Buying a Condominium in Ontario? Do you Know the Rules?

Condominiums are not for everybody. There are rules and if you don’t like rules don’t buy a condominium.

No dogs, no bicycles, no glass in pool areas. These are all valid rules which the courts can and will enforce by way of a court order. At Landy Marr LLP we have acted for both condominium corporations and unit owners, in many such disputes. Every condominium is governed by its own unique rules, regulations and by-laws. These are necessary to ensure that condominiums are properly operated and maintained, and to define the rights and obligations of the individual owners.

Some rules regarding the individual owners, condominiums may have restrictions regarding the number of occupants per unit, the age of occupants, pets, noise, and parking and when certain amenities such as the swimming pool, tennis court, etc. may be used.

As well many condominiums have strict rules concerning the alteration of the unit space or its appearance. Additionally, you may have to get the permission from the condominium’s Board of Directors before you do the following: change exterior fixtures, install a satellite dish, put up new colored drapes, install an conditioning unit in one of the windows, and in particular make changes that may affect the premise’s structure or safety.

As an individual condominium owner you may be obliged to attend condominium meetings or serve on condominium boards and committees. Additionally on top of your mortgage condominiums have requirements for the payment of monthly condominium fees. There will also be mandatory charges for a reserve fund in addition to the maintenance fee for unforeseen major repairs to the condominium common elements.

In Ontario every condominium has a Declaration registered on title. Additionally each condominium corporation has by-laws and rules. Before you enter into an agreement to buy a new condominium unit read these documents over. If it is a resale unit and you read them after you sign, it will be too late to change your mind. To avoid disappointment and future problems you should have a lawyer carefully review and consider all rules and obligations when you are considering the purchase of a condominium. They should be available from the unit’s seller / vendor or from the condominium Corporation. The rules will be clearly outlined in the governing documents, and you should become familiar with them prior to purchasing a particular condominium unit.

Legal firms have frequently and successfully gone to Court on behalf of condominium corporations to obtain Court orders against individuals who had pets, who had brought bicycles into the elevators and into their units, who brought a glass into a jacuzzi, and who were tossing their Christmas trees over their balcony.

A condominium is not the same thing as owning a single family home where you are the “king of your castle”. A condominium is in many ways like living in a commune or a kibbutz, where the rights of the individual must be subordinate to the rules governing the building. Individual liberty is not supreme, and unit owners must obey the rules for the collective.

Before you buy make sure you know what you’re buying by reading the Declaration, by-laws and rules. Go see your real estate lawyer before you sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Don’t wait until after you sign, by then it will be too late.

Samuel Marr

Post Author: mark

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