Specific Legal Issues
Newcomer Perspective for the Condominium System—What do we need to know?
From the CCI Review 2021/2022-3 March 2022 issue of the CCI London Chapter
Moving to a new country is very challenging, especially when the legal system is different in the country you have moved to. One of the biggest concerns for newcomers is housing, Many of them choose to live in condos, therefore it is important for them to have information about condominium legislation and how they are governed.
In many countries there is no legislation to deal with condominium issues. Any issues raised between neighbours may be settled through municipality legislation or even under the criminal code in some cases.
In Ontario, the condominium is a building or complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned apartments or houses, It is a community of many people living in the same area and sharing some of the common elements together.
In order to maintain peaceful use of the units which will allow every resident to have the right to the reasonable enjoyment within his or her unit without any interference, the condo system came to regulate the use of the units and the common elements of the condominium to ensure that every resident has the fair use of those elements in a transparent system that sets the rights and responsibilities of everyone.
The condominium community is based on multiple relationships between the residences, the condominium company and the residents themselves. Within the relationships, every side has rights and at the same time, responsibilities. In order to maintain the peaceful use of the units, it is very important to make the balance between your rights as a resident and other people’s rights too, What makes your rights is a responsibility of others and others’ rights are your responsibility.
The question here is how to know your rights and your responsibilities as a condo resident? To answer this question we need to know how the condominium community is governed.
Any condo community is governed by a board of directors that must comply with the Condo Act that regulates all condo corporations in the province of Ontario. The Act clarifies the requirements of the governing documents, how they are created and amended, and the requirement that they must be consistent with the Condo Act.
The other governing documents have different purposes. For example, there is the Declaration, which is one of the two legal documents that create a condo corporation; the By-laws set out various key aspects of how the condo corporation will govern itself such as the number of directors on the board, board meeting procedures, and how the affairs of the condo corporation are generally conducted; and last but not least, the Condo rules are designed to promote the safety of owners and prevent unreasonable interference in the use and enjoyment of the units as well as common elements. The condo rules will dictate what individuals on the condo corporation property can and cannot do.
Based on the above we can tell that the objective of the condominium community’s governing documents is to ensure peaceful and reasonable enjoyment of units and common elements, by having a balance between the rights and responsibilities of all residents. To maintain peaceful common living relationships, we should comply with the obligations of the rules and have reasonable expectations for others' behaviour.
Hetham Karky is a bilingual experienced Jordanian lawyer, researcher and educator. He is a visiting scholar at Western University and the Director of the Rights and Responsibilities Awareness Initiative. Hetham recently completed a paralegal internship at Cohen Highley LLP, with a focus on condo-minium law.
You can learn more about the Rights and Responsibilities Awareness Initiative at
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