Understanding Rights & Responsibilities Concerning Common Area That is Designed for Use by a Limited Number of Homeowners

A source of considerable confusion and disputes between homeowners and their homeowners association (HOA) involves issues pertaining to those portions of the common area that are designed for use by less than all of the homeowners. Most common interest developments, and particularly condominiums, are constructed with certain portions of the property that are physically located outside the boundaries of the unit or separate interest owned by the homeowner, but which were clearly intended by the developer for use and enjoyment by one (or some, but not all) unit(s). Such areas are commonly known by terms such as “limited common elements,” or “exclusive use common area.” Examples include areas such as parking spaces, patios, stairways, hallways, decks, and entry doors. In some instances, fixtures such as plumbing pipes, water heaters, or air conditioning equipment are included.

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