Common Property Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Common Property, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Common Property?

It refers to the property owned and governed by the government and which is also known as public property like parks, gardens, forest etc. It can also be referred to the property held jointly and commonly by more than one tenants and who have undivided interest in the entire property.

History and Meaning of Common Property

Common Property refers to property owned by the government or held jointly by tenants. The concept of common property began in feudal societies where land was owned by the monarch but worked and used by the peasants. As societies developed and governments became more involved in managing public goods, the notion of common property expanded to encompass parks, public buildings, and forests. Common property can be thought of as a shared resource among a group of people, each with an undivided interest in the property.

In legal terms, common property is often managed by a governing body, like a homeowners' or tenants' association, to ensure that the property is maintained, used responsibly, and enjoyed equally by all tenants.

Examples of Common Property

  1. A city park or playground where everyone in the community has access, but the government owns and maintains the property.
  2. A housing complex, where tenants share access to amenities such as a pool, gym, or common area, and each tenant has an undivided interest in the entire property.
  3. Public forests, where people can hike, camp, or hunt but are not allowed to individually own or develop the land.
  4. Airwaves, which are a finite public resource that must be licensed by the government and regulated to prevent overuse or abuse.
  5. Public roads, where motorists have equal access to travel from one point to another, and the government owns and maintains the infrastructure.

Legal Terms Similar to Common Property

  1. Public goods: A good or service that benefits society as a whole and is typically provided by the government.
  2. Joint tenancy: A type of ownership where two or more people hold an equal interest in a property and have equal rights to use and enjoy it.
  3. Eminent domain: The government's power to seize private property for public use with due compensation to the owner.
  4. Trusts: Legal arrangements where property is held by one entity (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiaries).
  5. Homeowners' association: A governing body responsible for managing shared common areas in residential communities.