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Tennessee Horizontal Property Act

/ Owner - February 22, 2013

Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-27-101


© 2012 by The State of Tennessee

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*** Current through the 2012 Regular Session ***

Title 66 Property

Chapter 27 Horizontal Property

Part 1 Horizontal Property

Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-27-101 (2012)


66-27-102.  Chapter definitions. 

(a) As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Apartment” means a part of the property subject to this chapter intended for any type of independent use, including:

(A)  (i) One (1) or more cubicles of air at one (1) or more levels of space; or

(ii) One (1) or more rooms or enclosed spaces located on one (1) or more floors, or parts thereof, in a building; or

(iii) A separate free-standing building of one (1) or more floors; and

(iv) Any part of open space upon the property clearly delineated for independent use adjacent to and in connection with the use of any of the spaces provided for in subdivisions (a)(1)(A)(i)-(iii);

All of which shall have a direct exit to a public street or highway or to a common area or limited common area leading to such street or highway;

(B) Where private elements are involved, “apartment” includes the private element;

(2) “Condominium” means the ownership of single units in a multiple unit structure or structures with common elements;

(3) “Condominium project” means a real estate condominium project; a plan or project whereby two (2) or more apartments, rooms, office spaces, or other units in existing or proposed building or buildings or structure or structures are offered or proposed to be offered for sale;

(4) “Co-owner” means a person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust or other legal entity, or any combination thereof, which owns an apartment or apartments within the building;

(5) “Council of co-owners” means all the co-owners as defined in subdivision (a)(4);

(6) “Developer” means a person who undertakes to develop a real estate condominium project;

(7) “General common elements” means and includes:

(A) The land, whether leased or in fee simple, on which the building stands;

(B) The foundations, main walls, roofs, halls, lobbies, stairways, and entrances and exits or communication ways;

(C) The basements, flat roofs, yards, and gardens, except as otherwise provided or stipulated;

(D) The premises for the lodging of janitors or persons in charge of the building, except as otherwise provided or stipulated;

(E) The compartments or installations of central services, such as power, light, gas, cold and hot water, refrigeration, reservoirs, water tanks and pumps, and the like;

(F) The elevators, garbage incinerators and, in general, all devices or installations existing for common use; and

(G) All other elements of the building rationally of common use or necessary to its existence, upkeep and safety; but where private elements are created, private elements shall not be considered to be general common elements, notwithstanding anything in this section to the contrary;

(8) “Limited common elements” means and includes those common elements which are agreed upon by all of the co-owners to be reserved for the use of a certain number of apartments to the exclusion of the other apartments, such as special corridors, stairways and elevators, sanitary services common to the apartments of a particular floor, and the like;

(9) “Majority of co-owners” means more than fifty percent (50%) of the co-owners;

(10) “Master deed” or “master lease” means the deed or lease recording the property of the horizontal property regime. A declaration will be recorded in the case where private elements are involved; the declaration shall include the covenants, conditions, restrictions and bylaws of the townhouse corporation;

(11) “Person” means an individual, firm, corporation, partnership, association, trust or other legal entity, or any combination of these;

(12) “Private elements” means and includes the lot area upon which an apartment is located and the improvements located thereon, as described in the declaration, and for which fee simple ownership and exclusive use is reserved to that apartment only. Private elements shall exist only where each apartment in the project has a ground floor and there are no apartments located above or below the private element except the one (1) apartment located thereon. Limited common elements located upon private elements shall be deemed to be private elements;

(13) “Property” means and includes the land whether leasehold or in fee simple and the building, all improvements and structures thereon and all easements, rights and appurtenances belonging to such land;

(14) “To record” means to record pursuant to the laws of the state of Tennessee relating to the recordation of deeds and other instruments conveying or affecting title to property; and

(15) “Townhouse corporation” means a not-for-profit corporation to be organized under the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation Act, compiled in title 48, chapters 51-68, of which all co-owners shall be members where private elements are involved.

(b) All pronouns used in this section include the male, female and neuter genders and include the singular or plural numbers, as the case may be.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 2; 1971, ch. 370, §§ 1, 2; 1976, ch. 642, § 1; T.C.A., § 64-2702; Acts 1990, ch. 823, §§ 1-5.

