Home Ownership Types in BC

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Home Ownership Types in BC

While there are many different types of home ownership in Canada I thought it would be worthwhile to review the four most common: Freehold Ownership, Strata title, Leasehold and Co-operative Ownership. Here is a quick summary of each type of ownership:

Freehold Ownership

This type of ownership is likely still the preferred type of ownership for most. Many of us grew up thinking about a bungalow with white picket fence or perhaps something more modern with a great pool in the back – either way, we envisioned a building with yard around. You can simply define freehold ownership as owning the building and grounds it rests upon. As the most common type of home ownership in Canada, it offers the most freedom of choice, from building design to yard work, whatever you can imagine you can create; at least that is, within zoning, bylaw and permit limitations of the city to which you live. Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of the building interior, exterior and yard including its costs.

Want a little less responsibility? Perhaps the next type of homeownership is for you.

Strata Title

Strata ownership, particularly in Metro Vancouver, is increasingly common. With strata ownership you have exclusive use and ownership of a specific unit/lot which is part of a larger building/lot. Homeowners, under strata ownership laws, share ownership of common property within the property limits, this may include, but not limited to parking, building entrances and exits, hallways, amenity rooms and equipment. However the homeowner retains full ownership of all interior elements of the unit to which they live. The costs associated to common property is shared by all owners. This type of ownership is often found in townhouse communities or multi-family dwellings although detached (single family) homes can also be stratified. Unlike freehold ownership, strata ownership is often subject to more rules and regulations set forth by the strata council formed by a selected group of owners within the property.

Leasehold

In Metro Vancouver leasehold ownership is most commonly found on university lands such as UBC and SFU as well as First Nation reserve land. Leasehold interest in land gives you the exclusive use of the home/unit for a period of time so that you live in the home similarly to strata title or freehold but with a time limit. Original leasehold ownership is often set at 99 years but if you choose to sell your home in five years the next owner will have leasehold interest now for 94 years and so on. The closer you get to the end of the lease the more risk is involved depending on what the owner intends to do with the land/homes (ie: either resell a leasehold interest, redevelop, etc.).

Co-operative Ownership

In many ways, co-operative ownership is much like a strata ownership but instead of owning the interior elements of the property you live in, you own shares of the entire building or complex. Those that live within a Co-operative ownership (also known as a co-op) pay for maintenance and repairs of the property and building through monthly fees. Owners are also subject to rules and regulations of the co-op board which is created in the same manner as a strata council by selecting owners within the co-op to form a council and manage the building.

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