- A minimum of 10% of your monthly condo fee goes towards a reserve fund for future repairs to what is considered common elements for your condominium corporation.
- There are by-laws in a condominium, rules and regulations that promote an environment that is reasonable and comfortable for all the owners.
- Restrictions to exterior changes by the owners will provide a clean and uniform appearance to the complex. If you drive by some freehold townhome complexes you might see some very interesting exterior paint choices, or recreational vehicles parked on the front lawn.
- Most condos have a landscaping contract for grounds maintenance and snow removal.
- Regardless of when you purchase your condo, whether newer or older, the reserve fund, providing the complex was well managed, should be sufficient to address any “anticipated” needed repairs e.g. shingles, driveways, painting of trim (the common elements covered by the condo corporation can differ from site to site).
- The condo act requires that a new reserve fund study be done every 6 years and reviewed every 3 years. This is in place to prevent inadequate contributions to a reserve fund. Gone are the days when some builders would promote unrealistic low condo fees to help sell units.
- You can have a say as to what happens in your condo corporation, attend the annual general meetings, become a member of the condo board for at least 1 term. You will understand and appreciate the process much better at the end of your term.
Disadvantages of owning a Condominium townhouse:
- Some would see Condo fees as a disadvantage. I see condo fees as a “home maintenance savings account”. Plus the guy or gal who just sold you the condo has been putting in his share towards this maintenance account the whole time he/she lived there.
- Every owner should take the responsibility of being on the condominium board at least once during the time they live in the complex, unfortunately this is not always the case. If you are living in a freehold townhouse or detached house you would be responsible for all the repairs of your home. In a condo the property management company together with the condo board look after the maintenance of the complex. It is only fair that you share in these responsibilities by taking a turn on the condo board. On the condo board you have 2 or more other home owners from within the complex as well as your property manager with whom you can discuss any needed maintenance or repairs.
- There are rules and regulations, some do not like this aspect of condo living but for the most part the rules are reasonable, common sense and for the benefit of all owners.
The majority of the owner disputes that come up in a condominium apartment or townhouse complex are for the most part as a result of new owners not understanding condominium living. When buying a condominium reviewing the Status Certificate which has all the documents pertaining to condos rules, regulations, budgets, insurance etc should always be a condition of purchase. Your lawyer usually reviews these documents on your behalf and makes you aware of some of the specifics such as, is the corporation well managed and financially sound, is the previous owner up to date in paying his condo fees, what is included in the responsibilities of the condo corporation, what is allowed or not permitted, what are the guidelines if I want to rent out my unit?
Your real estate sales person also has a responsibility in making certain you understand condominium living. If you have a specific need pertaining to home ownership discuss this with your sales person. If he or she does not know the answer then further investigation should be done before removing conditions. A commonly asked question regarding rules and regulations pertains to pets, are pets allowed, how many can you have, is there a size restriction? Not all condo apartment buildings allow pets, townhouse projects may also have certain rules and regulations pertaining to pets. Another frequent issue is visitor parking areas, the visitor stalls are always for visitors only, residents cannot park on a regular basis in visitor parking. If you have only 2 parking spots and own 3 vehicles, your 3rd vehicle cannot be parked in visitor parking. I am certain you agree these are all very important questions that need to be answered prior to purchase.
If you would like to discuss any of this information with me, give me a call.