Condominiums are just airspace within the unit surfaces. Legally known as “vertical subdivisions,” condominium owners own just the expensive airspace between their floor, ceiling and walls to the inner surfaces. The building structure is owned by the HOA, including the plumbing and wiring. The HOA usually also owns the common areas, such as hallways, elevators, land and parking areas. However, sometimes the common areas are owned by the individual condo owners as tenants in common, with the HOA responsible for maintaining the common areas.
Condominium owners often have the exclusive use of a specific additional area, such as a patio, balcony, storage area, and/or garage parking space. But the HOA usually has maintenance responsibility for those exclusive control areas that are part of the common area.
Townhouses and PUDs (planned unit developments) are slightly different. Townhouses are usually two-story condominiums with common walls shared with the adjoining townhouses. A few townhouses include ownership of the land beneath each townhouse, but many do not include the land that is owned as a common area by the HOA. However, if the townhouse is part of a PUD, then the homeowner usually owns the land beneath their unit. Either way, the HOA is responsible for the townhouse exterior maintenance, just as it is for traditional condominiums. Of course, individual townhouse and PUD owners are responsible for their interior maintenance, such as a dripping faucet or a plugged toilet.
There is much confusion over townhomes that are legally condos. Please make sure prior to viewing townhomes that the legal description on tax records is lot/block NOT CIC. If it is a CIC it is legally a condo even though marketed as a townhome. There is a link to the tax records on all online MLS links. Or you can go directly to the county website. Often times the listing agent will incorrectly state FHA/VA financing available because they haven’t done there homework. We get numerous clients who fall in love with a townhome that is legally a condo and not FHA approved prohibiting them from purchasing. If it is a CIC you will then need to check here https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm to make sure it’s FHA HUD approved. You aren’t done yet, then you must make sure to check the expiration date and the concentration percentage. There cannot be more than 51% FHA concentration in any one development.