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Units, townhouses and apartments

If you’re thinking about buying a unit, townhouse or apartment, you might need to consider different things to a standalone house.

Understand what’s involved with shared-property ownership

Units, townhouses or apartments where there is a shared-property ownership arrangement can raise complex issues when it comes to thinking about repair or rebuild following a disaster. 

  • each unit, townhouse or apartment could have varying degrees of damage
  • owners might have different private insurers and levels of insurance for their unit or townhouse
  • where units or townhouses are physically joined, multiple owners might need to agree on a repair or rebuild strategy before work can begin following a natural disaster.

There are many other details to consider, so seek legal advice to help clarify the nature of the ownership arrangement and your rights and obligations before you buy a shared property.

Is the unit, townhouse or apartment building up to standard?

Ask the real estate agent or vendor if they have any information about the strength or construction of the building, including what percentage of the New Building Standard it meets. Your council might also have this information.

If a unit, townhouse or apartment building is listed on a council register as ‘earthquake prone’ it could require strengthening soon to bring it up to the standard, which might be costly. Councils are now required to assess the earthquake-prone level of all buildings that are two or more storeys high and include three or more residential units. 

Read more about Apartments and shared-properties here