K.V. from Duval County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We own our unit but there are renters, too. When I complained to our condo management company about kids playing on our front lawn, walkway, and small porch, she said that fell under common property. I know about that but we also have a fenced backyard that is “common” property, exclusive to us. Is there such a thing as LIMITED COMMON PROPERTY? The front lawn is in shade, doesn’t grow and my husband uses his weed eater on it. It’s a very small area which is a good thing since we are in our 70s. Using the common property logic, it sounds like someone could come over and set up a swing set if they wanted to.
Mister Condo replies:
K.V., yes there are such things as limited common elements and there are certainly areas of the condo common grounds that can be designated as limited common property (exclusively for the use of single or group of unit owners). I don’t know if a fellow unit owner could set up a swing set or any other type of device that would “claim” the land as their own but all owners are entitled to use the common areas as outlined in the association’s governance documents. It is not uncommon to have rules restricting or limiting use because of risk and liability issues. You shouldn’t see restrictions against “children” or any other age group because that is discrimination. However, it is not unreasonable that noise or use restrictions make typical playground activity unlikely on association grounds. That being said, the condo management company can only enforce the rules that the Board wishes them to enforce. If children playing in front of your condo is a problem you wish the Board to address, you need to let them know. Write them a letter or attend the next Board meeting and state your case. Ideally, show the rule or regulation you feel is being violated and the Board can decide whether or not to act upon your complaint. All the best!