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What is the coam law in Georgia?

The coam law in Georgia refers to the state’s regulations regarding condominium and apartment management. Coam stands for “condominium and apartment management.” Georgia’s coam law provides guidelines for the creation, management, and dissolution of condominium and apartment communities within the state.

The coam law in Georgia is contained in Title 44, Chapter 3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.). This portion of Georgia statutes deals with property in general, including regulations for condominiums and apartments. The coam law addresses issues such as:

  • Creation of condominiums and apartments
  • Governance of condominium and apartment associations
  • Rights and responsibilities of unit owners
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Insurance requirements
  • Dispute resolution
  • Dissolution of condominiums and apartments

The purpose of Georgia’s coam law is to provide a clear legal framework for establishing and operating condominiums and apartments in the state. By creating standards and procedures, the law aims to protect the interests of both property owners and residents.

What is a Condominium?

Before diving into Georgia’s specific coam regulations, it helps to understand what constitutes a condominium. Under Georgia law, a condominium is a form of real estate ownership in which individuals each own a private unit, plus an undivided interest in common elements.

Common elements are portions of the property shared by all owners, such as:

  • Land
  • Foundations
  • Main walls and roofs
  • Hallways
  • Recreational facilities
  • Parking areas

So while an owner has exclusive rights to their individual unit, they also co-own community amenities with their neighbors. This arrangement enables condo living with shared maintenance responsibilities.

Condominium Creation Requirements

In Georgia, developers looking to establish a condominium must adhere to several legal requirements laid out in the coam law. The first step is creating and recording a Declaration of Condominium in the land records of the county where the property is located. This document must contain specific information, including:

  • A legal description of the land and all improvements on the property
  • An inventory of condominium units, their location, dimensions, square footage, and access points
  • A description of all common elements and their intended use
  • Bylaws governing the administration of the condominium
  • Procedures for determining each unit’s percentage ownership in common elements

Developers must also prepare and file condominium plats and plans with the county. Plats are essentially maps showing the boundaries and location of each unit. Plans provide a graphic representation of the buildings, floor levels, and other physical details.

Condominium Association Formation

In addition to documentation requirements, Georgia law mandates that developers establish a condominium association before selling any units. All owners are automatically members of the association, which serves as the governing body.

Associations address issues such as:

  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Insurance coverage
  • Financial management
  • Unit access regulation
  • Enforcement of bylaws

By participating in their condo association, owners gain a voice in community affairs while ensuring shared obligations are met.

Apartment Communities vs. Condominiums

In Georgia, apartments operate under the same coam regulations as condominiums in many respects. However, there are some key differences between these types of communities:

Apartment Communities Condominiums
Owned by single entity or various landlords Individually owned units plus co-owned common elements
Lease agreements with tenants Direct ownership interest for unit owners
Transient resident population More permanent resident population
Landlord handles exterior maintenance and repairs Homeowners association handles maintenance and repairs

While apartments involve tenants renting from a landlord, condominiums operate as a community jointly owned by its residents. However, apartments still require association governance and coam regulations provide the framework.

Apartment Community Association Requirements

Under Georgia law, apartment communities with 10 or more units must establish an association before the first rental occurs. These associations serve to:

  • Manage common elements and amenities
  • Maintain insurance coverage
  • Administer leases and handle tenant issues
  • Enforce community rules and renter responsibilities
  • Oversee financial accounts

Association boards are elected by members, which may include apartment owners, landlords, and sometimes renters. Georgia coam regulations require apartment associations to hold open meetings, provide access to records, and operate democratically for the benefit of residents.

Apartment Community Bylaws

Like condominiums, apartment communities must establish bylaws to govern their association. Under Georgia law, these bylaws must contain certain provisions, such as:

  • Procedures for calling and conducting meetings
  • Qualifications and election process for board members
  • Powers and duties of the association
  • Maintenance and repair obligations
  • The method for collecting assessments and fees
  • Procedures for imposing fines or penalties

Following proper bylaw procedures and protocols helps apartment associations operate efficiently and transparently.

Rights and Responsibilities of Community Members

Georgia’s coam law also outlines the rights and responsibilities that come with living in a condominium or apartment community. These include:


  • Voting on association matters
  • Serving on the community board
  • Fair treatment under the bylaws and covenants
  • Access to association records
  • Use of common areas and amenities
  • Peaceful enjoyment of one’s unit


  • Paying assessments and fees
  • Maintaining personal liability and property insurance
  • Notifying the association before leasing or selling units
  • Complying with bylaws, covenants, and community rules
  • Avoiding activities that disturb neighbors
  • Maintaining exclusive-use areas in good condition

Striking a balance between individual and collective rights is key for community living. Georgia’s coam law helps establish this equilibrium within condominiums and apartments.

