There's typically a variety of rules and regulations to protect the owners of condominiums, as well as condo associations and local governments. In Virginia, a condominium bylaw was passed that covers a variety of legal topics, from insurance to taxation to eminent domain. Be sure you understand these laws before you move into a condo in the Old Dominion state.
Assessments and Taxation
The Virginia Condominium bylaw states that each condominium serves as an individual parcel of real estate. If an owner owns multiple units, they will be separated, assessed and taxed accordingly. If a piece of land adjacent to a condominium unit is built, it too is assessed and taxed individually.
The condominium owners' association or managing agent may be required to obtain a casualty policy for fire and full replacement value if a fire occurs. The bylaw may require a master liability policy covering condominium associations, managing agents and unit owners. Managing agents may be required to have worker's compensation insurance and insurance on motor vehicles. Deductibles on an insurance policy must be paid by the condominium association or managing unit if damage occurs in a common area (a stairwell or swimming pool, for example) or by the owner of a unit if he was responsible for damage in his own unit.
An expansion of condominium units can occur only if there is an amendment of declaration by the owner or renter to the respective municipality. This amendment should include a legal description of details and boundaries for the expansion.
Virginia bylaw states that a condominium unit owner can make alterations or improvements within the condominium unit. However, the changes can be made only if they don't impair the structure's integrity or affect the condominium's support structure. A unit owner can't make any changes that affect the exterior appearance of the condominium. If the unit owner possesses two condominiums side by side, she can remove the partition between the two units to create doorways or walkways.