Purchasers tend to have pretty strong views on ground-floor condos. Regardless if it in a two storey low-rise building or a thirty storey skyscraper, ground floor condo units (units with direct access through one or more doors to the outside of the building, but which also have common hallway access) speak to a certain type of buyer.

The main selling features of a ground-floor entry condo include:

1. The look and feel of a townhome, without the price tag. Similarly sized ground-level condo units typically fetch far less on a dollar-per-square-foot basis relative to townhomes.

2. Yard access. While not a hard-and-fast rule, most ground-level condos come with some measure of yard space. Although that yard space is often designated as common property or limited common property, in practice, yard space directly in front of a ground-level condo often functions as a private garden.

However, ground-floor entry condos do come with their drawbacks, as well, namely:

1. Privacy. Being at ground level means that anyone walking past on the street or on common property surrounding the development have a straight shot to peer into your home. Depending on how busy the surrounding area is, having to keep your drapes or blinds closed during the daytime might be necessary to maintain privacy.

2. Security. Given that ground-floor entry condos are at street level, the possibility of theft from such units is typically much greater than for upper level units. Most condo units do not come with a security system at the time of original construction. However, many owners of ground-level condo units choose to make this upgrade to ensure that their space is secure—much as one would expect from the owner of a detached home.

While this article provides a nice synopsis of the key features underlying whether or not ground-floor condo living is a viable option for an average purchaser, there are countless other factors that might play in to one’s decision of whether or not a ground-level condo unit is the right choice for them.

If you have questions about the market or would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article, feel free to send me an email or drop me a line—I’d love to chat. I’m a Vancouver Realtor who is an expert in residential real estate and sell extensively condominiums, townhomes and detached homes.

In the context of strata property, not all land is created equal.

According to the Strata Property Act [SBC 1998], Common Property is defined as:

(a) that part of the land and buildings shown on a strata plan that is not part of a strata lot, and
(b) pipes, wires, cables, chutes, ducts and other facilities for the passage or provision of water, sewage, drainage, gas, oil, electricity, telephone, radio, television, garbage, heating and cooling systems, or other similar services, if they are located
   (i) within a floor, wall or ceiling that forms a boundary
      (A) between a strata lot and another strata lot,
      (B) between a strata lot and the common property, or
      (C) between a strata lot or common property and another parcel of land, or
  (ii) wholly or partially within a strata lot, if they are capable of being and intended to be used in connection with the enjoyment of another strata lot or the common property;

Conversely, Limited Common Property (often abbreviated LCP), represents common property designated for the exclusive use of the owners of one or more strata lots.

The key difference between common property and limited common property thus lies in who has the right to use the common asset (e.g., the patio, balcony, roof deck or back yard in question). It’s important to note that regardless if an asset is deemed common or limited common property, in principle the asset would still be collectively owned by all owners of the strata corporation.

In the case of limited common property, the owner of a particular strata lot is said to have “exclusive benefit of use” over that asset.

An asset that comes with an exclusive benefit of use does come with its drawbacks however. The owner of the limited common property is also typically required to conduct regular maintenance on that asset. That means that all sweeping, cleaning, and other routine, basic maintenance of that asset falls squarely on the shoulders of that one particular owner.

Although the bylaws can differ from one strata to the next, it’s commonplace that for more involved or complicated maintenances, the strata will take responsibility over both coordinating the repairs and footing the bill. It’s important to note that the margin between “routine repairs” and “extraordinary repairs” is not always clear, so if you have concerns about how maintenance of your limited common property is interpreted, it’s important that you consult your strata’s bylaws.

If you have questions about the market or would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article, feel free to send me an email or drop me a line—I’d love to chat. I’m a Vancouver Realtor who is an expert in residential real estate and sell extensively condominiums, townhomes and detached homes.

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