Understanding Limited Common Elements

Limited common elements in Florida condominiums, as defined by the Florida Condominium Act, refer to common elements exclusively reserved for the use of specific units or groups of units, as outlined in the condominium’s declaration. This definition highlights that limited common elements represent a subset of common elements. Examples of what might be designated as limited common elements in the declaration include parking spaces, storage units, balconies, or patios. Additionally, there are less conspicuous elements located outside unit boundaries but serving a single unit owner or a group of owners, such as plumbing lines or air-conditioning units, which can also be categorized as limited common elements. The pivotal factor in determining whether an element is considered limited common lies in the language used in the declaration itself, in accordance with the Condominium Act.

The Florida Condominium Act offers flexibility regarding the responsibility for maintaining limited common elements. The declaration can specify whether the association or individual unit owners who benefit from these exclusive elements are responsible for their upkeep. The wording in the declaration plays a critical role in allocating this responsibility. Furthermore, when unit owners are tasked with maintenance, the declaration can specify that this maintenance is to be covered by the benefiting owners rather than being considered a common expense. In such cases, the association has the authority to perform necessary maintenance or repairs and bill the owner or owners who enjoy the privileges of these limited common elements.

Importance of Limited Common Elements:

Clarifying Ownership: Designating certain elements as LCEs helps clarify ownership rights and responsibilities. Unit owners understand which parts of the property are exclusively theirs, reducing conflicts and misunderstandings.

Protection of Exclusive Use: LCEs protect unit owners’ exclusive rights to certain areas, such as parking spaces or balconies. This ensures that no one else can encroach upon or use these areas without permission.

Maintenance and Repair: Unit owners are typically responsible for the maintenance, repair, and upkeep of their designated LCEs. This reduces the burden on the condominium association and helps maintain the property’s overall condition.

Enhanced Property Value: The availability and proper management of limited common elements can enhance property values, as they provide added benefits and convenience to unit owners.

Associations that have unclear or vague declarations may encounter challenges in determining responsibilities and the extent of the board’s authority concerning various areas within the condominium. In situations where the declaration lacks clarity, it is advisable to seek guidance from association counsel. The Condominium Act imposes strict limitations on how associations can use their funds. Therefore, it is crucial for the association to have a clear understanding of its responsibilities to avoid improper expenditure of association funds. 

In navigating the complexities of limited common elements and other condominium-related legal matters, it is wise to seek the counsel of experienced lawyers who specialize in condominium laws. Contact us today to ensure that your association adheres to the Florida Condominium Act and operates smoothly within the bounds of the law.