Monday, June 28, 2010

Condominium vs. Landominium: What's the Difference?

Condominium versus Landominium: These two forms of ownership are often confusing, so what follows is a synopsis of the two.

A condominium is a creature of statute and what is and is not a condominium will be set forth int he legislation. However, a condo unit is normally a cube of air space (visualize this) bounded by the perimeter walls, floor, and ceiling of the unit described down to the undercoated surface of these boundaries (this is to  insure that the unit owner owns the first layer of paint and is thus responsible for the maintenance thereof). any part of the condo development that doesn't fall within the unit definition by statute is considered common elements or limited common elements. Common elements are owned in common by all of the unit owners, according to their respective percentage for ownership interest set forth in the condo documents (Declaration and Drawings). Limited common elements are those common elements outside the unit which can be utilized or accessed by only that unit, such as a balcony or patio.

A landominium, on the other hand, (by the way, there is no legal definition of this form of ownership and "landominium" is the commonly accepted phrase) is really a form of special zoning. Under this format, the owner is purchasing a parcel of ground on which the residence is constructed (ranch or townhouse) and the ownership includes the land, as well as the improvements to the exclusion of the other contiguous owners. Thus the landominium boundaries would be the lot up to the sky to infinity and downward tot he core of the earth. Unlike the condo's cube of airspace, the landominium maintenance and replacement of the building would be solely left to the owner, however, many associations provide that all exterior maintenance and landscaping, etc. is done by the association. the land outside of each individual lot is owned in common by all the owners, unlike he condo where the units compromise the entire ownership. For tax purposes, the only tax bills for a condo are the unit bills whereas, with a landominium, there are separate tax bills for each lot plus a bill for the common lot owned in common.     

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