Everything you need to know about Condo Living: The Nitty Gritty
Condo living is an extremely popular lifestyle choice, and is frequently chosen for convenience, and also practicality. We here at Home Love know a thing or two about it. We often get asked several questions about the rights and responsibilities of Condo ownership. Questions such as what their monthly payments cover, how does it differ from renting, and what is required by them, the homeowner. The Government of Ontario has a great website, that outlines the rights and responsibilities of Condo owners.
Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions outlined from Ontario.ca.
As the owner of a condo unit you can:
- vote at owners’ meetings
- elect board members
- review corporation records (e.g., financial statements, meeting minutes) as long as your request is put in writing and gives reasonable notice
- request a meeting of owners and request that an issue be added to a meeting agenda (e.g., the agenda for the annual general meeting)
- get a court order to make the corporation carry out a duty required under the Condominium Act
- remove a director from the board with a majority of votes
As the owner of a condo unit you must:
- pay your monthly condo fees, including any special assessments, chargebacks or liens
- maintain and repair your unit (according to the condominium declaration, by-laws and rules)
- follow the condominium’s declaration, by-laws and rules
- resolve disputes through discussion, mediation, arbitration or court order
- elect a board to govern the condominium property and run the corporation
Maintenance and repairs
There are 2 general types of repairs in a condominium property:
- repairs to your individual unit
- repairs to the common elements
You should keep in mind that condo corporations have to carry certain insurance, which may affect repair and maintenance. Any insurance that you choose to get for your unit may also affect your repair and maintenance responsibilities.
Repairs inside an individual unit
Unit owners are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and repair of their units.
In many condominiums, the electrical and plumbing equipment behind the wall that only services the owner’s unit is also the owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair.
Check your condominium declaration for a definition of unit boundaries and to understand what you are responsible to maintain and repair.
If there is damage inside a unit (e.g., there is a flood from a unit above), owners should contact the condo property manager or board of directors to see who is responsible and for what. If an owner has chosen to have insurance for his or her unit, he or she should also consider contacting their insurance company. Owners should note that time may be a factor in these cases.
If repairs must be made inside a unit (e.g., if a sink doesn’t drain), owners should read the condominium declaration and by-laws to understand their responsibilities. Generally, the Condominium Act requires that owners have things repaired in a reasonable time.
Repairs to the common elements
Generally, the condo corporation is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and repairs to common elements.
Common elements are all the parts of a condominium property that are outside the boundaries of the units. The boundaries between units and common elements are set out in the condominium declaration and the condominium’s description (i.e. the plans of the condominium). The common elements can include things like parks, roads, landscaped gardens, lawns and trees, elevators, hallways, parking areas or exercise facilities.
The condo corporation uses the funds from the monthly condo fees to operate the condominium, and that includes maintenance and repair of most of the common elements.
Often, the condo board of directors will hire a professional condo manager to help carry out these duties. For example, if the lobby needs maintenance, the condominium corporation must maintain it with the cost shared by all of the owners as a common expense.
Exclusive-use common elements, like balconies and backyards that are used by only one or just a few owners, are generally maintained by the unit owners who have the exclusive use.
Overall, condo corporations must keep the property in good repair to maintain its value…”
Located on Ontario.ca, there is a much more extensive outline, available here to read. Also, we are always available at any time, to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us at any time. Email: HomeLoveHamilton@gmail.com, Phone: 905-648-3000.