A condominium, often shortened to condo in the United States and in most Canadian provinces, is a type of living space similar to an apartment but independently sellable and therefore regarded as real estate. The condominium building structure is divided into several units that are each separately owned, surrounded by common areas that are jointly owned. Condominiums are a type of common-interest development (CID). Similar concepts in other English-speaking countries include strata title in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the Canadian province of British Columbia; commonhold in the United Kingdom; and sectional title in South Africa.
Residential condominiums are frequently constructed as ordinary 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, corridors, building exteriors, and streets as well as any recreational facilities (like a pool or pools, bowling alley, tennis courts, golf course, etc), 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 corridors/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.
Italy uses condominio, which is simply the modern Italian form of condominium. Both condo and condominium are used colloquially in the Canadian province of Quebec, where the official term is divided co-ownership. In France, the term is simply copropriété ("co-property"), and the common areas of these properties are usually managed by a Syndicat de copropriété, or "co-property union" ("union" in the sense of "association").
Spanish-speaking Latin American nations often use the term propiedad horizontal, literally meaning "horizontal property" but abstractly meaning that all owners of the property have equal interest. The word condominio is also used. In Spain, the legal term is comunidad de propietarios and the popular term is comunidad de vecinos.
New York’s Condominium Act was passed in 1964. The first condominium building was the St. Tropez Condominium in Manhattan built in 1965.