There are many ways to develop land including–
plan of subdivision
long term land lease (maximum of 21 years in Ontario)
But one of the forms of ownership that I am coming around to liking more and more is the vacant land condominium. Why? Because:
-The Condo Act is well understood and serves to protect municipality, township or county as well as land buyers
-No Municipal Responsibility Agreement needed re provision of services since condo corp takes all responsibility for that including provision of adequate reserves for maintenance, repair and replacement
-Adequate reserve fund established for common elements like roadways, sidewalks, utilities, parks etc
-Sales agreement for new home in VLCP completed as soon as construction finished since unit already registered within condominium
-Common ownership of internal roadways, parkland, docks, boat launch, utilities, storm water management
-Can have either common ownership of water mains and sanitary sewers or individual wells and septic systems if lots are large enough
-Sharing of access to public roads and waterfront
-Can more easily incorporate principles of conservation subdivision design
-Superior organization vs cooperative or land lease
-Not term limited
-More affordable infrastructure for homeowners; subdivisions, for instance, require full municipal-standard internal roadways
-Easier to obtain mortgages for buyers as well as capital for developer
-Homes are freehold (fee simple) ownership with access to condominium road so mortgage financing is easier to obtain and all maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of individual homeowners
-Makes setting up and calculation of reserve fund requirements simpler since only roads, utilities are involved and depreciation schedules are readily available
-Developers (in Ontario) not required to post Tarion security to enroll land condominium
-Resale values have been good
-Excellent aesthetic control via restrictive covenants creates strong architectural continuity
postscript: here are three vacant land condo plans, 2 in Carleton Place and 1 in township of Rideau Lakes.
Errata: A reader tells me that he lives in North Ridge Manor, and it is not a VLCP.
Here is his comment:
There is some type of shared property here—a hybrid of sorts. The development agreement with the town has shared underground responsibilities (town: storm, private owners: water and sewer). All 23 homes (townhomes) are separately titled and privately held—a unit (townhome) comprises dwelling and the postage stamp of land that it stands on.
The common lands consist of the laneway (with its own title), grass and boundary fence. The common land title is legally bound to each and every private owners title; they each have a 1/23rd private owner’s interest. There is (supposedly) registered on each and every private owner’s title a document, called a co-tenancy agreement. This document covers the maintenance and management of the common lands. Condo is not mentioned.
The idea, however, needs a lot of work. Here is an example of current difficulties—trying to get two people to agree on any matter let alone 23 (and in reality, it’s 34) is futile. Add in age demographics, financial disparity, and education, and it becomes even worse.
Unfortunately, this wishy-washy development is currently (sadly) unworkable and speaks more to the motives of the developer. Conversations with decision makers in the town resulted in comments that this type of development will not be favored in the future.
Regards, [NAME WITHHELD]
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