the right to create additional units or to complete the common elements, the declarant has the authority to execute, file, and process any subdivision, site plan, zoning, or other land use applications or disclosures, including related conditional zoning proffers and agreements that do not create an affirmative obligation on the unit owners' association without its consent, with respect to the common elements or applications affecting more than one unit, notwithstanding that the declarant is not the owner of the land.

In accordance with subsection B of § 55.1-1956, once the declarant no longer has such authority, the executive board of the unit owners' association, if any, and if not, then a representative duly appointed by the unit owners' association, shall have the authority to execute, file, and process any subdivision, site plan, zoning, or other land use applications or disclosures, including related conditional zoning proffers and agreements that do not create an affirmative obligation on the declarant without its consent, with respect to the common elements or applications affecting more than one unit, notwithstanding that the unit owners' association is not the owner of the land. Such applications shall not adversely affect the rights of the declarant to develop additional land. For purposes of obtaining building and occupancy permits, the unit owner, including the declarant if the declarant is the unit owner, shall apply for permits for the unit, and the unit owners' association shall apply for permits for the common elements, except that the declarant shall apply for permits for convertible land.

E. Localities may provide by ordinance that the declarant of a proposed conversion condominium that does not conform to the zoning, land use, and site plan regulations of the respective locality in which the property is located shall secure a special use permit, a special exception, or a variance, as the case may be, prior to such property's becoming a conversion condominium. The local authority shall grant a request for such a special use permit, special exception, or variance filed on or after July 1, 1982, if the applicant can demonstrate to the reasonable satisfaction of the local authority that the nonconformities are not likely to be adversely affected by the proposed conversion. The local authority shall not unreasonably delay action on any such request. In the event of an approved conversion to condominium ownership, a locality, sanitary district, or other political subdivision may impose such charges and fees as are lawfully imposed by such locality, sanitary district, or political subdivision as a result of construction of new structures to the extent that such charges and fees, or portions of such charges and fees, imposed upon property subject to such conversions may be reasonably related to greater or additional services provided by the locality, sanitary district, or political subdivision as a result of the conversion.

F. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit application of any provision of the Uniform Statewide Building Code (§ 36-97 et seq.) or any local ordinances regulating design and construction of roads, sewer and water lines, stormwater management facilities, and other public infrastructure to a condominium in a manner different from the manner in which such provision is applied to other buildings of similar physical form and nature of occupancy.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.43; 1975, c. 415; 1982, c. 663; 1991, c. 497; 2006, cc. 9, 317; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1906. (Effective October 1, 2019) Eminent domain.

A. If any portion of the common elements is taken by eminent domain, the award for such taking shall be paid to the unit owners' association, provided, however, that the portion of the award attributable to the taking of any permanently assigned limited common element shall be allocated by the order to the unit owner of the unit to which that limited common element was so assigned at the time of the taking. If that limited common element was permanently assigned to more than one unit at the time of the taking, then the portion of the award attributable to the taking of such limited common element shall be allocated in equal shares to the unit owners of the units to which it was so assigned or in such other shares as the condominium instruments may specify for this express purpose. A permanently assigned limited common element is a limited common element that cannot be reassigned or that can be reassigned only with the consent of the unit owner of the unit to which it is assigned in accordance with § 55.1-1919.

B. If one or more units are taken by eminent domain, the undivided interest in the common elements appertaining to any such unit shall thenceforth appertain to the remaining units, being allocated to them in proportion to their respective undivided interests in the common elements. The court shall enter an order reflecting the reallocation of undivided interests produced by such taking, and the award shall include just compensation to the unit owner of any unit taken for his undivided interest in the common elements as well as for his unit.

C. 1. If portions of any unit are taken by eminent domain, the court shall determine the fair market value of the portions of such unit not taken, and the undivided interest in the common elements appertaining to any such units shall be reduced, in the case of each such unit, in proportion to the diminution in the fair market value of such unit resulting from the taking.

2. The portions of undivided interest in the common elements thereby divested from the unit owners of any such units shall be reallocated among those units and the other units in the condominium in proportion to their respective undivided interests in the common elements, with any units partially taken participating in such reallocation on the basis of their undivided interests as reduced in accordance with subdivision 1.

3. The court shall enter an order reflecting the reallocation of undivided interests produced thereby, and the award shall include just compensation to the unit owner of any unit partially taken for that portion of his undivided interest in the common elements divested by operation of subdivision 1 and not revested by operation of subdivision 2, as well as for that portion of his unit taken by eminent domain.

D. If, however, the taking of a portion of any unit makes it impractical to use the remaining portion of that unit for any lawful purpose permitted by the condominium instruments, then the entire undivided interest in the common elements appertaining to that unit shall thenceforth appertain to the remaining units, being allocated to them in proportion to their respective undivided interests in the common elements, and the remaining portion of that unit shall thenceforth be a common element. The court shall enter an order reflecting the reallocation of undivided interests produced thereby, and the award shall include just compensation to the unit owner of such unit for his entire undivided interest in the common elements and for his entire unit.

E. Votes in the unit owners' association, rights to future common profits, and liabilities for future common expenses not specially assessed, appertaining to any unit taken or partially taken by eminent domain, shall thenceforth appertain to the remaining units, being allocated to them in proportion to their relative voting strength in the unit owners' association, with any units partially taken participating in such reallocation as though their voting strength in the unit owners' association had been reduced in proportion to the reduction in their undivided interests in the common elements, and the order of the court shall provide accordingly.

F. The order of the court shall require the recordation of such order among the land records of the county or city in which the condominium is located.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.44; 1975, c. 415; 1982, c. 545; 1998, c. 32; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-1907. (Effective October 1, 2019) How condominium may be created.

No condominium shall come into existence except by the recordation of condominium instruments pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. No condominium instruments shall be recorded unless all units located or to be located on any portion of the submitted land, other than within the boundaries of any convertible lands, are depicted on plats and plans that comply with the provisions of subsections A and B of § 55.1-1920.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.45; 2019, c. 712.

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

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