Rowhome construction has a long and rich history in eastern Canada, the USA (like the Brownstones in New York City), offering its owner’s strata-free home ownership. A collective ownership structure common in townhouse developments is discouraging to many owners who like to control their own home maintenance. Strata-ownership can also be a psychological barrier to those people who like to feel they truly “own” their properties from the ground to rooftop, rather than buying abstract communal rights or airspace.
Until recently, fee simple attached homes were not permitted in B.C. due to the lack of party wall legislation (the wall you share with your next-door neighbour). This has now been approved and this new style of home ownership is bound to take off in the Nanaimo area!
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Frequently Asked Questions
What does "strata" ownership" and "fee simple" ownership mean?
The big difference between strata and non-strata (fee simple or freehold) attached housing is what the owner can and cannot do with their property. Ownership in a typical townhouse or apartment is dictated by the strata-ownership system. Stratas
allows, and even forces, owners to re-pay for repairs and landscaping and many decisions from pet ownership to gardening choices have to be approved by the strata council. in a strata unit you are not allowed (usually) to make any changes that will affect the appearance of the building. This includes painting the outside, planting new plants or changing window coverings. With Fee Simple ownership that Rowhomes offer, each home is considered a stand-alone home and not part of a larger building. You can do pretty much what you like to your portion of the building. Fee Simple means NO strata fees, NO strata council meetings and NO restrictions on ownership. It's just that simple!
What is the difference between a townhouse and a Rowhome?
In Nanaimo, there are many townhouse developments which are multi-unit, having their own outside entry and look very much like a Rowhome. In a traditional strata built townhouse, anything to do with the common building portion will always be covered with the strata. So if a water main bursts outside of a particular unit it is not the responsibility of the owner, it is the responsibility of the strata. When units are built like this, to cut costs builders will group water, sewer and other utilities together and need not be specific to a particular unit or owner and thus all the costs are shared.
The construction of a Rowhome is much different, though it may be hard to tell by looking at it from the outside. Each home of a Rownhome development has its own utility lines (sewer, water, electrical and gas) entering each home. That means if there are 3 homes, there will be 3 separate sewer and water connections. So if a water main burst it will only be one home (the onw with the burst water main) that is affected. Individual utility lines increase cost of construction and that is usually why Rowhomes are 5-10% more than a traditional townhouse of equal size and design (but remember no strata fees to pay).
Is the roof considered common property?
Rowhomes have separate roofs for each unit, so the owner is only responsible for the repair and maintenance of their own roof. It is unlikely you will have to worry about the roof for some time as there is a 25 year warranty!
What is a Party Wall? I worry about the noise from my neighbours.
A Party Wall is the wall you share with your next-door neighbour and our Northfield homes are built with excellent Party Walls. Instead of a 2x4 wood frame wall typically used in townhouses, we use concrete in our Party Walls. The concrete Party Walls give superior sound and fire proofing as well as better insulation (check it out at www.reddiform.com). This is just another example of our commitment to combine superior value and affordable home pricing.