Condo, townhouse not the same

Q: What constitutes your residence as a condominium? (During) my first six years at my residence at Boulder Court, my insurance was based on it being a condo. Now, the rate doubled because it was said to be a townhouse. I would appreciate any clarification on this. Thank You.

A: I’m happy to take a shot at answering your question as best I can.

However, you may also want to contact your insurance company and perhaps your homeowner association, assuming that you have one, for your property.

The differences between a condominium and a townhome can indeed be subtle and even confusing at times.

In general, condos can have adjoining units upstairs or downstairs, while townhomes do not. Think of a high-rise condo tower, for instance.

On the other hand, townhomes may share side or back walls with neighboring units. They often have garages and small exterior yards, individual courtyards or similar spaces for the private use of the unit owner, who is then responsible for maintaining these spaces.

In a condo, if there’s a fire or flood that damages your property, you’re generally only responsible for the drywall and everything inside the condo unit.

In a condo, your HOA fees generally cover insurance for the exterior of the building, whereas in a townhome, you’re responsible for insuring the entire unit, inside and out.

Your HOAs covenants, conditions and restrictions will tell you what areas are the responsibility of your HOA. You can ask your HOA for a copy of these documents if you do not already have one.

In a townhome, you’re usually responsible for the outside walls and almost any sort of damage to your individual unit.

Assuming that’s the case with your property, that may explain why your insurance rates went up.

I can’t speak to your specific situation without knowing more details.

But it’s possible that your property may have been misclassified all this time as a condo when it really should have been considered a townhome.

Look on the bright side.

You apparently saved a substantial amount of money on your insurance bill for six years.

If that’s not the case, that’s all the more reason for you to contact your HOA and insurance agent.

Thanks for your question, and thanks for reading these columns. I hope this helps you.

As always, please send your real estate questions to me at so I can answer them in this space.

Dave Tina is the 2013 president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has worked in the real estate industry for more than 35 years. GLVAR has more than 11,000 members. E-mail questions to For more information, visit