Purchasing/Living in a Condominium

October, 19 2017 Published by Toronto and Area Chapter - By Mo Killu

Be Mindful of the Basics of Condo Ownership

From the Fall 2017 issue of the CCI Toronto Condovoice Magazine.

Condo living is great because it allows for residential ownership without the hassle of home maintenance. However, as with any real estate investment, condo living can come with its own pitfalls and perils. Condo owners should be aware of the basics of condo ownership responsibility to ensure their investment and its value is preserved and enhanced.

The following is a list of top 10 things that condo owners should keep in mind to ensure their investment is protected and to facilitate worry-free ownership:

1 Insurance

While a condo corporation's general liability insurance covers the unit itself (up to the 'standard unit'), don't be caught without contents insurance, which will cover your personal effects and unit upgrades in the event of fire/ flood/damage.

2 Rules & Regulations

Each condo corporation has its own set of rules and regulations. Each owner is responsible for knowing them and abiding by them. Cooperation by all makes for a more amicable community. When purchasing an existing condo, make sure to thoroughly review the condo's rules and regulations, as it is important to know what you're buying into. This includes familiarizing yourself with the rules concerning pets, smoking, renovations, party room usage, etc.

3 Be a Good Samaritan

If you see something dangerous, amiss or out of place, report it. This includes security breaches, vandalism, littering, etc.

4 Be a Good Neighbour

Condo living is community living. Be nice to neighbours, management and staff. Treat everyone with respect. Use proper manners. Say 'hello'. You never know who you will meet.

5 Pay Your Common Element Fees on Time:

Adhere to the payment schedule for any applicable common element fees to avoid interest and lien notices. Most corporations now let owners pay by pre-authorized debit.

6 Be Informed

Information circulars and notices may be sent or posted to give the community pertinent information regarding the operation of the complex, community activities, finances, etc. It is highly recommended that you read all circulars and notices, attend all information meetings and AGMs to keep abreast of community developments, and to ask questions. Your condo will likely be the biggest financial investment in your life, so invest the time to get to know what is happening in the condo and how it is being governed.

7 Be Considerate

Some condo corporations pay communal hydro, and most (if not all) pay communal water. Leaving lights/appliances on or unnecessary water running will result in higher costs to the corporation, which, in turn, will lead to higher common element fees for everyone. Also, using the appropriate waste disposal bins to separate your waste will save time, money and our environment.

8 Be Active

Know who you are electing to act on behalf of the community (your board of directors). Understand their goals and intentions for the corporation. Recognize that the board is comprised of volunteers, and support the board where you can so they feel encouraged to serve the community.

9 Know the Renovation Policy

Always know the requirements for renovations and upgrades to your unit. Before commencing work, get the right licenses and permissions. During construction, be cognizant of your neighbours and ensure that noise and mess is kept to an acceptable minimum.

10 Complaining

From time to time, you may have a complaint. Complaints or constructive feedback are welcome. Remember that the management is acting on behalf of the board and are there to help. Management has a job to do, so be considerate and respectful. Managing a condo community involves dealing with many personalities and stakeholders, which can be difficult. A 'thank you' or compliment goes a long way to brighten up and motivate the team that looks after the safety, security and management of the community.

Obviously every condo community is unique and has its own resources and challenges, but following the tips above will ensure you are on the right track.

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