66-27-103.  Horizontal property regime — Planned unit development — Establishment. 

(a) Whenever a developer, the sole owner, or the co-owners of a building expressly declare, through the recordation of a master deed or lease, or by plat, which shall set forth the particulars enumerated by § 66-27-107, their desire to submit their property to the regime established by this chapter, there shall be thereby established a horizontal property regime.

(b) If there is substantial compliance with this chapter as pertaining to private elements, and if an appropriate legal opinion is obtained from an attorney licensed to practice law in Tennessee to the effect that all legal documents required in this chapter for the creation of a planned unit development are attached and therefore a planned unit development is created under this chapter, then a planned unit development shall be deemed to have been properly organized and constituted under Tennessee law. All planned unit developments shall require a declaration, bylaws, a plat showing private and common elements, a townhouse corporation, charter and an attorney’s opinion.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 3; T.C.A., § 64-2703; Acts 1990, ch. 823, § 6.

66-27-104.  Ownership — Building code compliance. 

(a) Once the property is submitted to the horizontal property regime, an apartment in the building may be individually conveyed and encumbered and may be the subject of ownership, possession or sale and of all types of juridic acts intervivos or mortis causa, as if it were sole and entirely independent of the other apartments in the building of which they form a part, and the corresponding individual titles and interest shall be recordable.

(b) If private elements are created, the original construction of all apartments must substantially comply with local building codes for planned unit developments, established by the appropriate local authorities for planned unit developments. If no appropriate local authority exists, then compliance must be pursuant to the southern standard building code. A certificate from a professional engineer or architect licensed to practice engineering or architecture in this state, to the effect that construction of the apartments is in substantial compliance with such code, shall be sufficient for the attorney to rely upon in giving an opinion.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 4; T.C.A., § 64-2704; Acts 1990, ch. 823, § 7.

66-27-105.  Joint ownership. 

Any apartment may be held and owned by more than one (1) person, as tenants in common, as tenants by the entirety, or in any other real estate tenancy relationship recognized under the laws of the state of Tennessee.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 5; T.C.A., § 64-2705.

66-27-106.  Owner’s rights — Exclusive and common.

(a) An apartment owner shall have an exclusive ownership to the apartment and shall have a common right to share, with other co-owners, in the common elements of the property. Each co-owner may use the elements held in common in accordance with the purpose for which they are intended.

(b) If a condominium owner is in compliance with the master deed and by-laws, the charter, and any rules and regulations of the horizontal property regime, then the council of co-owners may not deny that condominium owner use and enjoyment of the general common elements of the property.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 6; T.C.A., § 64-2706; Acts 2005, ch. 240, § 1.

66-27-107.  Recordation and contents of master deed, lease or declaration. 

(a) A master deed, or lease or declaration shall be recorded in the same manner and subject to the same provisions of law as are deeds. Plats may likewise be recorded as in the case of recordation of plats as provided by law.

(b) A master deed, or lease or declaration or the plat, or any combination of them, to which § 66-27-103 refers shall express the following particulars:

(1) The description of the land, whether leased or in fee simple, and the building, expressing their respective areas;

(2) The general description and number of each apartment, expressing its area, location and any other data necessary for its identification;

(3) The description of the general common elements of the building, and the limited common elements of the building, and the private elements of the property; and

(4) Bylaws for the administration of the building as in §§ 66-27-111 and 66-27-112 provided.

(c) The common elements, both general and limited, shall remain undivided and shall not be the object of an action for partition or division of co-ownership.

(d) The declaration shall provide that each owner of a private element shall own a pro rata share of the total membership in the townhouse corporation.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 7; T.C.A., § 64-2707; Acts 1990, ch. 823, §§ 8-10.

66-27-108.  Recordation and conveyance of apartments. 

(a) The deed of each individual apartment shall be recorded in the same manner and subject to the same provisions of law as are deeds. Likewise shall mortgages of each individual apartment be recorded subject to the provisions of law applicable to the recording of mortgages. Likewise shall other instruments conveying or affecting title to individual apartments be recorded as in the case of recording of such instruments affecting title to real property.

