How is homeownership legally structured? Do I own my own unit?
Legally, Washington Village is structured as a condominium association, with a Condominium Declaration (sometimes referred to as CC&Rs) that is fully compliant with the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA). You will own your own unit, plus an undivided share of all common areas within the property. Units cannot be separated from the Condo Association.
You own your unit "from drywall in".
You would be responsible for your own property taxes, and for paying monthly HOA assessments, which covers such things as the association's master insurance policy premiums, property management, grounds maintenance, maintaining the common spaces, and building a reserve funds account for periodic major expenses, such as exterior painting and roof replacement, when needed. Units in multi-family buildings may also have an additional assessment for shared building operating expenses.
What if I have (or want) to move out of the community and sell my unit?
It's your home and you may sell it at any time to whomever you please, subject to the usual real estate laws and fair housing regulations. The new owner becomes part of the HOA and is only required to abide by the HOA's rules and regulations. In the event that a community member decides to sell, most cohousing communities want to facilitate the sale by attracting by buyers who will be good members of the community. Also, as soon as all of our units are sold, Washington Village will establish and maintain a waiting list of potential buyers. So, when a member needs to sell, there will be a group of interested buyers to work with.
What about property taxes?
Each unit owner is responsible for paying the property tax on their unit to Boulder County based on the assessed value of your property. The developer can provide an estimate of property taxes for each unit. The HOA does not have any property tax obligation.
What is the percentage of owner-occupied units?
Because people who buy into cohousing communities typically have a strong interest in participating in the community, cohousing properties usually have a very high, if not 100% owner occupancy rate. This adds value to the property, because owners typically have a stronger commitment to the upkeep and value of their property. It also contributes to the stability of relationships in the community.
How often do units change owners?
Cohousing developments typically have a much lower turnover rate than most condominium developments. Once our development is fully occupied, prospective buyers may have to wait a long time to purchase their choice unit.
What if I'm only in Boulder for half the year? Can I rent my unit?
Yes, but we would prefer that members use their unit as a primary residence. There is nothing in our Condo Declaration that prevents owners from renting their unit, and most members recognize that there are occasionally times when it makes sense for owners to rent. However, our fundamental interest lies in building community, and it's hard to do that with part-time or transient residents. Therefore, Washington Village members are working to attract buyers who plan to live in their unit. The community is also working to define a Rental Agreement, which will establish community expectations regarding how often and how long units can be rented, and possibly set limits regarding the number of units that can be rented at any given time. If you will only be around part time and plan to rent your unit when you're gone, Washington Village is probably not a good fit for you.
Can I rent space in my unit?
Yes, as long as your adhere to the City of Boulder's regulations regarding occupancy of single-family residences. That means that you can legally have up to 3 different family names living in the same residence. However, the Condo Declaration does not allow you to rent your unit to transient occupants. In other words, you can't run your unit as an Air B&B.
Who owns the land?
Each unit owner fully owns the interior of his/her unit (sometimes referred to as "drywall in") plus an undivided interest in the land on which the unit is situated. The Common Area and Limited Common Areas are owned (and insured) by the homeowner's association, which includes all unit owners. When you sell your unit, it must be sold as a unit within the Washington Village Community Association.
How does property insurance work?
The HOA is required to maintain a master insurance policy to cover the entire property, all common space, and the exterior of all units. In addition to standard causes for property damage and loss, our policy includes coverage for liability, accidental injury, hail and wind damage. Unit owners - even those owning single-family homes - are advised to obtain a condo insurance policy that insures their personal property and dwelling from the "drywall in", as well as any exterior enhancements to their unit, such as solar panels. If, for example, your house burns to the ground, the master policy replaces the structure, windows, and drywall. Your "condo" policy would need to cover replacement of all interior finishes, such as flooring, trim, paint, fixtures, tile, cabinets and counters, as well as your furnishings and personal belongings.
Do I own my own patio/porch/balcony?
Technically, no. Those areas are designated as "limited common elements" so the association can have access to those areas for maintenance and repair purposes (e.g. exterior painting). However, you DO have exclusive use of any patio area, porch, or balcony attached to your unit. You are also responsible for basic maintenance of those areas, such as leaf and snow removal. You may make improvements (e.g. planter pots, seating) to these areas, but any permanent structural changes are expected to undergo a Design Review process to ensure that any additions or changes are structurally sound and consistent with the standards of the overall design of the community.
Do I have my own kitchen and laundry?
Yes. Each home has a full kitchen, including stove and dishwasher, a dining area, living room, and one or more bedrooms and bathrooms. Every home has its own washer and dryer hookups for private laundry facilities, but you also have the option to use the common laundry facilities. You can also reserve the community kitchen and dining room for private events that you host.
Can I make changes to my unit?
Interior changes are only restricted to the degree that they may impact other unit owners. Owners are encouraged to communicate with their neighbors regarding any noise or construction mess that would impact other members. You are required to submit plans for any exterior changes to the Building Team so they can be reviewed for both structural integrity, and to ensure that we maintain a constant appearance for the community as a whole.
Do I have assigned parking?
Yes. Some units have attached garages. Others come with at least one space assigned in the garage under the Broadway building. A community member has stepped up to take on the role of assigning spots in the parking structure.
Can I have pets?
Washington Village has a Pet Agreement that allows unit owners to have up to two dogs, and other animals, such as cats, as indoor pets. Dog owners are expected to comply with Boulder's dog regulations, which includes keeping dogs on a leash outside the home and cleaning up after your dog. There is also the expectation that owners will keep their pets from using common lawn areas from relieving themselves.