Looking for Machiya to renovate? Before deciding on a property, consult with your architect to make a better-informed decision. Architects can provide on-site visual inspections, property document reviews, evaluative comments, and more.
Encroachments are so common in Machiya
Historically Kyoto has been a dense city. Most properties' frontages are so narrow, no wider than 18 ft (3 Ken). Buildings have been built tightly without side setback. Zero-lot-line buildings have been the norm which has come to be known as Machiya today.
Because of this zero-lot-line condition Machiya properties are prone to encroachments. For instance, Machiya's rake (roof overhangs on the gable side) projects over the adjacent roof. The side exterior walls also often encroach since property boundaries did not use to be precisely located.
The good news is that those encroachments are an accepted historical condition that usually presents no issue, as long as the property boundaries are confirmed by adjacent property owners.
But what if the some of the boundaries of the property you must buy are not confirmed? Oftentimes the boundary issue can be worked out by your cooperativeness along with the help from your Land & House Investigator who would mediate between you and the neighbor(s).
What Architects can do to help
In all cases it is crucial to share the property boundary information in entirety with your architect upfront so as not to worsen the issues down the road. Better yet, before deciding on a property to renovate, you might want to take advantage of your architect's evaluative comments based on property document review and on-site non-invasive visual inspections.