Monday Apr 30th, 2018
Condos are becoming more and more popular in the GTA and Golden Horseshoe areas. Ontario’s first condo was registered in Toronto in 1967 and now over half of Toronto’s population live in condos. Whether you are a first-time buyer struggling to get into the housing market or an empty nester who needs less room and wants less maintenance chores, a condo can be a viable alternative. If you are considering the purchase of a condo, you should be aware of what a condo is and how condo living can affect your lifestyle.
What is a Condominium?
A condominium is a form of ownership where individuals units and all unit owners jointly own the common areas. All of the owners are members of the condominium corporation which is the entity created by the registration of the condominium plan.
Common areas are the parts of the condo corporation that are jointly owned by the individual unit holders and include the lobby area, hallways, greenspace, amenities such as the pool, gym, etc.
A condo fee is collected from the unit owners to pay for the management of the common property and facilities outside the units such as elevators, heating and electrical systems, amenities, landscaped areas, parking areas, etc. The amount of the condo fee usually depends on the size of the unit, the number of parking spaces and lockers.
Management of the Condo Corporation
Every condo corporation elects a board of directors to oversee the operation of the corporation. They either hire a management company to manage day to day operations of the condo, or they set up their own management group and manage the complex themselves.
A condominium is a piece of property, and condominium owners each pay property taxes on their unit. Taxes in Ontario are based on the market value of the unit.
The condo corporation holds an insurance policy to cover damage and liability for the common areas. The corporation’s insurance does not cover the interior of the units so each unit holder must have insurance on their individual unit.
Bylaws and Rules & Regulations
Each condo corporation will have a set of bylaws which govern how the corporation is run as well as a set of rules and regulations which will cover things like parking, satellite dishes, clothes lines, pets, rentals, etc. The rules may stipulate whether pets are allowed and if so, the number, type and size of pets - for example, “a maximum of 2 pets each under 25 lbs”. There are usually some rules around conduct and noise as you share walls with your neighbours so you wouldn’t want neighbours to have loud parties late into the night.
In Ontario, the unit owner's right to rent out a unit is granted under the Condominium Act and that right cannot be prevented by the corporation bylaws. There are requirements of an owner for rented units. For instance, an owner must inform the corporation of the intent to rent the unit, name of the tenant, and address for service of the owner when the tenant vacates, etc. Tenants are required to observe the bylaws, rules & regulations, the same as an owner would. The growing popularity of short-term rental sites such as Airbnb has been become an issue form many condo corporations.
Before purchasing a condo, potential buyers should investigate the condominium corporation to see if it fits in with their lifestyle and proposed use of the condo. If you have pets, ensure that your pets will be allowed. If you have children, you will want to ensure there are facilities in the condo for your kids to use. And if you are an investor and want to rent out your condo, make sure that there are no rules limiting the tenant’s use of the property.
If you would like more information on condos, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org