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Intro to Condo Living (Who/What?)

Background and Key Terms

A condominium is a legal description rather than a type of home.  In a condominium each property owner owns some of the property outright (usually their individual unit) while the rest of the property is owned jointly with the other owners. The portions of the property, which are owned jointly, are referred to as common elements.

When a condominium is built, the developer must file two key documents called the declaration and the description. The Declaration includes a schedule showing the percentage of the common elements owned by each unit owner, which forms the basis of the calculation of the monthly maintenance fees paid by each owner. It also outlines the obligations of the condominium corporation, board and owners, including repair and maintenance responsibilities.

The Condominium Corporation

A condominium corporation is a non-profit corporation set up to manage the entire condominium property and any assets which the corporation may acquire (e.g. the unit where the superintendent resides, reserve fund investments, etc.).

Another important function of the corporation is to support residents' compliance with the requirements of the Condominium Act, 1998, the Declaration, By-Laws and Rules (see Rules and Legal page).

The corporation is governed by an elected Board of Directors (see below).

Property Management and Property Manager

Property Management presides over the daily operation of the building including paying bills and managing building maintenance, repairs and housekeeping. They advise and support the implementation of Board decisions. Property Management also provides emergency after hours support to deal with non-emergency situations such as leaks, common elements damage or building mechanical failures (e.g. elevator breakdown, central heating/cooling failures etc.).

For information about our on-site property manager, please visit the contact page.

Board of Directors

The condominium corporation's Board of Directors consists of five elected Directors:
  • President
  • Vice-President
  • General Manager
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
At least one of the members of Board must be elected by the owners who reside in the building (known as the owner-occupied position).

Board members are elected at the corporation's Annual General Meetings on a staggered basis for a term of three (3) years.

Duties of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors oversees the operation of the corporation as a whole, and is ultimately answerable to the owners. The Board has the final decision regarding how to best manage, allocate and use the finances of the corporation. The Board oversees the day-to-day operational support provided by Property Management and continually looks for opportunities to improve the common living environment.

Directors work as a group and can only approve items as a group. No individual Director can make a decision on his or her own. Directors can only carry out the business of the Board at a board meeting where there is a quorum. A quorum is three directors unless the By-Laws require a larger number.

The specific duties of the Board and the corporation (which is made up of all owners of the 169 units), are found in By-Law #1 of the condominium documents. Directors carry out such duties including, but not limited to, managing and administering the business and finances of the corporation, dealing with all legal matters of the corporation and supporting compliance with the Rules, By-Laws and Declaration of the corporation.

Contacting the Board of Directors

Directors should not be approached or contacted for issues that the Property Manager and/or Superintendents are contracted to do, such as housekeeping and administrative issues or complaints about noise and other disturbances. 

Board members are volunteers and do not get paid.  They, like other owners, want and are entitled to reasonable enjoyment of their units and the building's common elements. Please do not approach or harass any of the directors with complaints or concerns about a situation in the building and/or a decision made by the Board. Any complaints to the Board should be in writing and placed in the suggestion box located in the mail area or given directly to the Property Manager.

Common Expenses

A condominium corporation is required by law to operate with a balanced budget. To sustainably finance the operating expenses of the corporation  all owners are required to pay monthly common expenses fees (a.k.a. "maintenance fees"). Examples of these expenses include utility bills, maintenance costs, property management, insurance, salaries, improvements and upgrades.

The amount of the fee is based on an annual budget forecast for these expenses. The fee for each individual unit is apportioned based on the relative physical size of each unit specified in the allocations factors in the Declaration.

The law requires the corporation to contribute a portion of these fees to a Reserve Fund, which is a special fund set up to pay for major repairs and renovations that are anticipated or may be needed in the future. A special report known as a Reserve Fund Study is prepared on a regular basis for the corporation. This report predicts a maintenance schedule for major items and calculates the amount of money that the corporation will contribute each year to cover these future costs. A Reserve Fund Study helps eliminate the need for special assessments, which is an extra bill to owners to cover expenses.

If the Board has over-estimated common expenses, there is no direct refund to the owners. Instead, the surplus must be applied to future common expenses or paid into the Reserve Fund. If an owner does not pay their portion of the common expenses, the corporation can place a lien against their unit that could lead to sale of their unit to cover their expenses.

Repairs and Maintenance

The responsibilities regarding repairs and maintenance are outlined in the Declaration.