What is a Condominium?

Legal Forms of Ownership



In California, a condominium is defined as a common interest development in which a buyer acquires a separate interest called a unit, and an undivided interest in common area property. The unit is generally the space located within the perimeter walls. The common area is generally the building, land and any amenities such as a pool.

The form of legal ownership of property should not be confused with architectural styles or design. A condominium building may be constructed as townhouses, stacked units, or detached homes. Townhouses (or townhomes) are built in rows and are attached on the sides. No unit is located above or below another. Stacked condominiums are built in stacks or one above another. Condominiums may also be constructed as detached homes. This arrangement exists where two or more condominiums are built on a single lot. The lot may be divided with fences or walls to create the appearance of separate lots. Each detached condominium owner owns a separate interest which includes the entire home plus an undivided interest in common area. In addition, each condominium owner receives an exclusive easement or right to use what appears to be their individual lot.