Florida’s real estate market continues to be hot. If you are not yet financially ready to purchase a single-family home, you may find a condo or rowhome within your budget. These dwellings often make excellent starter homes, as you may be able to use appreciation as a down payment on your next house.
Before you purchase a condo or rowhouse, you probably want to consider your obligations as the partial owner of a party wall. A party wall is a barrier between two residences with separate owners or renters. These walls may be interior or exterior.
What does a party wall do?
The party wall serves a few important functions. First, it acts as a separation between residences, allowing both owners to know precisely where their property begins and ends. Second, depending on the nature of the party wall, it may act as a fire, flood or sound barrier. Finally, the party wall may provide structural support to the entire building.
Why must party walls remain intact?
If your new home has at least one party wall, keeping the wall in good condition likely serves your interests and the interests of other owners. After all, modifications to the party wall or the destruction of it may cause damage to the entire building.
How do you know your rights?
Buildings with party walls usually have existing party wall agreements. These agreements outline your responsibilities for maintaining and improving the wall. Your agreement may also limit both your renovation possibilities and your options for resolving disputes with other party wall owners.
Ultimately, before closing on a condo or rowhouse, it is critical to inspect the party wall and to understand the intricacies of the party wall agreement.