“Condominium” refers to a specific form of ownership of real property, and is commonly used to describe a structure or structures divided into separate, individually owned units, or it refers to one such unit within a building or complex. A condominium unit owner typically owns all the space within the walls of the unit. A unit owner has a deed, which usually permits them to sell, mortgage or lease the unit independent of the other unit owners. There are also “timeshare” condominiums where you typically have the right to use a unit for a limited period of time, such as a week.

Typically, the exterior walls, roof, porches, walkways, gardens and lawns, as well as the
driveways and parking areas – referred to as “common area” or “limited common area” – are
owned by the unit owners as a whole. The organization which administers the common areas is
usually the unit owners’ association. All unit owners have access to the common areas, such as hallways, roads and recreational facilities.

In determining what responsibilities within your condominium are assigned to a unit owner, it is important to consult two documents: the Declaration of Condominium and the Bylaws of the unit owners’ association. The seller of a condominium unit must provide current copies of these documents for the buyer’s review. Also a required part of the condominium's documents are the financial statements related to the condominiums operations. Evaluating the financial stability and history of the building into which you are buying is something to which you should give serious consideration.