Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
1) Facilities and space, such as recreation facilities, parking, laundry rooms, or a courtyard in condominiums, apartment buildings, and some cooperative housing projects. In rental properties, landlords are responsible for maintaining common areas in a safe condition. Common areas in condominiums are not individually owned by the residents, but shared by percentage interest or owned by the management organization. 2) The area in a shopping center or mall outside of the individual stores, for which each business pays a share of maintenance based on percentage of total store space occupied.