Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Townhouse complexes guide

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Craig Francis
A town house complex in the Corporate Area during final construction.
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Last week, I spoke about the strata lots and gated communities and their similarities and differences. However, I neglected to talk about town house complexes and some readers have asked me to address this. So here goes.

What is a town house?

A town house complex is usually a type of medium density housing area, with typically row housing (all attached) or semi-detached (attached to one other).

A town house complex normally has a small footprint and multiple floors. The town house is usually built as one of a group of similar houses with a common wall, or walls, bordering the adjacent unit.

The Strata Titles Act does not govern town house complexes there are exceptions to every rule, of course and they are treated like a regular property, governed under the Certificate of Titles Act.

So while the strata lot owners owns only the space they occupy and have shares in the common property, the town house owner owns his/her building and the surrounding property to the extent of their boundary.

In the town house complex, many times, you are allowed to fence your property to the extent of your boundary, but you should consult a land surveyor to demark or identify these.

Whereas you are not allowed to make modification to the strata lot, you are allowed to do so for most of the town house, unless otherwise prohibited by restrictive covenants.

 

MAINTENANCE FEES

 

Where there are security guards or sections that operate like common areas in a town house complex, it is the same as with a gated community and you are required to pay a maintenance fee.

But the law does not regulate this as the maintenance fees issue is covered by the Strata Titles Act.

Town houses would not fall under the ambit of this act. These are things that one needs to know when planning to buy.

This information should be known and processed when one is making a decision as to where to purchase a home.

It should be noted that strata complexes, gated communities and many town house complexes require that a maintenance fee be paid. It is critical, when considering a home purchase, if you will be able to meet the maintenance fee while paying your mortgage.

It must be noted that the maintenance fee is not a part of the mortgage. It is separate. So when you are assessing when and where to buy property, consider that a maintenance fee must be paid for particular developments and it will be in addition to the mortgage. Then you decide if you will be able to meet the financial responsibility monthly.

Keep sending our questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at craig_r_francis@yahoo.com or Precision Surveying Services