Town homes -- or often called Villas -- are praised by sellers and developers for easy living and "no hassle" maintenance. Nothing is further from the truth. When you buy a town home, all you really buy is a piece of paper telling you that you are the owner and that you purchased the right to pay the association dues, special assessments, and the property tax -- and that you have the right to live inside -- with limitations! But in reality the association holds all the rights to make decisions regarding "your home" -- which may even include the right to tell you the color of the blinds in your windows.
Town homes create lots of problems for owners. Despite the fact that the actual home and property are deeded to the owner, many associations take away vested rights in their deed restrictions, starting with exterior maintenance -- like painting -- to roof repair and pressure washing. Insurance for town home communities is a very difficult issue, since many associations hold the insurance policies. Then the association often collects from the insurance company after damages occur, but fails to pay the owner for repairs. The homeowners in Nature Watch suffered irreparable damages after several lawsuits. Read the sad story here:
question in town home communities is always: What is the EXTERIOR:
Watch Homeowners vs. EAGLES' RESERVE HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION, INC.,
a/k/a Nature's Watch (Case
No. 2D01-4727) Florida
Second District Court of Appeals - 01-16-2006}
If you consider buying a town home, please think twice to determine if that's really what you want. Do you really want to pay the mortgage without having the right to decide what happens with your home? And if your association board is making mistakes -- master property insurance policy -- you will be the one paying the price whether you can afford it or not!
Considering that the Florida Statutes that regulate condominium associations and homeowners' associations can be confusing enough -- with a town home you're caught in the middle. A town home is a little of both, open to interpretation by everybody who likes to take a shot! This often leaves owners with the question: Wouldn’t I be better off to just rent such a place?
are many problems with town homes, especially in a master association. See
Argoff, ET AL., v. Rainberry Bay Homes Ass., Inc.