May 10, 2021
What is a Non-Strata Row Home?
Real estate is a hot topic in Metro Vancouver and for good reason! One highly debated matter is “The Missing Middle” which refers to housing that is bigger than a condo but smaller and more affordable than a single family detached home. It’s said the “Missing Middle” housing could help address the housing shortage and affordability, but what exactly is it? The answer: Townhomes, duplexes and row homes.
Most are familiar with townhomes and duplexes but many are unfamiliar with non-strata row homes. Every time we launch a new non-strata row home community for sale, we get asked the same few questions which we’ll try our best to address here.
What is a non-strata row home and how does it differ from a townhome?
In short, a row home is essentially a townhome but with no strata corporation and therefore no monthly strata-fees, which is why they are called “non-strata” or “freehold” row homes.
Non-strata row homes are a popular form of housing in Europe and often consists of duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. As a row home owner, you own both the structure and the land it sits on including the yard and patios (unlike a townhome where you only own the structure and the land it directly sits on – the yard and patios are often classified as limited common property).
Without a strata corporation, row home owners are “the king of their castle” but this often leads to the next frequently asked question…
If there is no strata corporation, how do homeowners decide and share the cost of maintenance?
The simplified answer? Owners must talk to their neighbours and collectively decide on what and how to get something done. For example, if the gutters of a triplex need cleaning, all three homeowners need to mutually decide what to do. They can hire a professional gutter cleaning service and split the cost three ways or could decide to DIY and spend a weekend cleaning the gutters themselves. You can see why it’s important as a non-strata row home owner (or a decent human being) to maintain good relations with your neighbours. You’re now probably wondering…
What if I have a difficult and uncooperative neighbour?
We wish we could say everyone gets along but realistically that’s not always the case. That’s why all purchasers who buy a non-strata row home from us are required to sign an Addendum forming part of their Contract of Purchase and Sale stating:
“Purchaser(s) acknowledge the property shares a common wall with the adjacent property and the title is subject to a rowhome easement setting out the owner’s obligation to maintain and share in any costs relating to the maintenance and repair of any common elements of the building the lot shares with adjacent lots including common walls, perimeter drains, roof sheathing, exterior siding, gutters, and downspouts.”
In the rare instance a neighbouring owner is being difficult with shared maintenance or repairs, owners can legally reference this Addendum.
What are the benefits of owning a non-strata row home?
We hope the legal jargon above didn’t scare you away from considering a non-strata row home as there are plenty of benefits to owning one, including:
- No strata corporation, meaning no monthly strata fees
- Freedom to update your home such as changing out flooring, tile, etc. without approval
- Offers the autonomy of single family home living at a more affordable price point
- Generally larger than a typical townhome
- Often located in more walkable neighbourhoods close to amenities, shops, and services
After reading this, if you decide a non-strata row home isn’t for you and prefer living in a townhome, check out our sister company StreetSide Developments Vancouver who focuses on building multifamily condos and townhomes across Metro Vancouver.