(b) Any conveyance of an individual apartment shall be deemed to also convey the undivided interest of the owner in the common elements, both general and limited, appertaining to that apartment without specifically or particularly referring to the same. In the case of private elements, a conveyance shall be deemed to convey the undivided membership of the private element owner in the townhouse corporation.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 8; T.C.A., § 64-2708; Acts 1990, ch. 823, § 11.

66-27-109.  Merger of filial estates with principal property. 

All of the co-owners or the sole owner of a building constituted into a horizontal property regime may by deed waive this regime and regroup or merge the records of the filial estates with the principal property; provided, that the filial estates are unencumbered, or if encumbered, that the creditors in whose behalf the encumbrances are recorded accept as security the undivided portions of the property owned by the debtors.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 9; T.C.A., § 64-2709.

66-27-110.  Horizontal property regime following merger. The merger provided for in § 66-27-109 shall in no way bar the subsequent constitution of the property into another horizontal property regime whenever so desired and upon observance of the provisions of this chapter.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 10; T.C.A., § 64-2710.

66-27-111.  Administrative bylaws recorded. 

The administration of every building constituted into horizontal property shall be governed by bylaws which shall be inserted in or appended to and recorded with the master deed or declaration, as the case may be.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 11; T.C.A., § 64-2711; Acts 1990, ch. 823, § 12.

66-27-112.  Contents of bylaws — Modification. 

(a) The bylaws must necessarily provide for at least the following:

(1) Form of administration, indicating whether this shall be in charge of an administrator or of a board of administration, or otherwise, and specifying the powers, manner of removal, and, where proper, the compensation of such administrator, board of administration, or otherwise;

(2) Method of calling or summoning the co-owners to assembly; that a majority of co-owners is required to adopt decisions; who is to preside over the meeting and who will keep the minute book wherein the resolutions shall be recorded;

(3) Care, upkeep and surveillance of the building and its general or limited common elements and services;

(4) Manner of collecting from the co-owners for the payment of the common expenses; and

(5) Designation and dismissal of the personnel necessary for the works and the general or limited common services of the building.

(b) The sole owner of the building, or if there is more than one (1), the co-owners representing two thirds (2/3) of the total apartments of the building, may at any time modify the system of administration, but each one (1) of the particulars set forth in this section shall always be embodied in the bylaws. No such modification may be operative until it is embodied in a recorded instrument which shall be recorded in the same office and in the same manner as was the master deed or lease or plat and original bylaws of the horizontal property regime involved.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 12; T.C.A., § 64-2712.

66-27-113.  Administrator’s books — Examination by co-owners. 

(a) The administrator, or the board of administration, or other form of administration specified in the bylaws, shall keep a book with a detailed account, in chronological order, of the receipts and expenditures affecting the building and its administration and specifying the maintenance and repair expenses of the common elements and any other expenses incurred.

(b) Both the book and the vouchers accrediting the entries made thereupon shall be available for examination by all the co-owners at convenient hours on working days that shall be set and announced for general knowledge.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 13; T.C.A., § 64-2713.

66-27-114.  Expenses prorated — No exemptions. 

(a) The co-owners of the apartments are bound to contribute pro rata toward the expenses of administration and of maintenance and repair of the general common elements, and, in the proper case, of the limited common elements, of the building, and toward any other expense lawfully agreed upon.

(b) No co-owner may be exempted from contributing toward the expenses in subsection (a) by waiver of the use or enjoyment of the common elements or by abandonment of the apartment belonging to that co-owner or by any other means.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 14; T.C.A., § 64-2714.

66-27-115.  Homestead provisions applicable. 

The provisions of article XI, § 11 of the Constitution of Tennessee relating to homestead and exemptions and the acts of the general assembly pertaining to or implementing the constitutional provisions shall be applicable to individual apartments which shall have the benefit of such exemptions in those cases the same as in ownership of any other property, and shall inure to the benefit of the owners of such apartments, that is to say, that individual apartments in a horizontal property regime are declared to be homesteads within the purview of article XI, § 11 of the Constitution of Tennessee.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 15; T.C.A., § 64-2715.

