Home Buying in 33446>Question Details

Disneygranny, Home Buyer in 33446

what is the difference between common elements and limited common elements and who pays for repairs to them?

Asked by Disneygranny, 33446 Mon Apr 19, 2010

Who is responsible for wiring, drywall, plumbing etc...

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Disney Granny,

In a condominium, individual owners own the airspace within their common walls and everything inside this space. Everything else in the development is typically owned in common with the other owners and these are what are known as common elements. In many projects there are other spaces outside of the unit like an assigned parking space or storage locker that may benefit only a specific owner and these are known as limited common elements.

I hope this information is of help but if I can provide any further clarification please feel free to contact me.

Always at Your Service,

Tom Priester e-PRO
"Results Driven Real Estate"

Keller Williams Realty of Jupiter
561 308-0175
Web Reference: http://www.tompriester.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 20, 2010
Both Joan and Patrick make good points.

It all depends on your condo documents. But usually--in general--a common element is something that is used by all residents. The lobby of a building, for example. Or the roof. Or the elevator.

A limited common element is a common element that serves only a single unit. The condo association is responsible for repairs to limited common elements.

It's interesting you raise the issue of wiring and plumbing. A number of years ago, I owned a condo and had an electrical problem; the switch in the electrical panel in the basement that served only my unit failed. According to the condo documents, that was a limited common element. The condo refused to pay, saying that it was my responsibility. I sued in small claims court and won.

Plumbing would be a similar issue.

Again, it really depends on your condo documents. But often any wiring or plumbing outside of the 4 walls of your unit but serving your unit would be a limit common element.

However, if you have a situation where there appears to be a limited common element that needs to be repaired or replaced, be careful how you deal with the condo association. In another condo I lived in, a friend of mine had a plumbing problem. Again, limited common element. The pipe served only his unit, but it was in the wall. However, he decided simply to stop paying his condo fees. Bad move. Though he was correct that it was the condo association's responsibility to repair the pipe, he had the legal obligation to pay his condo fees. The whole situation escalated, and my friend lost both of his condos when the condo association came after him for unpaid fees. Plus, of course, massive court and legal costs, interest, penalties, etc.

In my situation with the electrical problem, I paid (reluctantly) an electrician to fix the problem. I continued paying my condo fees. And I sued.

So, you can be in the "right" as to what constitutes a limited common element, but can still be a victim of the condo association.

So, read all the condo documents to find out who legally is responsible. Then take the appropriate steps to make sure the proper party pays.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 19, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Usually limited common elements refer to areas that are restricted to the building owner where as common elements are used by all. Limited common elements would be the building owners responsibility. All unit owners would share in common elements and is usually included in your HOA assessments.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 19, 2010
You should consult (or better yet have an attorney review) the Articles of Declaration for the condo you are considering buying to see what that particular condo association identifies as what is ltd and what is common. For instance, a parking space or a patio in one condo may be common in one condo but in another it is classified as ltd.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 19, 2010
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