Everyone is familiar with condomiums, but [TEXT ILLEGIBLE]

Typically, a planned unit developments a group of town houses in which each unit owner owns a house and the land under it. The unique part is that each unit owner, by reason of this ownership, also is an automatic and mandatory member of an owners association, which in turn owns some common areas. The common areas might be as minimal as a few green spaces or might include swimming pools, golf courses, clubhouses, or streets.

Planned unit developments have been around a long time. One project in London's Leicester Square, goes back to 1743 and Louisburg Square in Boston, was started in 1826. Venerable as the concept is, the PUD is an idea whose time has clearly come.

In its most complex modern form, the PUD includes all kinds of structures, including detached homes, town houses, condominium projects, rental buildings and schools. Reston and Columbia, which amount to cities are examples of the concept expanded to the maximum. A development [TEXT ILLEGIBLE] The difference is in the relationship of the unit to the common areas. Condominium owners own an interest in the common areas; including the land under the project and its amenitites.

The owners association of a condomium project usually owns nothing as an association, but is also responsible for seeing that the project is properly managed. In legal terms, the distinction between PUDs and condominiums is important. In terms of living in a close community, with all the attendant advantages and disadvantages there often is no difference.

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There is one basic disadvantage for the holder of very large PUDs front end costs the money it takes for land acquisition and the construction of common facilities in the initial stages of a project.

A lot of units have to be sold before, such projects are in the black. This takes time. It is also the reason why many basically sound projects end up in troube.

Accordingly, many sages in the housing industry believe that truly large PUDs with extensive facilities are a thing of the past.

Robert B. Joselow is an attorney with the Federal National Mortgage Association in Washington.