Running a Condominium is no small undertaking. Many people may be involved, including the owners and professionals such as accountants, lawyers, Condominium managers and Condominium employees. The Condominium Property Act, along with the by-laws and regulations, provides a common framework for everyone to work by.
Learn more about some of the key areas in running a Condominium:
- Rules, Regulations and By-Laws
- Financial Statements
- Tax and Insurance
- Resolving Disputes
Rules, Regulations and By-Laws
Every Condominium is governed by its own unique rules, regulations and by-laws. There may be rules regarding the number of occupants per unit, pets, noise, parking and when certain amenities may be used. In most cases, owners can rent their Condominiums, but check the by-laws to be sure.
Many Condominiums have strict rules about altering the unit space or appearance. Additionally, you may need to get permission from the Board before you can do things like change exterior fixtures, install a satellite dish, set up a clothesline or put an air-conditioning unit in your window.
By-laws may be changed to better suit the Condominium community with a 60% minimum vote in favour of the change by the owners.
The Corporation may have to pay a fine of $1,000-$10,000 to the Director of Condominiums if it fails to provide financial statements, reserve fund studies or proof of insurance within the allotted time.
All Condominium Corporations must produce financial statements yearly and file them with the Director of Condominiums. For those Corporations with more than 10 units, a professional appointed by the Corporation must review the statements and prepare a report before filing.
The regulations outline what qualifications the professional must have to complete this task. He or she may not be a unit owner, director, employee or manager of the Corporation or a partner to one. He or she also may not have an interest in any contract having to do with the Corporation.
Tax and Insurance
The Condominium Corporation is not responsible for any taxes. The unit owners must pay municipal taxes on their Condominium unit and their share of the common areas. The current taxes should be noted in the purchase documents.
The Corporation must insure its liability to repair the units and common elements after damage resulting from fire and any other risks outlined in the declaration or by-laws. The Corporation must submit proof of insurance to the Director of Condominiums each year.
The insurance purchased by the Condominium Corporation does not cover the owners’ possessions, their betterment or their liability if there is an accident in their unit. If specifically stated in the Declaration or by-laws, it is mandatory for the unit owner to carry this insurance.
In an environment where people live very close to one another and group decision-making is necessary, there can be, from time to time, disputes that arise between owners, the developer, the Corporation, an employee of the Corporation or a Director.
If a dispute arises, the parties involved should speak directly to one another to try to resolve the problem. If the conflict involves the by-laws, the Act, the regulations or the Corporation, a written complaint can be filed with the Board of Directors. Mediation and/or arbitration can be used as an alternative to court action if the dispute remains unresolved. The party will need to apply to the Director to appoint an arbitrator.