The difference between a Co-op and a Condo

A Guide for the Co-op Neophyte


In a co-op, owners hold stock in a corporation and have proprietary leases that permit them to live in their apartments. In a condo, residents own their units and share ownership of common facilities.

The biggest difference, from a buyer’s perspective, “is the lack of the right of alienation,” said Neil B. Garfinkel, a partner with the law firm Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson. That’s the legal term for being able to rent or sell your property to whomever you choose. In a co-op, the board of directors has the right to turn down a buyer for any reason except those deemed discriminatory under fair-housing laws.

“Co-ops have always had the ability to reject,” Mr. Garfinkel said, “and the largest reason they would reject would be based on financial considerations. They never changed that, even in the crazy days of 110 percent financing. So, anecdotally at least, there have been significantly less defaults in the co-op marketplace.”

Comment: I think some of the 55+ units in the Twin Cities are Co-ops. Wiki on with more info.


  1. As a condo owner, I would stay away from co-ops. One, it makes it the buying process much more complicated and two, it makes the selling and renting process more complicated. There is nothing better than having the freedom to sell and rent to whomever you want, as long as they can afford it. In a co-op, you may find yourself sitting on a property with no choices as the co-op rules the roost.

  2. Very informative post! Thanks for sharing The difference between a Co-op and a Condo. I've learned a lot.



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