How to Form a Condo Association

Make sure your condo association is properly established.
Make sure your condo association is properly established. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you own a unit in a shared building with common space, it may be a good idea to form a condo association. This can be a vehicle for ensuring the upkeep of shared amenities, and it can also help with resolving neighbor disputes and making decisions about common repairs. It’s important to form your association as a proper legal entity, so that it has the authority to make decisions on behalf of all owners in the building.

Consult with a local real estate attorney. If someone in your building has corporate or legal expertise you could tap their knowledge, but it’s often a good idea to have an independent expert help you with the initial formation and the filing of paperwork for the association. Each state has its own laws governing the operation of condo associations, and you should be sure yours complies with those requirements.

Contact everyone in the building to notify them of your intentions. Try to speak personally to every owner to gain maximum participation and cooperation.

Appoint officers for the association. It’s usually a good idea to have one person chair the association, to give proper direction, and to have them supported by a board of willing volunteers. One other owner should serve as secretary to record all of your business at official meetings.

Choose a name for the association. This will be used in all your official paperwork filings, so you will need to do this at the beginning of the process.

Contact your state’s corporate filing office. In most locations this is the Secretary of the State’s office. Ask what paperwork you must complete to file articles of incorporation for your association. This will vary by state.

Complete the requisite paperwork, and file it with the office along with the incorporation fee.

Hold an initial meeting of the board of directors. This will have three aims: to formulate a set of goals for the association, deciding what areas of concern you wish to tackle; to formulate proposed bylaws for the association; and to calculate proposed annual fees.

Hold a meeting of your association. This should be attended by as many owners as possible, so make sure it’s at a convenient time and place for most people. Present your goals, proposed bylaws and fees, and have all of the owners vote on what they wish to adopt.

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