Condo owners love the fact that their maintenance costs are brought down to a minimum. Instead of being in charge of upkeep for the whole building, each unit owner simply pays a modest fee to the condo association every month. The majority of aspects they are personally responsible for maintaining lie within the four walls of their unit.
Understanding what separates your responsibilities from the condo associations is important, though. While each owner agreement is different, the condominium buildings are usually broken down into three main elements:
- Common elements
- Limited common elements
A common element is any part of the building used by all of the unit owners. Examples include:
- The roof
- Mechanical systems like elevators or central air
- The building’s entrance
Features such as these will be handled directly by the condo association. They will have scheduled maintenance for each one. They will contract any necessary repairs or replacements on the residents’ behalf.
Units are the actual part of the building that each resident owns. A unit is defined as the sum of elements that only benefit that particular owner. Inside of the units, nearly everything is the owner’s responsibility, including:
- Wall materials like drywall, plaster or wallpaper
- Windows and frames
Materials and components such as these must be maintained or replaced by the owner at their own discretion.
Some condos have rules governing types of renovations you can perform or certain standards you must uphold. Outside of these stipulations, nearly anything you say concerning your property goes.
Limited Common Elements
These components are where ownership gets tricky. Limited common elements are defined as aspects existing outside of the owner’s unit that are exclusively used by that one owner or a small group of owners.
The types of components that make up limited common elements vary according to the condo association’s declaration, but they generally include:
- Porches and awnings
- Driveways leading to one unit
Owners benefitting from limited common elements may share a more direct financial burden for these aspects. Even so, the condo association will still take care of all the maintenance and care for limited common elements. The association must also obtain the owner’s permission before entering their unit or setting foot on their exclusive property to repair or evaluate limited common elements.
Fully understanding who is responsible for what requires careful examination of your condo’s owner’s agreement. A board member of the condo association will gladly answer any questions you may have in most cases.
To learn more about the life for condo owners, take a look at our buyer’s page. We can assist you in interpreting typical owner agreements and comparing terms to other UBC condos for sale in the area.