A title examiner may presume that a common interest community exists if real estate is described in a declaration with respect to which a person, by virtue of the person’s ownership of a unit, is obligated to pay for a share of real estate taxes on, insurance premiums, maintenance, or improvement of, or services or other expenses related to common elements, other units, or other real estate other than that unit described in the declaration.
If there are no common elements in a development project, then a common interest community does not exist and a Declaration conforming with VCIOA is not required. Similarly, cost-sharing agreements associated with a party-wall, driveway, well or other similar uses also does not create a common interest community unless otherwise agreed upon.
Comment 1. A common interest community must then be designated as a condominium (common elements owned in percentages by unit owners) or planned community (common elements owned by an association). In contrast, prior to VCIOA, under Condominium Ownership Act (COA) the only ownership form available was a condominium.
Comment 2. For examples of ownership interests that are not common interest communities, see 27A V.S.A. §1-211.
Comment 3. A subdivision governed by local and/or state permitting requirements does not create a common interest community under VCIOA if there are no common elements.
Comment 4. For information distinguishing components of a common interest community, see 27A V.S.A. §1-103 Definitions:
Allocated interests by 27A V.S.A. §1-103(2)(A) & (B);
Common elements by 27A V.S.A. §1-103(4)(A) & (B).
Comment 5. In addition, a condominium only, and not a planned community, is governed by 27A V.S.A. §2-101(b) Creation of common interest communities, which requires all structural components and mechanical systems of all building containing or comprising any units created by a condominium declaration to be substantially completed in accordance with the plans as evidenced by a recorded certificate of completion. Evidence of substantial completion can also be accomplished by a Certificate of Occupancy issued for a Unit. See 27A V.S.A. §2-101, Comment 8.
Comment 6. COA provided for two types of property rights: (a) a unit in a condominium; or (b) a site in a mobile home park that has been converted to a condominium form of ownership.
September 2022: Standard added.