Have you ever wondered about the difference between common property and limited common property?
It can get a little confusing if you’re new to strata living, but knowing the characteristics of common property and limited common property can mean the difference between a happy strata and an unhappy one. Having a firm understanding of the ins and outs of strata plans, property, and shared spaces is the key to strata happy living.
So what’s the deal with common property? Well, it all comes down to who pays for what, and who can use the property. You know, things that are kind of important when it comes to sharing space with a few hundred other people.
Let’s take a closer look at common property. Common property is any part of the land and buildings shown on the strata plan that is not a part of a strata lot. Generally, this means things like hallways, external walls, amenities, roofs, elevators, and any sort of recreation ground or shared green space.
Common property, in a nutshell, is what you share with the other owners – everything you have in common. I like to think of common property as the places in the building where you’d have to wear pants because it's not in your condo and you'll probably run into a neighbour or two.
Strata lot owners own common property collectively as tenants in common. There are a few more details to this -- how much one strata lot owns is proportional to the unit entitlement and what is paid and by whom depends on the individual strata -- but this is 101 so we'll pass that over and move on to it later.
Since common property is shared by so many people, and used for so many things, there are rules for its use. The building's bylaws and rules will govern how owners and their guests may use common property. For example, you might be able to smoke in certain areas, or be forbidden to smoke on common property entirely. You might be able to play badminton on common property greenspace, but you might not be allowed to have a barbecue up on the roof. Always check your bylaws and rules!
Limited Common Property
Limited common property is similar to common property in that it isn't part of an individual strata lot -- but this is where things take a twist. Limited common property (or LCP) is common property that is for the exclusive use of one or more strata lots.
Common LCP designations are patios, porches -- and for ground floor units, that cute little yard out back. If common property is where you have to wear pants, LCP is where you could pull up a lawn chair and chill, or wander in pajamas and a cup of coffee.
It’s important to note that LCP isn’t set in stone. A strata council can amend a strata plan to designate new LCP or take it away. None of this is on a whim, however. There are rules and processes in place for this, including resolutions, votes and filings at Land Title.
Why does any of this matter?
It matters because of access, repairs, maintenance, use and control and enjoyment of the common property, all of which will be controlled by bylaws and rules in the building. Designations like common property and limited common property tell you what you can do, where you can do it, and who pays for it. It's important to know what in your building is common property, what is limited common property, and how the maintenance, bylaws, and rules apply to each.
*Please note, I’m talking exclusively here about condo, not a strata subdivision which will be another story for another time.
** This isn’t legal advice! If you need legal advice, please call a lawyer.