Whether semi-detached or row, the townhouse is a good compromise between the typical co-ownership apartment and the single-family home. This type of project is established in "horizontal co-ownership". Each of the fractions is composed of a private portion (usually a house) and a share of common portions (the land). Each co-owner is the owner of his private portion "from nadir to zenith", while the common portions are usually limited to traffic lanes, parking lots and certain strips of land. From a legal point of view, horizontal co-ownership has no special status. Horizontal co-ownerships are governed by the same rules set out in the Civil Code of Quebec that apply vertically (e.g. residential towers).
Any co-owner may have the relative value of their fraction, as well as the allocation of common expenses, revised according to certain conditions and formalities. To do so, it is necessary to proceed with an appeal to revise the relative value of the fractions. Furthermore, a co-owner may wish to modify the relative value of their fraction. Therefore, they will have to request the prior consent of the Board of directors or the general meeting of co-owners, depending on what is required.
This revision or modification of the relative value has an impact on the proportionate share of the right of ownership (which the co-owners hold in the common portions), the number of votes they can cast at the meeting of co-owners and the allocation of common expenses. On this question, Article 1064 of the Civil Code of Québec stipulates that: “Each co-owner contributes to the common expenses in proportion to the relative value of his fraction.”
The Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings differs from the private guarantee plans offered on the market by the nature of the guarantees offered and the mechanisms for asserting its rights. In this regard, the terms and conditions are set out in the the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings, which is the responsibility of the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ). Finally, unlike private guarantee plans, any purchaser of a building covered by this plan automatically benefits from it. As this is a system aimed at the minimum protection of consumers'rights, consumers cannot waive this mandatory guarantee, even if they sign a document to that effect.
By purchasing a condo (apartment) in a residential tower, you automatically become an owner in a vertical co-ownership. You can also be in a divided co-ownership, if you purchase a house (semi-detached or townhouse), built on the same lot than other individual homes. It is then called a horizontal co-ownership.
If this is the case, you may not be the sole owner of the land surrounding your home. You will therefore share with others the ownership of the private streets leading to the homes and common areas, and the common equipment such as the swimming pool and collective parking.