Exclusive Use Common Area

A subset of common area is “exclusive use common area” (aka “restricted common area”). Exclusive use common area is a portion of common area designated by the CC&Rs for the exclusive use of one or more, but fewer than all, of the owners within the development. (Civ. Code § 4145(a).) Civil Code Section 4145(b) lists the following components as exclusive use common area, subject to any contrary provisions in an association’s CC&Rs:

“…shutters, awnings, window boxes, doorsteps, stoops, porches, balconies, patios, exterior doors, doorframes, and hardware incident thereto, screens and windows or other fixtures designed to serve a single separate interest, but located outside the boundaries of the separate interest, are exclusive use common area allocated exclusively to that separate interest.” (Civ. Code § 4145(b).)

Modifying Provisions Contained in CC&Rs – The classification of the above components as exclusive use common area assumes that there are no contrary provisions in an association’s CC&Rs. If such contrary provisions exist, the CC&R provisions control. (Civ. Code § 4145(b).) Modern CC&Rs and condominium plans for condominium projects often contain provisions which clearly define what areas/components are exclusive use common area.

Impacts of Classification
Whether a particular component is classified as exclusive use common area impacts the maintenance responsibilities for that component, as well as the rights an owner has to construct certain improvements in or upon that component (i.e., EV charging stations, satellite dishes, etc.). (See also “Exclusive Use Common Area Maintenance.”)

Granting Exclusive Use of Common Area
An area which is designated under the CC&Rs as “exclusive use common area” is distinct from a portion of common area which the association or the board has granted to an owner for the owner’s exclusive use. (See “Granting Exclusive Use of Common Area.”)

Transferring Exclusive Use Common Areas
Depending upon the provisions contained within an association’s CC&Rs, an owner may have the authority to transfer an exclusive use common area to another. (Civ. Code § 4645.)

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Related Case Law

  • Dover Village Association v. Jennison
    (2010) 191 Cal.App.4th 123

    [Maintenance; Board Deference] The deference afforded to HOA Boards for maintenance decisions does not extend to the Board’s interpretation as to the scope of the HOA’s maintenance responsibilities under its CC&Rs.