Vacation Homes/Who owns it?



In a property that is owned by a corporation, and the people living in the separately built units are called "lessee" and the corporation is called "Lesser".

Is the "Lesse" considered the "owner" of the unit that he lives in? And who owns the property that the separately built unit lies on? Does that belong to the owner of the unit  or is that also owned by all shareholders?

Which part of the property is considered common ground that all the shareholders own?

Thank you

Hi, Jay,

I'm not sure I have enough information to answer your question about a specific property to which you may be referring.  But let me make some general comments that may apply.  Usually, a property that is set up as you described is a stock cooperative, or a "co-op."  Each "owner" owns stock in the corporation, and each has a legal right to occupy a particular unit in the project and use it as his own.  The corporation typically has an agreement regarding the use of the individual units, in which the occupant may be described as the Lessee.  The Lessee typically has similar rights of use to those rights of a condominium owner in a condominium complex. In the case of a co-op, the corporation and its shareholders who own the building may or may not also own the ground on which the building is built.  The building may have been built by the owner of the ground, who may have sold shares of the corporation that include the ground, or the corporation may have a long-term lease on the ground on which it erected a building, formed a corporation, and sold shares in just the building (which would naturally be less expensive than if it included the ground).  

As to which part of the property is considered common area, typically any common hallways, stairwells, common patio areas, game rooms, etc. would be common areas owned and shared by all.  If the corporation owns the ground on which the building is built, the common areas may also include exterior areas, such as lawns, gardens, and sidewalks.  Or if the corporation leases the ground, those same exterior areas may be part of the leased space that is shared by the stockholders.

One additional note:  Stock owned as part of a stock cooperative is personal property, unlike other interests in real estate that are typically real property.

I hope I have given you enough information so that you can apply it to your situation and discern the answers to your individual circumstance.  If you have any follow up, I will try to address it.

Best wishes!

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Jan Leasure


I can answer questions about the ins and outs of vacation home ownership and the rental of vacation homes. I have managed residential rental property since 1983, both for myself and for others. I have taught property management and provided seminars and training at the local, state and national levels.


I am a licensed real estate broker in California. I have managed vacation homes for myself and for others for over 25 years. I currently am the managing broker at Monterey Bay Property Management.

I am a member of the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, and the Vacation Rental Managers' Association, among others.

Articles I have written currently appear at and have appeared in a number of real estate and property management publications.

Bachelor's degree, two masters' degrees, and most importantly, the School of Hard Knocks!

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