RE: "Air Space" Condos
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 12:17 CDT
Sharingwood is an air space condo.  In Washington, and several other 
states, one of the ways you can define a condo is called an air space 
condo. What this actually is, is a survey and legal description of 
building lots.  Everything within the survey stakes is considered the 
condominium unit.  In our case this is very important because the local 
planning department which approved our rezone demanded that each 
individual house have ownership of its drainfield.  Typically condos 
are defined with three types of ownership, the private unit, called the 
exclusive use area, the commonly owned area, called common use and 
areas which are owned commonly but maintained by a particular owner, 
called Limited common areas.  In most condo arrangements the exclusive 
use area is either defined by walls or the footprint of the building. 
In an air space condo the whole building lot and all structures, 
gardens, drainfields, chipmunks, trees, etc. become the condominium 
exclusive use area.

Basically it is a way to use a condominium to subdivide land.

The way our development works is that we took  nine acres  out of a 38 
acre parcel of land which we owned cooperatively, divided it into 17 
building lots, added commonspace for a commonhouse and a road.  Our 
attorney then described all these things in the condominium 
declarations and a survey showing all the elements, and the condominium 
declarations were filed with the county.  Once the condo was filed, we 
created a condo association which then passed 17 individual titles to 
the lot owners.  The condominium owners associaiton owns and controls 
the road, parking and one building lot which, if all goes according to 
plan, will hold our commonhouse which is being built this summer.

We were the first air space condominium in Washington State (Its a 
relatively new change to the law) and our attorney had FMNA and a 
respected title company review our declarations before our decalrations 
were filed to ensure that what we created would be acceptable to the 
banking industry.  We now have 5 different banks holding mortgages on 
houses here so everything seems to have worked out ok.

One of the nifty advantages for us, is that using the air space condo 
law, drainfields can be separate from the houses (remote).  The 
drainfields are just surveyed pieces of ground with easements for 
pipes.  This will allow us considerable flexiblity in designing the 
second phase of our community in that we can arrange the houses anyway 
we wish and not have to worry about whether the soil in that particular 
location will support a drainfield.

The primary disadvantage to this scheme is that it can be rather 
expensive. The total cost of both the survey and the legal 
documentation for our development ran about $35,000.  Of course, 
divided by 17 unit owners that works out to $2,000 a peice, which isn't 
too bad but if you only had a core group of 5 doing this it could be 
prohibitive.  It also took the better part of a year to accomplish, 
which seemed like forever, but it the big picture it all worked out in the end.
From: Nancy Wight  <netmail!wight [at]>
To: Rob Sandelin
Subject: "Air Space" Condos
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 1994 10:31AM

A few weeks ago I saw someone refer to an "air space" condo
as a type of condo ownership.  I've been away for awhile, but haven't
seen anything else about this in my mailbox.  Could someone please clarify
what an "air spac" condo is?  We are looking at various types of condo
ownership options.


- Nancy

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