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Dan Tiernan, COOJul 23, 20141 min read

Word of the Week - Common Area

The word this week is common area.

Condo Common AreaCommon Area(s) - The improved real property shared by the members of an association. The common areas typically include, but are not limited to, landscaped areas, driveways, clubhouse, hallways, pools and elevators.

What is NOT a common area? The owner's property. In a condo, anything inside the drywall, floorboard and ceiling typically belongs to the owner. In an HOA, anything inside the lot line typically belongs to the owner.

Why does this matter? There are a lot of laws and rules in every condo or HOA that restrict what you can and cannot do with common areas and even your own property.

It is critical that you understand what belongs to you and what belongs to the association. It can get confusing, because sometimes what you own may still be maintained by the association. For example, it is not uncommon for an association to maintain the lawns of each unit owner, particularly in a 55+ community. In a condo, it is not uncommon that an association may be responsible for pest control inside condo units, which are owned by individuals.

The key point here is NOT to assume anything. Make sure you understand your community's documents to know what you own and what the association owns and then, who is responsible to maintain it.

Legal disclaimer: I am not an attorney. This should not be considered legal advice.