Leasehold – Freehold – Co-op Ownership Explanasion

Saturday, October 29th, 2011



A freehold interest (also known as a fee simple) is the more precise term for what we ordinarily refer to as ownership of a property.  The owner of the freehold interest has full use and control of the land and the buildings on it, subject to any rights of the Crown, local land-use bylaws and any other restrictions in place at the time of purchase.


In some cases you might purchase the right to use a residential property for a long, but limited, period of time.  The owner of this right of use has a type of ownership called a leasehold interest.  This type of ownership is used most often for townhouses or apartments built on city-owned land.  It is also occasionally for single detached houses on farm land, on First Nations reserves, and for apartments where the owner of the freehold interest of an entire apartment block sells leasehold interests in individual apartment units to other owners. 

Leasehold interests are frequently set for periods of 99 years, but regardless of the length of the original term, you will only be able to purchase the remaining portion.  Of course, the shorter the remaining portion, the less you, or the person who eventually purchases from you, will be willing to pay for the leasehold interest


The strata form of ownership is designed to provide exclusive use and ownership of a specific housing unit (the strata lot) which is contained in a larger property (the strata project), plus shared use and ownership of the common areas such as halls, grounds, garages, elevators, etc. 

This type of ownership is used for homes, duplexes, apartment blocks, townhouse complexes, warehouses, and many other types of buildings.  Because ownership of the common space is shared, the owners also share financial responsibility for its maintenance such as the commonly owned roads, disposal system, landscaping, elevators, management, etc.


In the cooperative form of ownership, each owner owns a share in a company or cooperative venture, which, in turn, owns a property containing a number of housing units.  Each shareholder is assigned one particular unit in which to reside. 

Buying Your Home or Property

What Should YOU Purchase?

Before you begin looking for your new home, it is important that you consider the needs of all the people it must shelter. What their daily activities will be and their desire for a certain size or location, both now and in the future. 

Thinking about some of the following factors will help you determine where and what you should purchase.


  • Rural?  Small town? Suburban?  City?
  • What facilities are available: Shopping centers?  Places of worship?  Recreational facilities?  Hospitals?  Schools?
  • Are property taxes comparable to those in other communities? 
  • Are there any future developments planned which you may not like? 
  • Are the sewage and water systems adequate? 
  • What is the availability and cost of utilities: Electricity?  Gas?  Water? 
  • What public services are provided?  Police?  Fire protection?  Ambulance?  Garbage collection?  Mail delivery?  Snow removal? 


  • Is there nearby public transportation available? 
  • Do you mind a long commute to work or to visit friends?
  • Can you afford to drive and park at your workplace? 
  • Will another car be needed for your spouse to drive to work, to shop, or to take the children to school or other activities? 
  • Are major roads easily accessible?  


  • Is public and private property maintained to your satisfaction? 
  • What is the composition of families living nearby?  Quiet, mature people?  Teenagers?  Potential playmates for children?  Are their incomes and lifestyles compatible with yours?
  • Have property values risen, fallen, or remained stable in the recent past? 
  • Are there any known projects on the horizon that could substantially change the quality of the lifestyle or the property prices in the area?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the current zoning regulations?  Will they protect property values yet still allow you to use a dwelling in the way you envision?  Outdoor basketball hoops and barbecues?  Storing your boat?  A home-based business?  Keeping chickens, rabbits, horses?  Cutting trees?  High fences?  A basement suite? Etc., etc.
  • When you walk up and down the streets of the neighborhood, can you picture yourself living there for several years into the future? 


  • Are you interested in brand new only?  An historic, character house?  An already renovated resale?  A solid, older house that just needs redecorating?  Or can you purchase a fixer-upper and do major renovations yourself? 
  • What combination of space do you require?  Think not only about bedrooms, bathrooms and garages, but also about areas for hobby activities and childrens play; and storage for clothes, skis, bicycles, wind-surfers, tools, garden equipment, etc. 
  • Is a large well-equipped kitchen important to you?  How about a fireplace?  A large entrance hall?  A sundeck?  A pool? 
  • Would you prefer a small lawn and low-maintenance garden, or do you enjoy cutting grass and making things grow? 
  • Do you need a dwelling with room to eventually accommodate more children?  Elderly parents?  In-laws? 


  • What schooling is available?  Primary?  High School?  Adult evening programs?  College? 
  • How close are the schools and how do the children get there? 
  • Are the schools crowded?  Is the sports program satisfactory?  Do the students have a high achievement record? 
  • If your family has special educational needs, are these available


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