Common elements generally refer to areas in a condo complex that are shared by the owners. Condo fees often cover the maintenance of these area, such as driveways, hallways, party rooms, swimming pools. etc. Rules regarding the use of these space, i.e. a party room, are included in the condo’s list of rules.
Many first time condo owners are surprised by the restrictions/rules when they move into their new homes. One item that can be particularly confusing is the exclusive use common elements. These are usually areas exterior to the unit and can include things like balconies, patios, parking spaces and lockers. The purchase of your unit means only you can use the space, but it is not included on title.
Often there are rules governing the use of your exclusive space. One example is an exclusive use patio where the condo corp is responsible for the maintenance of the exterior patio stones. If the owner replaces the patio stones, the condo corp no longer accepts responsibility for them, and if they break, they become the responsibility of the individual condo owner to replace or repair. It’s also quite normal to have restrictions on exclusive use balconies. The condo corp will maintain the balcony, but certain additions or renovations may not be permitted. It’s important to understand the do’s and don’t’s of your exclusive use common element space.