66-27-116.  Prorated expenses and taxes — Lien. 

The sale or conveyance of an apartment shall in all cases be subject to all unpaid assessments against the owner thereof for such owner’s pro rata share in the expenses to which § 66-27-114 refers and, if the same are not paid by the owner thereof prior to sale or conveyance, shall be a lien against the apartment and shall be paid by the new owner of the apartment. Likewise shall taxes and other levies and assessments by governmental taxing bodies be a lien against individual apartments.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 16; T.C.A., § 64-2716.

66-27-117.  Building insurance. 

The co-owners may, upon resolution of a majority, insure the building against risks, without prejudice to the right of each co-owner to insure such co-owner’s apartment on such co-owner’s own account and for co-owner’s own benefit.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 17; T.C.A., § 64-2717

66-27-118.  Reconstruction of damaged building. 

(a) In case of fire or any other disaster, the insurance indemnity shall, except as provided in subsection (b), be applied to reconstruct the building.

(b) Reconstruction shall not be compulsory where it comprises the whole or more than two thirds (2/3) of the building. In such case, and unless otherwise unanimously agreed upon by the co-owners, the indemnity shall be delivered pro rata to the co-owners entitled to it in accordance with provision made in the bylaws or in accordance with a decision of three fourths (3/4) of the co-owners if there are no bylaw provisions.

(c) Should it be proper to proceed with the reconstruction, the provisions for such eventuality made in the bylaws shall be observed, or in lieu thereof, the decision of the council of co-owners shall prevail.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 18; T.C.A., § 64-2718.

66-27-119.  Costs of reconstruction. 

(a) Where the building is not insured or where the insurance indemnity is insufficient to cover the cost of reconstruction, the new building costs shall be paid by all the co-owners directly affected by the damage, in proportion to the value of their respective apartments, or as may be provided by the bylaws; and if any one (1) or more of those composing the minority shall refuse to make such payments, the majority may proceed with the reconstruction at the expense of all the co-owners benefited thereby, upon proper resolution setting forth the circumstances of the case and the cost of the works, with the intervention of the council of co-owners.

(b) The provisions of this section may be changed by unanimous resolution of the parties concerned, adopted subsequent to the date on which the fire or other disaster occurred.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 19; T.C.A., § 64-2719.

66-27-120.  Identification of estates for taxation, residential ground rent purposes. 

(a) Taxes, assessments and other charges of any taxing unit of this state, or of any political subdivision, or any other taxing or assessing authority shall be assessed against and collected on each individual apartment, each of which shall be carried on the tax books as a separate and distinct entity for that purpose, and not on the building or property as a whole. The valuation of the general and limited common elements shall be assessed proportionately among the co-owners of the apartment. The valuation of private elements shall be assessed against the individual owner of the private elements. No forfeiture or sale of the building or property as a whole for delinquent taxes, assessments or charges shall ever divest or in anywise affect the title to an individual apartment so long as taxes, assessments and charges to that individual apartment are currently paid.

(b) When any ground lease affects the underlying land upon which a condominium project is located or is to be located, and if the ground lease so provides, then each apartment and its respective share of the common elements shall be deemed to be and shall be treated as a separate leasehold estate responsible for such taxes, assessments or other charges, as well as such apartment’s share of ground rent which might be charged under such ground lease. Such taxes, assessments and charges, as well as such pro rata share of ground rent, shall be the obligation of the respective apartment owner during such owner’s tenure as owner and shall be subject to the lien provided in § 66-27-116.

