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The Condominium Form of Ownership Explained

A "condominium" is a special form of property ownership which is created and governed in Oregon by statute (ORS 100.005 to 100.910 and 100.990), known as the "Oregon Condominium Act."  A typical condominium is a combination of two kinds of ownership.  The owner of a condominium unit holds title to his individual unit together with an undivided interest in common with all unit owners in the "common elements," that is, the land and those parts of the building or buildings intended for common use such as the foundations, framing, siding, roofs, stairways, utility services and the like, and may also include other facilities intended to be used by all unit owners such as landscaping and parking areas.  Each unit owner is entitled to the exclusive ownership and possession of his unit.  The undivided interest in the common elements is inseparable from the ownership of the individual unit.
A condominium is created by recording a condominium declaration in the office of the recording officer of the county in which the property is located.  A plat of the property showing the vertical and horizontal boundaries of each unit in a building including unit designation, location and dimensions of each unit and the common elements to which each has access, as well as a copy of the bylaws must be recorded simultaneously with the declaration.
The Oregon Condominium Act, the declaration and the bylaws control the rights and obligations of the unit owners with respect to each other, the common elements and their respective units.  The provisions of these documents are intended to be, and in most cases are, enforceable in a court of law.  The Oregon Condominium Act requires that the condominium association be organized to serve as a means through which the unit owners may take action with regard to the administration, management and operation of the condominium.  Each unit owner is automatically a member of the association. 
A condominium may have residential or commercial units or both (mixed-use).  A condominium may be new construction or an existing building may be converted to the condominium form of ownership.  Condominium conversions require the developer to follow statutory procedures under the Oregon Condominium Act that protect the rights of existing tenants, in addition to the complying with the Landlord Tenant Act under ORS Chapter 90.
Under the Oregon Condominium Act, the developer must provide residential purchasers with a condominium disclosure statement and a unit sales agreement, in addition to a number of other documents.  In addition to statutory provisions under the Act, sales of condominiums are also governed by the Real Estate Licensing statutes under ORS Chapter 696 and the Conveyancing statutes under ORS Chapter 93.
The State of Oregon Real Estate Agency reviews and approves all condominiums.  A condominium filing with the state is extensive and includes, but is not limited to, the following documents:  declaration, bylaws, disclosure statement, unit sales agreement, title report, condominium filing forms and a plat.  The county in which the property is located also reviews and approves the plat and approves the declaration for conformance to the plat.
Due to the legal complexity of a condominium filing, these documents are typically filed by experienced condominium attorneys. All filings, documents, and payments must be submitted electronically via eLicense.
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