Typically, common items or common locations are specified widely. They include facilities or areas that are available to all homeowners who pay their dues and live in the development. Park space, pools and beach areas, walking walks, sporting courts and fields, and clubhouses or pavilions are some examples. These are called common areas.
The degree to which a community shares resources is reflected in its division system. A house divided into units does not provide each unit with its own separate living environment; rather, it provides only limited shared access to certain common areas. The more common elements that are shared by multiple owners, the less individual ownership of these elements exists. At the other end of the spectrum, a single-family home built on a large lot will have fewer shared resources than a multiunit building. The size of the property and number of dwelling units determine how much interaction there is between owners/renters.
In suburban developments where homes are attached to one another, with no independent land titles, the common areas are generally those that affect the entire subdivision. This may include parks, recreation centers, pool halls, grocery stores, and office buildings. In urban neighborhoods with small residential blocks, the common areas are mainly those that pertain to the individuals' homes. These might include front yards, backyards, parking spaces, and walkways. Some cities also allow for common areas in the middle of the block.
HOAs contain common items that must be maintained by the association. Swimming pools, roadways, a clubhouse, landscaping, and other communal spaces are all open to all owners. The definitions of these frequent items are rarely ambiguous. They may include:
Green space - including parks, playfields, and lawns - that is available to all owners. Maintenance for green space includes mowing, weeding, and trimming trees.
Roads - including streets, avenues, and driveways - that connect homes with public roads or utilities. Roads must be kept clear of obstructions such as trees that might cause traffic accidents or damage to vehicles. They also must be painted on at least one side every two years if they are not already painted on both sides.
Clubhouse - a building used for meetings, workshops, or any other purpose related to the community. Most commonly, it is a place where members can socialize and exercise together.
Pool - a body of water designed for swimming that is owned by an HOA and maintained by its board of directors or managers. Pools may be indoor/outdoor or outdoor only. They may have an above-ground or underwater design.
Common area maintenance obligations may include things like heating and lighting a common clubhouse, maintaining the community pools and elevators, and providing landscaping services for the common parks, depending on the facilities. These are all part of the general maintenance program and are included in the overall cost of housing units in the development. The exact amount will vary depending on the type of development and where it is located but this is usually estimated when the development agreement is signed. In some cases, common area maintenance can be paid by the homeowner's association or leased out to third-party contractors.
In addition to these responsibilities, a homeowners association may have the right to regulate use of property, including parking spaces. For example, an HOA might be able to establish rules regarding size, placement, and usage of parking spots in a way that protects the value of other homes in the community. HOAs also work with local government officials to ensure that developments are built in accordance with planning policies. This can include helping to create new neighborhoods by proposing design guidelines for home construction.
Finally, HOAs can involve themselves in financial matters for the community. This could include the ability to raise funds through assessments or implementing special programs for residents who need extra help paying their bills or taking care of other issues. These activities are carried out by a board of directors or similar body and are important for protecting the community's best interests.
The common elements are owned by the HOA. These communities' units are considered as single-family dwellings. Please see Common Interest Communities 102 for more information on common interest communities, the Association, monthly fees, and legal documents.
The surface of the perimeter walls, rails, fences, windows, doors, and so on are frequently used to define the borders of the "deck." As a result, the limited common space is essentially a block of air surrounded by the structural parts that comprise the deck. Except for the block of air, the organization retains everything. The equipment in the limited common area is subject to damage or loss if not properly protected.
A covered walk is another example of a limited common area. Under most leases, the lessee is responsible for any damage done to the covering. If it is removed, replaced, or altered without the landlord's permission, then the tenant could be charged with vandalism. In this case, the limit of the common area would be the walk itself. The lessee could be charged with trespassing if they went beyond the limit of the common area.
In general, anything within the physical boundaries of the lease but not part of the finished product is considered part of the limited common area. This includes storage lockers, tool sheds, and other similar structures. If a lessee removes any property from the common area without the landlord's consent, then they have violated their lease agreement and could be charged with criminal trespass.
The limits of a limited common area must be clearly defined to ensure that tenants do not exceed their rights under their lease agreements. Any activity beyond these limits is considered criminal trespass.