Arizona HOA Laws

What’s the Difference Between a Condo and a Planned Community in Arizona?

From an outside perspective, there are a lot of similarities between many condominiums and planned communities.  Both have many individual homeowners in a planned development with common areas and amenities available to the community.  The main difference between a planned community and a condominium is that the association in a planned community owns the common areas. In condominiums, the individual owners share ownership of the common elements. Each owner owns an undivided interest in the common elements. To help define the key details that define both, here is what you need to know about the difference between a condominium and a planned community.

What Is A Condominium?

A condominium (condo) is a housing complex with separate units owned by individuals and those individual owners each have an undivided ownership interest in the common elements  The condominium association maintains the common elements, insurance, and upkeep.  The association elects a board of directors to run the association and represent the interests of the individual owners.  Condominiums can sometimes be tricky to spot. Sometimes they look like townhouse-style buildings. For example, each unit can consist of one, two, or three floors without a basement and attics. Their appearance is similar to a townhouse, but they are condominiums.

There are still other styles of condominiums. There’s the apartment-style, detached condominium, and anything in between. The community documents and plat define what each unit owner owns, making matters even more complicated. In some condominiums, the owner will own from the walls-in of the unit, and in others the owner will only own the airspace of the unit. Understanding these details is important for individual members and the board to set proper expectations and obligations for everyone in the community.

What is A Planned Community?

A planned community is a housing development that includes detailed space for individual homes and common area amenities. 

Owners own their homes and often the lots, and the association owns the common areas in a planned community. These communities can sometimes look like condominium buildings but can also consist of single-family and townhome communities. Planned communities typically offer multiple amenities and can include residential and commercial units. In a planned community, the homeowner owns the land and has the flexibility to do what they want with their land, as long as they abide by the HOA rules and guidelines.

The most significant upside of living in a planned community is convenience. Many planned communities offer private amenities beyond the usual pool, gym, and parks. Some planned communities include privately owned roads, security around the clock, and access to a grocery store or drug store in the community. Additionally, all common area maintenance is typically managed for the members. Occasionally, in townhouse communities, they even include exterior and yard maintenance.

Find a Law Firm for HOAs, Planned Communities and Condo Associations

Halk, Oetinger, and Brown only represents planned communities and associations in Arizona. Our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable about all things related to HOA governance and operation. We assist condo associations and planned communities with everything from assessment collection to covenant enforcement to litigation. Our team can help with every detail of operating a successful homeowners association in Arizona while avoiding many common legal pitfalls. Schedule an initial consultation with our experienced attorneys for HOAs using the contact us page of our site here.

Halk, Oetinger, and Brown shares this article for informational purposes only, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.