Read this post if you are considering buying a Duplex Property in BC.
What is a duplex?
A duplex is a type of multi-family home building where there are two connected properties that both have separate entrances on a single property. Each property is considered a duplex apartment.
Duplexes allow for the building of two smaller attached homes on a lot instead of a single large detached house. The result is they are less expensive to buy than a single new house. Interestingly, Duplexes can be secondary suites or lock-off units, thus providing secondary rental housing in areas.
Buying a Duplex Property in BC – Things to Consider.
- It’s a form of joint ownership. One of the key things to consider is that you are entering into a form of ‘joint ownership’ with a neighbour you may not even know. There are such things as ‘party walls’. If things shared jointly need maintaining or replacing and one side says ‘no’, this could down the road result in the need for litigation. Imagine being left to pay and needing to put a ‘builders lien’ on your neighbour!
- It is a Strata Corporation. Even though the ‘strata corporation’ is only made up of 2 strata lots (duplexes) they are required to abide by the rules & regulations of the Strata Property Act. While there is no one enforcing these Strata Property Act requirements, there can be serious risk implications if a Duplex is not following the Act.
- It may allow for sharing access to the property – is there a Party Wall Agreement? They can also be an easement to allow for access during periods of repairs and maintenance.
- Insurance – this is a big one. Unlike a condo where the building is insured by a Strata Insurance policy, the Duplex is insured by an individual homeowner. What if your neighbour doesn’t have insurance? Plus, even if there is insurance and there is a payout on a claim, a lender concerned about creditworthiness can scoop the insurance payment to pay out their mortgage. Can you rebuild just your half? More on Strata Insurance
Requirements of Duplex Strata Corporations
Key requirements that all strata corporations, including duplexes, must follow:
- Hold annual general meetings (AGMs)
- Elect a strata council
- Approve an annual budget
- Establish and contribute, through strata fees, to an operating fund & a contingency reserve fund (CRF).
- They must have bylaws.
- They must obtain and maintain property insurance on the common property, common assets, buildings shown on the strata plan, and fixtures built or installed on a strata lot if the fixtures are built or installed by the owner developer as part of the original construction on the strata lot.
More details can be found on the Government Website here
How to protect yourself when Buying a Duplex Property in BC?
- Legal advice – Talk through the potential risks to make sure you are comfortable in moving forward.
- Complete a document review – Use a professional Condo Document Review Company such as Condo Clear here in BC. My thanks go to them for some of the details in today’s blog post.
This article is for guidance purposes only and should not in any way be construed as legal or professional advice.
At all times you should contact your own Lawyer, who will be able to discuss the specifics of your individual purchase.
Trish’s Other Blog Posts
About Trish Cenci
Trish Cenci is a Residential Kelowna Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty. For 18 years, she has been building a successful real estate business and has established a reputation for being a highly respected, professional local Agent. She’s helped many clients, over the years, buy and sell properties in the area. One of her passionate beliefs is that clients should be well-informed when making real estate decisions, and she writes regular blog posts about the local Kelowna Real Estate Market.