The joint form of ownership, usually tenants-in-common, of a piece of real estate constitutes the traditional condominium concept. In this form of ownership, the owners share all common area elements of the project and have an undivided interest in them. This means, that the walls or ceilings surrounding an owner’s unit in a ten-unit project belongs to all owners and not to that owner only – each owner has a 1/10 share (ownership interest) of those walls and ceilings. Therefore, no owner may use the term “my walls” or “my ceilings,” for the owner has no walls or ceilings – he has only common area walls and ceilings that encompass his airspace within the unit. Owners “own” only the airspace of their units.
Each condominium project has common elements owned by all owners; exclusive use common areas assigned to each unit, which are also owned by all owners but may be used by the residents of each unit only; and the management of the project, which is the board of directors, exercising its powers under the authority granted to it by the corporations code even if the project is an unincorporated association.
The centralized management of condominium projects cannot be avoided, for without it, owners would wait for one another to take care of matters, including making repairs to elements not affecting their living environment, saying why would I pay for the repair of the roof section over another owner’s unit . . . the roof over my unit does not leak. Let him pay for it. Maintaining a peaceful living condition would not be possible, either, for no resident could create or let alone enforce rules to which all residents must adhere.
The centralized management model of the condominium concept cures this problem.
The benefits of living in a condominium include the cost sharing (and saving) of the maintenance, repair, and replacement of building components and of the common area facilities (pool, recreation room, etc.).
The downside of this kind of living is the unavoidable friction among residents, the loss of free use of the project, and the always present dependency on the other residents’ willingness to follow the rules and to pay their assessments.