Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Common Area Definition:

Those areas of multi-owner real property which are for the exclusive use of all individual owners.

Related Terms: Condominium

A creature of statute law to reflect areas of land or real property held by a condominium corporation for the exclusive use of all individual owners.

Examples may include a parking lot, air space above the individual units, the main entrance and the main pathway or surrounding yard.

In Lake v Woodcreek, condominium owner Mr. Clausing bult an addition over his garage thus blocking the view of another condominium owner. The matter ended up before Justice Ellington of the Court of Appeals of Washington who wrote:

"Common areas include ... all areas not expressly described as part of the individual residence apartments or as limited common area as well as roofs, walls, foundations, studding, joists, beams, supports, main walls, pipes, conduits and wire, and all other structural parts of the buildings to the interior surfaces of the apartments' perimeter walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors, the green belt areas, other yard areas, all garden areas and all other parts of the property necessary or convenient to its existence, maintenance, safety and use not otherwise classified.

"Limited common areas, assigned to each unit, include a patio/garden, attic storage, a crawl space, an entrance area, and a driveway parking area.

"Air space above an apartment unit is not part of the apartment and is not limited common area. It is a part of the property necessary to its existence and is not otherwise classified. Air space is therefore common area. By eliminating the air space above his garage, Clausing converted common area to apartment area and thus put common area to his sole benefit."

REFERENCES:

Lake v. Woodcreek Homeowners Ass'n, 174 P. 3d 1224 (2007)

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