A condominium, often shortened to condo, is a type of real estate divided into several units that are each separately owned, surrounded by common areas jointly owned.
Residential condominiums are frequently constructed as apartment buildings , but there has been an increase in the number of "detached condominiums", which look like single- family homes but in which the yards, building exteriors, and streets are jointly owned and jointly maintained by a community association.
Unlike apartments, which are leased by their tenants, condominium units are owned outright. Additionally, the owners of the individual units also collectively own the common areas of the property , such as hallways, walkways, laundry rooms, etc.; as well as common utilities and amenities , such as the HVAC system , elevators, and so on. Many shopping malls are industrial condominiums in which the individual retail and office spaces are owned by the businesses that occupy them while the common areas of the mall are collectively owned by all the business entities that own the individual spaces.
The common areas, amenities and utilities are managed collectively by the owners through their association, such as a homeowner association.
Scholars have traced the earliest known use of the condominium form of tenure to a document from first century Babylon . The word condominium originated in Latin .
The term "condominium" is used throughout the United States and in most Canadian provinces, where such a property is also colloquially known as a "condo". Strata title is used in the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta as well as in Australia and New Zealand ; while commonhold is used in the United Kingdom and the term used in South Africa is sectional title.