Limited Common Elements

Absolute Advantage

What are the limited common elements?

The limited common elements are the properties of a condominium unit which are allocated to them, but which are considered to belong to the community association of co-owners and not to the tenant.

Key points to remember

  • The limited common elements are the properties of a condo that are allocated to the unit, but considered to be a community property and not that of the tenant.
  • Examples of limited common elements include windows, balconies, walkways, elevators, pavilions and swimming pools.
  • The laws governing limited common elements may vary from state to state.

Understand limited common elements

Limited common elements are defined as those aspects of a shared condominium building that are part of a condominium building, but which are not considered to be the exclusive property of the tenant. Limited common elements may include elements that are directly connected to individual condominiums such as exterior doors, windows and balconies. They may also include amenities that serve all residents of the community such as driveways, garages, elevators, pavilions, swimming pools and boat slides.

Reporting documents define what is classified as limited common elements.

In most cases, the declaration of co-ownership document will specify the aspects and amenities that are considered limited common elements and which are the property of the owner of the co-ownership. The declaration will also delimit the responsibilities of the owner of the unit regarding maintenance, repair and replacement of limited common elements.

Usually, the maintenance of the limited common elements remains the responsibility of the community association, unless otherwise stated in the declaration. In cases where the declaration does not specify it, it is generally accepted that the responsibility for maintaining these elements lies with the community association. As in all these cases, in case of doubt, legal advice is justified.

Special considerations

The laws and regulations governing condominiums and similar planned communities, including how they regulate common elements, vary from state to state. Over the years, many states have passed similar legislation. However, some states and jurisdictions do not allow the implementation of such legislation.

The Uniform Condominium Act (UCA) was established in 1980 to create and govern condominium associations. Fourteen states have passed this law, including Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

The Uniform Law on Ownership of Common Interests (UCIOA) was created in 1982 as a set of statewide regulations for the management of condominiums, planned communities and real estate co-operatives. Six states enacted these regulations in 1982, including Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Nevada, and West Virginia. UCIOA revisions were adopted by Connecticut, Delaware and Vermont in the following years.

In addition, Pennsylvania has adopted the Uniform Planned Community Act (UPCA), which governs the creation and management of planned communities. Virginia adopted the Uniform Law on Real Estate Cooperatives (MRECA) as a companion of the UCA in order to govern the creation, financing and management of real estate cooperatives.

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