The standard definition of a condominium unit is airspace bounded by the unfinished surfaces of perimeter walls, ceilings and floors. Anything inside that airspace is an improvement to and becomes part of the unit. This includes paint and wallpaper on walls; carpet, tile and hardwood on floors; kitchen cabinets and countertops; lighting fixtures; and plumbing fixtures such as toilets, tubs and sinks.
A shower pan is installed on top of the unfinished floor of a unit. (See How to install a shower pan.) That means shower pans are inside the boundaries of a unit. As such, they are not common area nor exclusive use common area. Instead, shower pans are part of the unit and the responsibility of unit owners to maintain, repair and replace. (Civ. Code § 4775(a)(2).)
Recommendation: To minimize disputes and potential litigation, condominium associations should have legal counsel prepare a maintenance chart describing the respective maintenance obligations of the association and members. It helps everyone understand their duties. In addition, many associations need to amend their CC&Rs. When we restate CC&Rs we include extensive language related to maintenance obligations.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.