Condo Living

What is a condo and, as a condo purchaser, what exactly will I own?

  • A Condo is a form of individual ownership in a multi-occupied building, which could be either a townhome or an apartment. Ownership is also combined with a fractional share of the common property of the complex.
  • You own your Strata Lot or Condo unit outright. The boundaries of your unit are defined in a legal document called a ‘Strata Plan’. In addition, you become a part owner of all common property.

What does common property mean?

  • Common property means all property in the strata plan that is not part of any individual unit. For example, it would include hallways, open space around buildings, elevators, playgrounds, pool and other recreational facilities.

Are Condos the same as Co-operatives?

  • No. Co-operatives do not involve individual ownership. In a Condo, you own your unit and you are not responsible for liabilities arising in your neighbour’s unit.
  • In a Co-operative, there is only a single mortgage with each individual paying a proportionate amount. A Co-operative sells shares, allowing a Buyer to occupy a unit.

What is a Strata Corporation in relation to a Strata Plan?

  • A Strata Corporation is the legal entity of which you are a member. It represents and controls the common property described in the Strata Plan. It collects money from the owners and pays all the ‘common bills’.
  • The Corporation is not the same as the Strata Council, which is elected by members to look after the affairs of the Strata Corporation.

Who prepares the operating budget?

  • You and all the other owners of Strata Lots. All owners are automatically members of the Strata Corporation, which through its Council, manages the Common Property and assets of the Strata Corporation.

Does a Condo owner have the same rights as the owner of a single detached house?

  • No. Condo ownership involves an element of communal ownership and living and the Strata Corporation may restrict your lifestyle through by-law changes.
  • Other differences include: Your Mortgagee, which is usually a bank or credit union, may exercise your vote at corporation meetings; you are responsible for legal judgments against the Strata Corporation; the Corporation may do repairs in your unit and charge you or pay your taxes and fine you for non-payment of maintenance fees or by-law violations.
  • Finally, the Strata Corporation may place a lien on your title for default in maintenance fees.

Can I mortgage my Condo?

  • Yes, but you may be required to assign your vote to the Mortgagee.

How are my property taxes determined?

  • Each lot is valued together with its proportionate share of the common property.
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