Condominium Conversion of Residential Rental Units: A Proposal for State Regulation and a Model Act

This Article has several objectives. Part I provides a foundation for discussion by briefly outlining the relationship between the recent history of the rental housing market and those factors prompting the conversion of apartments to condominium status. With this background information, the relevance of conversion legislation is more readily grasped. Part II seeks to establish that state government is the appropriate governmental entity to formulate legislation intended to protect individuals affected by the conversion of rental units. Federal legislation has addressed this specific issue in the relatively unknown Condominium and Cooperative Conversion Protection and Abuse Relief Act of 1980. In this Act, Congress acknowledged the need for some control over the conversion process, but concluded that state and local governments already had significant regulatory authority and were the more appropriate bodies to exercise this power. Part II argues that state government regulation of condominium conversion should preempt municipalities from similar involvement. Part III reviews case law and highlights certain features of current state and local legislation. It also attempts to establish the constitutional limits of appropriate state and local conversion controls. Part IV offers a Model Act that a state legislature may consider for adoption. The model legislation is partially comprised of provisions culled from existing state statutes, local ordinances, and the Uniform Condominium Act. The proposed legislation is also, however, directed toward issues that have been inadequately treated or ignored by current laws. Part V presents an extended commentary on the Model Act. In this way, the Article offers a framework within which a state legislature may formulate appropriate legislation in the field of condominium conversion law.