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When a developer plans to divide a parcel of land into condominiums units, a master deed must be prepared and recorded with the appropriate government office in the jurisdiction where the land is located. The master deed will show the division of property into separate units, as well as indicate where the common areas will be on the proposed development. As with all deeds, any restrictions to use of the property are also generally noted on the master deed.
A condominium development is a building that has a number of individual sub-units within the building which are individually owned. The common areas, along with the major systems such as heat and air, are jointly owned by the owners of the individual units. Although each individual owner of a unit will receive a property deed for his or her unit, a master deed must be filed for the overall development before the first individual unit is sold as a rule.
Much like any other deed, a master deed will describe the property by both legal description and the commonly known address. Unlike other deeds, however, a master deed will then explain how the property is to be divided into individual units. For example, if the project has 100 separate units then the master deed will reflect that.
Along with designating how many separate units the condominium project will have, the master deed also indicates where the common areas will be and legally grants ownership of those areas to the individual owners. Common areas usually include walkways, hallways, parking lots, as well as grassy areas, laundry facilities, and pool areas. These areas are usually maintained by the condominium association, which is made up of all the individual owners. In addition, major systems such as heating and cooling are the responsibility of the condominium association. In most cases, the individual owners must pay a monthly fee for maintenance and upkeep of the common areas.