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The Paper Chase: Understanding Governing Document

  • By: The New York Cooperator, Quoted "Stephen Lasser"
  • Published: June 26, 2011

With homeownership comes great responsibility. For co-op and condo residents, part of that responsibility means sorting through the seemingly mile-high stacks of documents handed to you before, during and after the purchase process begins. Those documents can be confusing, especially for first-time buyers. Becoming familiar with each piece of paper and what it means is an important part of that responsibility that comes with homeownership, and that knowledge can save a lot of time and grief down the road.

Start at the Beginning

So what are the main governing documents of co-op and condo buildings? Each has two primary governing documents. For the co-op, “Those are the by-laws of the cooperative corporation and the proprietary lease between the corporation and each shareholder,” says attorney Adam Leitman Bailey of the Manhattan-based firm Adam Leitman Bailey, PC, and author of Finding the Uncommon Deal. “In a condominium, the two primary documents are the condominium declaration and the by-laws of the condominium. In addition, both co-ops and condos have Rules and Regulations, sometimes called House Rules.” Download PDF

About the Author Stephen M. Lasser is the managing partner of Lasser Law Group. He has
focused his practice on real estate as both a litigator and a transactional
attorney for approximately 20 years. Read More