Most buildings have balconies, not terraces.
IStock / City Presse
Having an outdoor space can be a luxury in an urban area.
Rather than a garden, it is often necessary to be satisfied with a balcony or a terrace, in exchange for a substantial increase in the sale price of 8.8% on average, according to a survey published in spring 2020 by the platform. MeillAgents.com, and produced on the basis of more than 35,000 apartments sold in the eleven largest French cities.
In detail, while a balcony of less than 10 m2 leads to a price increase limited to 4.4%, the latter explodes at + 30% when the exterior surface exceeds 50 m2.
If the price increases with the square meters, a terrace is generally more valued than a balcony.
But do you know how to distinguish the two?
A question of architecture
Surprisingly, the law does not regulate the use of these terms, which are nevertheless used indiscriminately, and lead to a great deal of confusion.
It is therefore necessary to look for their definition in the dictionary.
And, contrary to popular belief, the difference is not in the area but in the architecture.
A terrace can thus be much smaller than a balcony and extend lengthwise or not.
What matters is the method of construction.
Architecturally, a terrace necessarily rests on a surface and must be partially uncovered.
In a building, it is therefore necessarily fitted out on the ground floor, in the form of a median adjoining the building or not, or on the top floor in the case of a roof terrace.
Conversely, the balcony is designed as an extension of the facade delimited by a railing or a balustrade and served by one or more French windows.
From a visual point of view, it appears as an outward projection with three sides, all suspended in the air.
However, loggias are increasingly replacing balconies in new constructions.
They are in the form of a covered recess set back from the front and at least one face of which is closed.
A different status
These various terminologies do not imply the same legal status.
In general, balconies and loggias correspond to private parts, since each structure is only connected to one apartment.
On the other hand, terraces are most often defined as common areas, the use and maintenance of which are therefore subject to the co-ownership regulations.
However, when only one dwelling has access to it, it is possible to obtain an exclusive right of use, temporary or permanent, attached to a lot, which can be an important element of valuation in the event of sale, where a balcony relates more to amenity equipment.
Whether you have a balcony or a terrace, know that the condominium regulations limit your possibilities of development.
So remember to consult it before undertaking major work.
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