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Limited Common Elements: What You Need To Know

Blog - 2015 - 02-23 - Limited Common Elements

Minnesota State Statue 515.B defines a limited common element as elements that are designated for the exclusive use of the unit owner(s) of the unit or units to which the limited common elements are allocated…

So what exactly does that mean?  Well, normal examples of a Limited Common Element (LCE) would be a balcony/patio, your windows & doors, and likely even your HVAC equipment.   Even the garage stall is typically listed as a LCE.

Why does this matter to you?  A lot of buyers feel that everything on the exterior is the Association’s responsibility to maintain and repair.  Which is generally true,  but the major shocker to a lot of condo buyers is who will be responsible to pay for these items.  Nearly every condo building that I’ve dealt with, charges the homeowner for these items.  There’s a few reasons they do this, but the main reason is cost.  If Associations had to tuck money away for all of these items, the dues would skyrocket.  Sometimes, you’ll see an association pay for something that is a LCE expense, but it usually means that everyone is benefiting from the work and the Board of Directors has set aside money for the project through their budget.

Buyers of condos and lofts need to be aware they are responsible for repairing/replacing window and doors.  They need to know that when the decking of their patio/balcony needs to be replaced, the Association will drop off a bill.

Just like owning a single family home, condo owners need to set aside money for repairs.  Over the years, I’ve heard many stories of condo owners that were mad they had to pay for these items, yet it’s something they should have known from the get-go.

Buying a condo is different from buying a house, and it’s important that you have a competent real estate agent that knows how a condo association works.  It takes more than selling a condo to know one 😉

I’m happy to answer questions on condo ownership, and I’d be even happy to help you buy or sell one.

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