Association Governance Standards

To protect owners and residents, Georgia imposes governance standards that community associations must follow. For example, board members owe fiduciary duties to their fellow members. This requires acting in good faith and exercising reasonable care in decision-making.

Other governance standards under state law include:

  • Holding open board elections each year
  • Allowing all members fair participation at member meetings
  • Providing proper notice of meetings and votes
  • Collecting assessments equitably and spending funds responsibly
  • Establishing fair processes for imposing fees, fines, and suspensions of privileges
  • Operating transparently by providing access to records

Associations that fail to meet these state governance standards can face civil suits or regulatory penalties.

Association Records Requirements

As part of its good governance mandate, Georgia requires that associations maintain various records and make them available to members upon request. These include:

  • Bylaws, covenants, and rules
  • Association certificates of incorporation
  • Financial statements and budgets
  • Board meeting minutes
  • Owner/resident contact information
  • Contracts and leases
  • Insurance information

By opening records to public scrutiny, associations demonstrate transparency and accountability. Georgia law also permits associations to charge reasonable fees for copying and producing requested documents.

Maintenance, Repairs, and Improvements

A major responsibility of condo and apartment associations is overseeing maintenance, repairs, and improvements to the property. Georgia coam regulations address various aspects of this duty.

Maintenance Responsibilities

Community associations are tasked with maintaining and repairing common elements. This includes amenities, facilities, and structural components like roofs, stairs, and exterior walls. Owners are responsible for maintenance and repairs within their individual units.

Funding Repairs and Improvements

Associations often need to collect special assessments from owners to fund major repairs or improvements. Georgia law requires member approval for these assessments if they exceed certain thresholds:

  • Over 10% of the annual budget – majority approval
  • Over 25% of the annual budget – 2/3 approval
  • Over 100% of the annual budget – 80% approval

These voting rules aim to protect owners from excessive fees when boards pursue major projects.

Alteration of Units and Common Elements

Owners can generally make interior improvements and alterations within their units. However, they must submit architectural plans and gain board approval before doing projects that impact the exterior or structural integrity. Owners may not alter common elements in any way without association consent.

Insurance Requirements

Maintaining adequate insurance is a crucial duty for community associations. Georgia’s coam law establishes several insurance requirements:

  • Property insurance – Associations must purchase blanket property coverage for all common elements, generally equal to full replacement cost.
  • General liability insurance – Minimum $1 million coverage for bodily injury and property damage per occurrence.
  • Crime coverage – For associations handling over $150,000 annually.
  • Fidelity bonds – For theft or dishonesty by officers or directors.
  • Flood insurance – If required under federal law.
  • Worker’s compensation – For employees.

Associations must inform owners annually about insurance coverage details. Owners also need their own HO-6 policy to cover interior unit risks.

Damage & Reconstruction

If major damage impacts the habitability of over 50% of the units, Georgia law opens a 180-day window where owners can vote to terminate rather than rebuild. This ensures owners are not forced to reconstruct against their wishes.

Dispute Resolution

Despite best intentions, disagreements and disputes occasionally arise within community associations. Georgia’s coam law provides options for conflict resolution, including:

  • Mediation – Associations may require mediation before an owner files a lawsuit against the association, board, or other members.
  • Arbitration – For certain disputes, the law permits pre-litigation mandatory binding arbitration if agreed to in the bylaws.
  • Litigation – If disputes cannot be resolved informally, owners can file lawsuits against associations and vice versa.

The goal is to encourage less adversarial solutions, but provide a path to litigation when needed.

Judicial Enforcement

If associations violate aspects of the coam law, Georgia courts have broad power to enforce compliance. Possible remedies include:

  • Imposing temporary restraining orders
  • Removing and replacing board members
  • Requiring production of records
  • Reversing illegal actions
  • Awarding monetary damages
  • Imposing equitable relief

Judicial enforcement helps keep associations accountable under the law.

Dissolution of Condominiums and Apartments

In certain rare circumstances, condominium communities or apartment complexes may undergo dissolution – meaning termination of co-ownership or rental arrangements. Under Georgia law, this requires approval of at least 80% of owners/members.

Reasons dissolution might occur include:

  • Extensive damage from disasters, accidents, or deterioration
  • Prohibitive repair costs
  • Substantial changes making restoration infeasible
  • Other conditions rendering continuance legally impossible or impractical

Upon dissolution, the association oversees sale of the property, payment of debts, and distribution of net proceeds to owners in proportion to their interests.


Georgia’s coam law provides a legal framework governing key aspects of condominium and apartment communities across the state. By establishing rights, responsibilities, and protocols, the law aims to protect owners, residents, associations, and developers when disputes arise.

While coam regulations contain intricate legal details, their ultimate purpose is promoting safe, well-maintained, and financially secure shared living environments. For most community associations and their members, adhering to Georgia’s coam statutes helps facilitate peaceful and enjoyable condominium and apartment living.