A condominium is a dwelling unit owned, rather than rented, by the occupant, and similar to an apartment in appearance. The owner of the condominium also owns a common tenancy with owners of other units in the common area, which includes all the driveways, parking, elevators, outside hallways, recreation and landscaped areas, which are managed by a homeowner's or tenant's association.

The main function of most condo associations is the repair and maintenance of common areas and building exteriors. The maintenance responsibility for an association is established in the declaration or bylaws. If the condominium unit is destroyed by fire or other disaster, the owner has the right to rebuild in his/her airspace. Related to the duty to maintain the property is the duty to adopt budgets and collect assessments from the home owners. In a way, an association is merely a conduit for the homeowners to pay for the various expenses of operating the property. Most states have adopted statutes to cover special issues involving development, construction, management and taxation of condominium projects.