A declaration of condominium is a legal document that proposes the governing rules for the condominium, including statements about an owners' association, the legal description of the condominium, and the nature and scope of the project that the condominium developer wants to build. Some regions refer to it as the declaration of condominium ownership or master of deed. It is often recorded and filed at the Office of Registry of Deeds or similar government agency in the region. The property laws in a region often require the filing of a declaration by the developers of a condominium, and the specific requirements for document preparation and filings are often found in the codes that pertain to condominium law. The declaration is also used as part of selling the condominium development.
Owners of other types of real estate may wish to convert their units into a condominium, or a developer may want to build one from scratch. The laws in most jurisdictions govern the conversion process or a new development, and one of the rules includes recording and filing a declaration of condominium. For example, the owner of a multi-tenant apartment building often cannot decide to turn those apartments into condos without filing a declaration and following the other mandates under the regional statutes that govern the creation and operation of condominiums.
A typical declaration often consists of several pages, full of definitions, descriptions, and rules. There are essential provisions that must be included in compliance with condominium laws, including the legal description of the unit, the purpose of the condominium development, and the identification and description of individual units. Most laws also require descriptions of the common areas and rules associated with the use and maintenance of those areas. In addition to the legal requirements for the contents of the declaration, the condominium developer is free to include any provision it wants. Once a declaration of condominium is recorded and filed, it can be amended by the developer as long as the original declaration includes a provision that explains the process of making amendments.
The laws are designed to protect home owners who are interested in purchasing a unit in the proposed development by giving them as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Prospective condo buyers may find the declaration helpful, especially in cases where nothing is built yet. They can obtain information about the minimum size of each unit and information about the owners' association to which they would belong.