St Lucia Multi-family Ownership Options
What is a condominium?
Condominiums usually resemble apartments, but may take the form of ground-oriented townhouses. Newer condominiums are purpose built, with individual units made available as rental apartments by their owners. In some cases, older condominium apartment buildings were constructed as purpose-built rental units, but converted to ownership. The distinguishing feature of condominium ownership is that the unit itself is owned by an individual (often with a mortgage) but all shared elements are owned by a corporation of unit owners. In a standard condominium tenure, the unit owner possesses the internal space of their unit. The condominium corporation, of which every owner is a member, owns the land on the exterior of the building and common areas. Common areas include essential features like hallways, staircases, elevators and utility corridors, as well as amenities including swimming pools, gyms, and common rooms, where these exist. Where parking spaces are privately owned, driving lanes and associated parking facilities are commonly owned..
What is a freehold townhouse?
Freehold townhouses are often discussed alongside condominiums and even colloquially referred to as such but are fundamentally different. Whereas the owner of a condominium only owns the interior of a unit, a freehold owner owns the home itself and the plot of land it sits on. Freehold tenure can apply to any ground-oriented dwelling, including detached single-family homes, semi-detached homes, or townhouses.
What is cooperative housing?
Housing cooperatives rely on shared ownership of a development without private ownership of a unit, with variations in how this model is applied. In general, they are viewed as a sort of hybrid between rental and ownership, with many of the benefits and drawbacks of each. Housing cooperatives are often considered a form of social housing in the Caribbean context because this type of tenure helps low-income households access adequate housing.
Schemes known as rent-to-own, rent-to-buy, or renting with the option to buy combine the advantages of renting and homeownership by channeling a portion of the rent towards the possible purchase of the property.
In St Lucia there is a possibility of “lifetime enjoyment” ofland owned by the Crown. In the Saint Lucian context, “lifetime enjoyment” does not carry any form of rent or payment. The closest existing legislative arrangement to achieve this would be an emphyteutic lease, a lease by the State for a period of ninety-nine (99) years. The Civil Code provides that an emphyteutic lessee has all the rights of an owner for the duration of the lease and can alienate the property, but only for the duration of the term.