Owning a condo unit is different than owning a detached house. Certain privileges that house-owners enjoy can differ in a condo because of the shared living areas and shared expenses. Instead of having a private backyard, you may share a common outdoor terrace. Instead of talking loudly with a friend on the porch of your house, you may have to keep noise to a minimum in certain shared areas in a condo.
It’s important to know the rules of your building, and understand what responsibilities belong to you, or to the condo corporation.
Certain responsibilities that house-owners have, such as shovelling snow or maintaining a lawn, are not the direct responsibility of a condo unit owner. The physical labour is generally taken care of by the condo corporation. However, unit owners must pay a fee for these types of services, known as maintenance fees.
Maintenance fees help cover costs associated with the up-keep of the building, such as repairs to common elements (like elevators and hallways) as well as external factors (such as snow and greenery).
Much like house-owners, if something requires repair, the responsibility falls on the unit owner. However, the condo corporation can help you with these repairs, and may offer someone they usually deal with for similar issues in the building.
An exception to this responsibility is if the cause of the problem was due to the condo. For example, if fixing a plumbing problem in one unit causes flooding in others, generally speaking the owners of the other units wouldn’t have to pay to repair their units.
Be Clear On Your Responsibilities Before Your Close The Deal
If you are unclear about what your responsibilities are and what the condo is responsible for, consult a legal professional to review your condo’s status certificate and declaration.
These documents highlight what rights you have as a condo owner, and your responsibilities. They also outline the rules regarding use of the common areas, noise levels, and what you are allowed and not allowed to do within the unit or on the premises.