Are you interested in living in a co-op or condo in the city? If yes, then it is important to know that these buildings have a specific set of policies, called house rules. House rules are designed to guarantee harmony amongst neighbors by governing the standards of everyday behavior. These rules are different depending on the co-op or condo you are interested in, and it's important to know and understand these rules before signing any contracts.
Ideally, the house rules will be listed in one place. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. The house rules can be listed in:
- The bylaws of a co-op
- A co-op’s proprietary lease
- A condo's declaration of covenants
- The conditions and restriction (CC&R) of a condo
To find the exact location of the house rules of a co-op or condo ask the listing agent.
Possible House Rules
House rules can govern your conduct in common areas such as elevators and hallways, and in your own apartment. Here are a few examples of possible house rules:
- The public halls and stairways of the building shall not be obstructed or used for any reason other than ingress to and egress from the apartments in the building.
- Children are prohibited from playing in the public halls, stairways or elevators.
- No disruptive noises or objectionable odors may be produced upon or emanate from any building.
- Each Unit Owner shall keep his unit in a proper state of preservation and cleanliness.
- Each Unit Owner must obtain extermination services for the Units at such intervals necessary to maintain the Units free of rest, mice, roaches, and other vermin.
If you ever have an issue with a neighbor it is best if it is resolved civilly and quickly. If the co-op board is involved it may have the right to impose a fine. Worst case scenario if the issue is ongoing with repeated violations the board could ask you to leave the building under terms of a proprietary lease.
A co-op’s board has more power over its shareholders than a condo over its unit owners, so their house rules are generally stricter. However, this does not mean you can overlook a condos house rules. It is still important to know and comprehend a condo’s house rules before you put in a bid for a unit.
What House Rules Cannot Cover
House rules can’t be used to discriminate against an individual or a group of people. If you want to rent or buy a unit you are protected by the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act will protect you from being discriminated against due to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or the presence of children.
House rules may sound restrictive, but it is important to realize they are also protecting your rights as a neighbor. House rules are protecting your right to a clean and peaceful living environment. Every building has a different set of policies, so remember to always be familiar with the house rules before committing to any co-op or condo.
All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy. With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building and tenants.