Florida Statutes 718.103(2) shows that Association” means, in addition to any entity responsible for the operation of common elements owned in undivided shares by unit owners, any entity which operates or maintains other real property in which unit owners have use rights, where membership in the entity is composed exclusively of unit owners or their elected or appointed representatives and is a required condition of unit ownership.
Per 718.103(3) shows that “Association property” means that property, real and personal, which is owned or leased by, or is dedicated by a recorded plat to, the association for the use and benefit of its members. One way to view this is that condo owners will own their respective individual condo units and also have joint ownership, with other condo unit owners, of the buildings and grounds.
The part that seems to flummox many condo buyers is the last bit of 718.201(2), which shows that membership "is a required condition of unit ownership".
One distinction that is often misunderstood by condo owners is that a "condo association" is not the same type of entity as a "home owners association", often referred to as an HOA. A simple way to understand the distinction is that a condo association is for a condominium development where all the "homes" are condominium units within a building. A home owners association is for a residential development where the homeowners own their individual lots and that lot may contain a house or mobile home.
A key distinction in Florida is that the state laws that govern condominium associations are contained in the Florida Condominium Act, Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes. The state laws that govern homeowners associations are contained within the Florida Homeowners' Association Act, Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. Chapter 718 and chapter 720 are two distinct and separate acts.
Some condominiums developments contain more than one tier of association. There may exist "master", "community", "umbrella", or other associations with additional governance and costs.
Some Florida condo buyers wish they had better understood the additional association tiers over units and the associated costs and requirements of those additional association tiers.
Prospective Florida condo buyers should, if they don't understand condo associations, engage licensed and reputable attorneys and advisors to guide their buying decision.