Condominiums, townhomes, and many single family home neighborhoods are associations. This means that there are common elements to the property enjoyed by all residents. The number and type of common elements vary. For some neighborhoods, it is simply an entrance sign and landscaping, for others it is a clubhouse, pool, and tennis courts. For townhomes and condominiums common elements can vary.
Condominiums often include some of the physical features of the building itself, such as the roof, walls, gutters etc. Because the community as a whole “owns” these elements, the community as a whole is responsible for the maintenance of those elements, as well as any necessary insurance. Townhomes can operate as a “condominium” where most of the structure is maintained by the association, or it can be “fee simple.” Fee Simple means that the building or structure is the responsibility of the individual owner.
To make matters even more confusing, some townhomes are partially “fee simple” meaning some of the elements are covered others our not. A homeowner might need to address a gutter issue, but the roof might be common. As you can imagine, all these variations across communities do not make understanding the rules very easy for the homeowners.