What is a Condominium?
A condominium is a collective ownership in real property. Essentially you own the space in your unit while the land and amenities are owned in common.
Following are major areas you should understand about living in a condominium:
When you purchase a condominium unit, you essentially purchase an interest in an association, and you control the air space between the walls, floor and ceiling of your specific unit.
Condominium living is communal living –everyone has to live together and share the amenities such as the pool, valet parking, fitness center or garage. To make life as easy as possible most real estate bodies create an association to govern, manage and maintain the complex.
The main governing body of a condominium is the owners’ association. Every unit owner is a member of this association, which typically consists of the individual owners who elect a board of directors. The term length of board members is usually dictated in the Covent Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R). Members elect a board to avoid the problems of having to come to mutual agreement on every problem such as getting a leak fixed or what temperature to keep the pool.
Larger developments typically employ a management company to handle the daily affairs, with a representative who is the main contact for individual owners and their board of directors. This management company performs the same functions that the owners’ association would perform, simply on a larger scale.
Dues and Assessments
To pay for the cost of maintaining the complex, the owners’ association’s establishes a monthly fee structure per unit called dues. These fees pay for the day to day upkeep of the building.
In the event of emergencies that result in unexpected damage to the complex, the board may elect to pay for the cost through a special assessment. This is a one time payment to correct the condition. The cost per unit is determined by the total cost to fix the problem divided by the number of units
Everything outside your unit door is considered the common area. The CC&R dictate the rules around all common areas. The common areas include:
- Building interior and exterior - Includes the hallways and lobby, elevators drives, gardens and lawns.
- Building infrastructure - Includes the internal working of the building such as the pluming and wiring. Check with the association before doing physical reconstruction on your unit that impacts the building infrastructure .
- Amenities - Includes facilities such as the pool, tennis courts, fitness center and clubhouses.