(c) If a ground lessor and a developer have entered into a ground lease of underlying land whereon the developer intends to develop a condominium project, and if the ground lease is one in which a “residential ground rent” is created under title 66, chapter 30, individual apartments and their respective pro rata or otherwise allocated share of general common elements shall be deemed to be separate leasehold estates, and the ground lessor shall agree in all such ground leases that the owners of the individual apartments shall be separate and independent obligors under such ground lease and that the default of one (1) apartment owner shall not be deemed to be a default of all apartment owners in the condominium project. Only those individual apartment owners who default on their allocated share of obligations to the ground lessor, as the same are determined in the master deed, master lease or such ground lease, shall be deemed to be in default with the ground lessor. The ground lessor’s remedies are limited to suit and satisfaction of such default from the defaulting apartment owner, the defaulting owner’s apartment, and the defaulting owner’s allocated interest in the general common elements. The only positive covenant obligations which any apartment owner shall have to the ground lessor shall be:

(1) Payment of pro rata or allocated share of ground rent; and

(2) Payment of pro rata or allocated share of real estate taxes and assessments on the underlying land. The terms and conditions of this subsection (c) shall apply only to agreements creating residential ground rents, where the land is intended by the developer to be developed into condominiums. Any other positive covenant obligations of the obligor, as defined in § 66-30-102, that arises under the ground lease shall be deemed to have been satisfied during the period of construction and development prior to the time that the ground lease allows the closing of the sale of the first apartment. If there are any negative covenant obligations under such ground lease, then they shall be enforceable only against the individual apartment owner in violation thereof and only to the extent that such obligations are reasonably the obligation of an individual apartment owner.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 20; 1980, ch. 735, § 2; T.C.A., § 64-2720; Acts 1990, ch. 823, § 13.

66-27-121.  Supplemental rules and regulations. 

Whenever they deem it proper, the planning and zoning commission of any county or municipality may adopt supplemental rules and regulations governing a horizontal property regime established under this chapter in order to implement this program.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 21; T.C.A., § 64-2721.

66-27-122.  Construction with other laws. 

The provisions of this chapter shall be in addition to and supplemental to all other provisions of other laws of Tennessee; provided, that wherever the application of the provisions of this chapter conflict with the application of such other provisions, the provisions of this chapter shall prevail.

HISTORY: Acts 1963, ch. 124, § 22; T.C.A., § 64-2722.

66-27-123.  Notice to tenant of intent to convert rental units to units for sale. 

(a) All owners or lessors of buildings, apartments, rooms, office spaces, or other units, all of which terms in this section shall be referred to as units or unit, which are presently being occupied by one (1) or more persons under a lease or other rental agreement, shall give each tenant at least two (2) months’ actual notice of such owner’s or lessor’s intent to convert such tenant’s unit from a rental unit to a condominium, condominium project or other unit which is offered or proposed to be offered for sale. The notice shall specify that the tenant has the right to continue renting such unit at the same rental rate until the expiration of the two-month notice period required by this section.

(b) No sale of a unit which was converted from a rental unit to a unit offered for sale to a person other than the tenant last renting such unit shall be valid unless such tenant has received two (2) months’ actual notice of the owner’s or lessor’s intent to convert such unit. This provision shall apply regardless of whether the tenant’s lease or other rental agreement expires prior to the end of the two-month notice period.

(c) If an owner or lessor converts a rental unit to a unit offered for sale without giving the tenant of such unit at least two (2) months’ actual notice of the conversion, such tenant may elect to remain, with or without a lease, in the unit at the same rental rate until the expiration of a two-month period from the date the tenant received such actual notice or the tenant may vacate the unit immediately upon receiving such actual notice and the owner or lessor shall pay such tenant all reasonable expenses incurred in moving to another location. If a tenant is in a position to make the election provided by this subsection (c) and does not vacate the premises immediately, the owner or lessor shall not be obligated to pay the tenant’s moving expenses. The election provided by this subsection (c) shall apply regardless of whether the tenant’s lease or other rental agreement has or would have expired prior to the end of the two-month notice period.

(d) If it is necessary for a tenant to institute a court action to enforce the provisions of this section and the tenant is the prevailing party, the court shall require the owner or lessor to reimburse the tenant for all reasonable costs incurred in bringing such action, including attorney fees, and shall tax all court costs against the owner or lessor.

(e) The provisions of this section shall apply to all units which are converted from rental units to units offered for sale on or after December 1, 1979; provided, that the provisions of this section shall apply only to Class 1 and Class 2 counties as established by § 8-24-101.

HISTORY: Acts 1979, ch. 293, §§ 1-3; T.C.A., § 64-2723.


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