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Duplex houses

Pros & Cons of Multi Family Living

Living in a home that is attached to another home has advantages and disadvantages. Some have likened it to being stuck on a boat with another family

However, it can offer many advantages. The more people in the boat means less rowing for you. What am I talking about? Living under the same roof as your neighbor can mean overall cheaper expenses. IE improvements, renovations, and utilities.

In this article, we would like to share some tips that will help you to get the most out of living in a duplex, triplex, or four-plex. Including:

  • Proper Communication
  • Know Your Bylaws
  • Sharing Maintenance Expenses
  • Golden Rule

Proper Communication

Communication between you and your neighbor needs to happen. Avoid fighting with your neighbor otherwise, you’ll always be fighting.

man screaming on phone

Remember to talk to the right person. You don’t deal with the renter, you deal with the owner. So as soon as you move in ask for the owners contact information. 

Get to know your neighbours communication language. Its easy to assume that the way we communicate is they way they would appreciate to spoken to.

How do you figure this out?

Simply by, getting to know you’re neighbour. Inviting them over for dinner, have them for a glass of wine. In the world we live, we put up a character defences in order to protect ourselves. The only way we can get around that is to build trust.

There more we are interested in our neighbour the more they will care.

What should you discuss with your neighbour?

There are things that are shared and things that are not. It’s very important to be in unison with shared maintenance on your home before the needs arise.

Since you are connected, a leak that occurs on Joe’s side could damage your side of the roof. Like it or not, the reality is you’re connected. Therefore, maintenance and cleaning should be done together.

Communication is also essential when you are buying new.

When a duplex or triplex is built, often builders will install only one eavestrough system, cause it’s cheaper and easier. They do what’s best for them, not for you.

It is best to have a separate eavestrough. This will save you money and keep your investment safer if your neighbors don’t keep up with maintenance. If communicating fails we can assist you by adding partitions between your eavestrough and your neighbors and also additional downspouts. However, it should be noted that this is not always in your own best interest or even possible. 

Know Your Bylaws

Owning your own home, especially a shared home entails knowing your city bylaws. For example, if you decide to build a fence or driveway make sure it is not infringing on your neighbors yard.

What if you moved in after it was done?

I had a client with a new neighbor in Rockcliffe Park. This new neighbor thought that just because they had a lot of money they could tell others what to do. It wasn’t long before they discovered that my client’s driveway was on their property line. However, thanks to my neighbor’s understanding of the by-laws they were able to protect themselves. It had been over 30 years since their driveway was built and as such a grandfather clause allowed them to keep their driveway intact.  

Check the bylaws you may be eligible for the grandfather clause. Which may protect you from needless work.

Just because you have a grouchy neighbor, doesn’t mean you have to jump when they say jump. Protect yourself by knowing the bylaws.

It is not just about affordability its also about accountability.

Sharing Maintenance Expenses

The more in unison you and your neighbors the better price you get for services. Buying in bulk is cheaper. Anything you do to your side, notify your neighbors as you could save money if you called and got everyone in on the service. 

Simply, if you look out for your neighbor there is a good chance they will look after you.

One way to look out for each other’s interests is to spell out details in writing, including what your money will be used for. It may be wise to have the contract drawn up or looked over by a notary.

A good word of wisdom is to have a budget of sorts. I have neighbors that have a minimum pre-agreed budget of 1000 dollars for the maintenance of both properties

Golden Rule

We all have heard of the golden rule. Maybe you yourself have seen the impact of applying the golden rule. If everyone lived by it, the world would be a different place. Treating others the way we want to be treated dignifies others, however, it’s not only what we want for ourselves but also what our neighbor wants.  

This principle if applied can have positive effects when living under the same roof. It can create a peaceful atmosphere for communication, honesty, and fairness.

Man wearing a cap

These 3 pillars are essential if your largest investment is going to hold its value and stay maintained. So although it’s easier to think about “Me” first, try looking out for your neighbor, you may be surprised at the results.


Hopefully, these 4 suggestions will help you in your shared living experience. If you have any good tips for living under the same roof, let us know by leaving us a comment, we would love to hear your feedback.

Clear Ottawa would be happy to help you get the most out of your shared living arrangement. We offer quality workmanship and our motto is we want what’s best for you. Talk to your neighbor and give us call, we care about your home as much as we would want you to care for ours.

Contact Clear Ottawa Windows Today!