At its simplest, a Common Element is that area that lies beyond your inner walls. It is made up of such things as roads, exterior walls, your backyard, windows, water etc. You pay for the upkeep of Common Elements through your monthly maintenance fees.
Exclusive Use Common Element:
This term refers to your immediate outside surroundings such as your front and back yards. These areas are for the homeowner/resident’s exclusive use but remain the property of the corporation.
Homeowners/Residents are responsible for the care/maintenance of their exclusive use common elements and must notify the property management of any damage or repairs that may be needed in order to keep the area in good condition. Please report any damage or request any repairs as soon as possible.
Failure to report damaged elements may result in repair costs charged back to the homeowner.
If a homeowner would like to make changes to the exclusive use common elements such as installing a deck or changing landscaping (adding/removing gardens, shrubs, trees etc.), they must request approval from the Board of Directors prior to making any changes. They will be asked to provide details of the requested changes so the Board can review the request properly. Depending on the requested change, they may be asked to provide the Property Management with an Article 98 that releases the Corporation from any costs of repair to your changes for the life of the house. This document must be included with the ownership documents and passed on to a new owner when the townhome is sold.
In addition, there are some items such as windows and doors that are considered both Common Element and private property as they pass through outer and inner walls. The cost of repair or replacement is shared 50% each by the Corporation and the homeowner. It is the policy of our Corporation to repair first, and replace anything that is beyond repair with items that are equivalent in cost and appearance to the original installation. If a homeowner wishes to upgrade an exclusive use common element such as a front door, they must "first" apply to the Board of Directors and, if approved, they will be responsible for any cost beyond the “equivalent to original” cost.