Condominium: Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there a limit on how much monthly common expenses can be increased?
There is no maximum amount.
Each year, your condo corporation sets out a budget for current operating expenses and an amount to be set aside in the reserve fund. If you and other owners are concerned about the common expense increases, discuss this with your board of directors.
- Can I withhold my common expense fees until urgent repairs are carried out in my unit?
No. As a unit owner, you are required to pay common expense fees even if you have a claim or dispute with the condo corporation. If you do not pay, the corporation automatically has a lien against your unit. This lien can be enforced, if necessary, by selling your unit.
- My condo board wants to use the reserve fund to build a new exercise room. Can they do that?
No. The reserve fund may be used only for major repairs or replacement of common elements.
- Our board says there’s no money in the reserve fund to complete necessary repairs. We don’t know where the money has gone. What can we do?
As a condo owner, you have the right to examine the financial records of the corporation, including the reserve fund study. This study estimates necessary repairs and establishes a minimum balance for the fund.
The Condominium Act states that an auditor elected by condo owners must prepare an annual report based on an examination of the financial records. The report must be provided to the owners along with the notice of the annual general meeting. Owners have the right to require the auditor to attend this meeting to answer questions. See Handling Disagreements
- My window has been leaking and causing damage in my unit. I signed a work order with the property manager six months ago, but nothing’s happened. What can I do?
If the property manager is not completing the repairs as agreed, you may wish to put your complaint in writing and submit it directly to the condo’s board of directors. Clearly outline the problem. Ask for a written response and a timetable for examination and repair. See also handling disagreements.
- The sink in the unit above me overflowed and damaged my unit. Who pays for the repairs?
First find out if the damage in your unit is covered under the corporation’s insurance policy. There’s a good chance it may be. Then determine who caused the damage and therefore pays the deductible. Finally, check your corporation’s declaration and bylaws to see how they may apply.
- Can my board of directors prohibit pets in the condo building?
Yes, within reason. Check your condo’s declaration, bylaws and rules to determine whether or not pets are prohibited in your building. Prohibitions in a declaration carry more weight than prohibitions contained in bylaws or rules.
Ask the property manager or board of directors for a meeting to discuss the issue. There may be room to negotiate.
Note that service dogs, such as those trained to help people with disabilities, are exempt from pet bans.
- There is a loud and difficult tenant across the hall from me. What can I do about this situation?
The condo board must take reasonable steps to ensure that owners and occupants comply with the Condominium Act, and with the board’s declaration, bylaws and rules.
Report the tenant to your property manager or the board and ask that they look into the matter.
- Can the property manager enter my unit without my consent?
Yes, in some circumstances: If there is an emergency such as a fire, management may enter the unit immediately. A corporation (or its representative) may enter a unit to carry out the “objects and duties” of the corporation (such as inspecting the fan coils in the heating and cooling system), provided it gives the unit owner reasonable notice and enters at a reasonable time.
- My condo board isn’t living up to the requirements of the Condominium Act. They never call meetings and they won’t let us see the financial statements. I’ve talked to them but they won’t do anything. Can the government help me?
The government has put in place a number of mechanisms for settling disputes between condo corporations and unit owners, and it will not interfere in these procedures.
- My condo corporation refuses to disclose the contracts it has negotiated with the company carrying out major repairs in the building. We want to know if the contractor has liability coverage. Are we entitled to see these documents?
Condo corporations are required to keep records of all contracts and, with some exceptions (see below) owners have a right to examine these contracts. You must make a written request and allow a reasonable time for the corporation to comply. There is no charge to examine the records, but you may have to pay a reasonable fee if you want copies. If the corporation refuses to let you examine the records, you can take them to Small Claims Court. You do not have the right to inspect the personnel files of employees of the corporation, or records relating to:
- actual or pending law suits
- insurance investigations
- specific units or owners.
- Who is responsible for enforcing the Condominium Act if the board of directors is behaving in an unethical and ineffective manner?
Where a unit owner has a dispute with the condominium’s board of directors, the matter may be taken to mediation or arbitration or referred to court. See Handling Disagreements.
- Are condominium boards allowed to impose fines?
- More questions?
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd.
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