Are townhouses considered single or mutli-family units?
The classification of permits by single or multi family refer to the structural characteristics of the building not the ownership. The one-unit structure category includes fully detached, semidetached (semiattached, side-by-side), rowhouses, and townhouses, condominums etc.. In the case of attached units, each must be separated from the adjacent unit by a ground-to-roof wall in order to be classified as a one-unit structure. Also, these units must not share heating/air-conditioning systems or interstructural public utilities, such as water supply, power supply, or sewage disposal lines. Units built one on top of another and those built side-by-side which do not have a ground-to-roof wall and/or have common facilities (i.e., attic, basement, heating plant, plumbing, etc.) are classified by the number of units in the structure (i.e., two-unit structure, three-unit structure, etc.).
Ownership is not the criterion for structural classifications in the permits. A condominium apartment building is classified with apartment buildings in structures with five units or more, despite the fact that each unit is individually owned. Condominium townhouses may be in the one-unit category if each unit is separated from its neighbor by a ground-to-roof wall (no commonly shared interstructural facilities), or in the multiunit building categories if they are not separated from each other by a ground-to-roof wall (share interstructural facilities).
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