Last edited 01 Nov 2020

Common area

The term ‘common area’ refers to areas and amenities which are provided for the common use of more than one person. Where there is a tenancy in common, such as a in a residential building complex, the common areas can be used by all tenants, with no one individual possessing more control over, or right to them than another.

This is different from common land which, in English law, refers to registered land on which individuals have ‘rights in common’.

Examples of common areas include:

In a residential building, tenants are typically jointly responsible for the up-keep and maintenance of common areas. However, building owners may employ a building or facilities manager to maintain them. Depending on the level of up-keep, it can be advisable for tenants to arrange meetings at certain times throughout the year to discuss the maintenance of the common areas.

Common parts are defined as: 'Those parts of domestic properties (such as a block of flats) which are used in common by the occupants of more than one flat (such as the corridors and fire-escape routes)' in A reformed building safety regulatory system, Government response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, April 2020.

The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (HGRA - also known as the Construction Act) suggests that ‘common parts’ refers to: ‘...the structure and exterior of the building and common facilities provided, whether in the building or elsewhere, for persons who include the occupiers of one or more flats in the building’.

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