Re: Exterior modifications
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:44:45 -0800 (PST)
On Feb 19, 2014, at 8:40 AM, Fred-List manager <fholson [at]> 

> Love to have a lawyer here define Limited Common Elements.  My
> impression is that LCE are areas that have officially (by the Board,
> eg, or in the Declaration) been assigned to the use of one or a
> Limited number of Owners, or areas which could reasonably be thought
> to be assigned to a limited number of owners.

Limited Common Elements as well as Common Elements and owned space are defined 
in the laws governing condos in your legal jurisdiction which, I think, is 
usually the state. There may be other local restrictions.

The definition you give is the one used in DC. Further Limited Common Elements 
are "assigned" to a unit, not owned by it. At the request or approval of the 
home owner a Limited Common Element can be reassigned. If I wanted to give up 
my deck to my neighbor, the LCE would then be assigned to her unit.

LCEs are not owned by the owner only limited for their exclusive use. While 
some cannot reasonably be reassigned (a single balcony on the third floor) many 
can. The costs for having exclusive use of that LCE would then go to the 
assigned owner. 

>  Our lawyer stated that because we fenced the backyard, we
> were creating LCE for the private use of the Owner, even though there
> is no Board decision or mention in the declaration that this has
> happened.   So once the fencing has happened, the Owner, not the
> Association, controls what happens within that space.

This is a reason to place a value LCEs. This owner has just usurped valuable 
real estate for their own purposes and deprived other owners of it's use. In 
the case of a fence, even of an unobstructed view.

I'm glad to hear of the lawyer's opinion because this seems to happen in a 
number of communities and has happened here with a fence that prevents some 
owners from mowing their own backyards because they have to bring the lawn 
mower through the front door. But since the owner won't make an issue of it, 
just grouses, no one else has taken a stand on it.

Another Condo Commando insight -- Condo Commandos are criticized for enforcing 
community rules even affected homeowners don't complain. But the problem if 
they don't is that people who are unhappy either move out or infect the rest of 
the community with their grousing. Better than the Association apply the 
agreements equally or change them. The changes can apply to a particular 
instance or to all instances.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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