Condos, HOAs, and Co-Ops are the three types of residential community associations:

CONDOS:  In a Condo, the individual owns:

    • His or her living unit
    • An undivided interest in the common areas and facilities of the condo
    • The condo association owns no real estate.

HOAs:  In an HOA, the individual owns:

  • His or her lot and/or living unit
  • The HOA owns the common areas and facilities.

CO-OPs:  In a Co-Op, the individual owns:

  • Stock or membership in the co-op
  • Holds a proprietary lease or occupancy agreement for his or her living unit
  • The co-op owns all real estate, including the units.

Co-ops are becoming less and less popular.  They may disappear altogether over time, so let’s just look at the difference between condos and HOAs.


Do Condos and HOAs have the same types of governing documents?

Both Condos and HOAs:

  • Governed by General State Statutes
  • Have Bylaws
  • Have Master Deed
  • Have Articles of Incorporation (if incorporated)

Condos only:

  • Governed by Specific State Statutes
  • Have Declaration of Condominium Ownership

HOAs only:

  • Defined as planned communities
  • Have Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions


Are owners’ responsibilities different in Condos and HOAs?

Yes, some are.  Based on the above definitions, some of the responsibilities of the owners and the association will differ.  Here are some of the differences:

Similarities between Condos and HOAs

  • There is a Board of Directors, elected annually by the membership.
  • Both may have committees.
  • There are Board of Directors’ and owners’ meetings.
  • Both may have rules regarding conduct and architectural changes.
  • Each has financial reporting requirements.
  • The owner assessments (maintenance fees) are established by the budget.
  • Both have bills to pay for the common services.
  • Both may employ a management company or be self-managed.
  • Each may or may not have recreational facilities.

Some of the benefits of living in a Condo

The Condo Association takes care of:

  • Landscaping, fertilization, snow removal, pest control, etc.
  • Maintenance of the building exteriors
  • Maintenance of the common roads, driveways, walkways
  • Provision for and maintenance of recreational facilities

The Board of Directors makes most of the decisions.

  • Plan social activities
  • Dispute resolution when owners infringe on each other’s rights
  • Safety of owners and residents by installation of safety systems and procedures

The Association collects the assessments (maintenance fees) and pays for the services.

  • This is similar to “budget billing”
  • Assessments (maintenance fees) are for operating, maintenance and replacement expenses.

Retiring boomers and young professionals cause condominiums and HOAs to be the fastest growing forms of residential housing in the country.  These associations have over 60 million residents, up from 2 million since 1970.  The number of these communities has risen from 10,000 in 1970 to over 305,000 in 2009.  The estimated real estate value of all homes in community associations approaches $4 trillion, approximately 20 percent of the value of all U.S. residential real estate. Associations range in size from 2 units to 20,000 units in one association.