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A common area is, in real estate or real property law, the "area which is available for use by more than one person..."[1] The common areas are those that are available for common use by all tenants, (or) groups of tenants and their invitees.[2][3] In Texas and other parts of the United States, it is "An area inside a housing development that is owned by all residents or by an overall management structure which charges each tenant for maintenance and upkeep."[4][5]

Common areas often exist in apartments, gated communities, condominiums, cooperatives and shopping malls.[6]

In any situation where there is a tenancy in common, all the tenants in common collectively own the common areas, meaning that any one individual owner does not possess more control over the land than any other owner.[7]

This differs from a commons or common land, as used in English law, which is owned by one person, but which may be used by a group of persons.

Residence hallsresidence halls of colleges and universities, the common areas are those spaces in a dorm that are for the use of all the student residents. In order to paint murals, improve with fixtures, or otherwise change the common area, permission may have to be obtained from the director of residential life.[17] Legally, there is nothing that a tenant can do if they do not approve of their common area furnishings, decorations, etc. unless it interferes directly with a disability. Anything pertaining to religion or beliefs are all covered under the Fair Housing Law. The only way to control common areas in this regard is if a serious threat was posed. State-run universities do have the authority to prohibit use of common areas should they see fit (whether that be decorating, furnishings, or physical use). For-profit housing can only limit these things to some extent. They cannot legally control every aspect of common area use because of the aforementioned Fair Housing Laws.

Business spaces

Common area also applies to organizations such as shopping malls and strip malls, in which multiple businesses operate.Common area also applies to organizations such as shopping malls and strip malls, in which multiple businesses operate.[5] Oftentimes, business parks, malls, and other multi-company facilities will have a common area. This could be any one of the examples listed above or it could take form of a “break room”. These areas are generally centrally located and for everyone's use within the businesses involved. There can be stipulations on conduct within the common areas as well as availability of the common areas. Businesses may also have common areas within themselves. Typically the businesses with common areas will have their own rules that cater to their business type, policy, and company vision.

Real estate taxation of common areas

In commercial real estate in the US, a building's loss factor is the percentage of the

In commercial real estate in the US, a building's loss factor is the percentage of the building's area shared by tenants or space that are dedicated to the common areas of a building used to calculate the difference between the net (usable) and gross (billable) areas.[19]

That portion of the space is considered "lost" because it cannot be directly leased and the maintenance and operation costs must be covered by the other rentable areas.[20]

The loss factor is

That portion of the space is considered "lost" because it cannot be directly leased and the maintenance and operation costs must be covered by the other rentable areas.[20]

The loss factor is often confused with load factor, but the formulas for each term vary.[21]

The loss factor is calculated as follows:

Loss Factor = (Rentable Area – Usable Area) / Rentable Area

The Building Owners and Managers Association has established a standard with American National Standards Institute, ANSI/BOMA Z65.1-2010 for measuring floor area and calculating gross leasable area and loss factor.[22]