articles by Barry A. Ross

What is the difference between a Community Apartment Project, a Condominium Project, a Planned Development, and a Stock Cooperative?

While all four are common interest developments, there are differences among them that are key.

A community apartment project is a development in which an undivided interest in land is coupled with the right of exclusive occupancy of any housing unit located on the land.

A condominium project is an undivided interest in common in a portion of real property, coupled with a separate interest in space called a “unit,” the boundaries of which are described on a recorded document in sufficient detail to locate all boundaries.

A planned development is a development (other than community apartment project, a condominium project or a stock cooperative) having either or both of the following features: (1) the common area is owned either by an association or in common by the owners of the separate interest who possess pertinent rights to the beneficial use and enjoyment of the common area; (2) a power exists in the association to enforce an obligation of an owner of a separate interest with respect to the beneficial use and enjoyment of the common area by means of an assessment which may become a lien on the separate interest.

A stock cooperative is a development in which a corporation is formed primarily for the purpose of holding title to, either in fee simple or for a term of years to improved real property, and all or substantially all of the shareholders of the corporation receive a right of exclusive occupancy in a portion of the real property, title to which is held by the corporation. The owner’s interest in the corporation is usually evidenced by a share of stock or a certificate of membership. See also: Golden Rain Foundation v. Franz (2008) 163 Cal. App. 4th 1141, where apartments were found to be a common interest development; Tract 19051 Homeowners Association v. Kemp (2015) 60 Cal. App. 4th 1135, where development was found to not be a common interest development, distinguishing Mount Olympus Property Owners Association v. Shpirt (1998) 59 Cal. App.4th 885, regarding award of attorneys fees (“Yes” in Tract 19051, “No” in Mount Olympus).