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How Condos Work

Condo Operations

Condo operations can be thought of as the day-to-day management of the corporation and may include dealing with repairs and maintenance, handling owner requests, addressing issues in common areas and more. Operations are the responsibility of the board, though some boards may opt to hire condo managers and delegate day to day activities to these professionals.


  • Repairs and maintenance of common elements are generally the responsibility of the condo corporation
  • The condo corporation must have an emergency plan

Repairs and Maintenance

Responsibilities for repairs and maintenance of units and common elements depend on what is outlined in the Condominium Act and the condo corporation’s governing documents. Understanding the definitions of a standard unit and common elements is particularly important because of insurance implications. See our page on repairs and maintenance for more information.

Condo corporations

Are generally responsible for repairing damage to common elements and standard unit elements. Common elements may include parking, hallways, elevators, amenities, etc.


Are responsible for the normal wear and tear on their units, as well as repair for decorative or non-standard unit elements. The corporation’s governing documents generally define what is considered a standard unit.


Condo corporations can amend their repair obligations in their governing documents. Always review these documents first so you can understand your responsibilities and theirs

See section 89 of the Condo Act to learn more about your condo corporation’s responsibilities.

Section 90 specifies how maintenance obligations are divided.

Section 91 allows corporations to change their responsibilities.

Reserve Funds

Corporations use reserve funds to address major repairs of common elements and assets. They can rely on reserve fund studies to estimate future costs and understand how much to save. These studies are similar to a homeowner’s plan for saving for keeping their home in good repair. Studies must be completed by qualified professionals with expertise in this area.

Buyers looking for units should always review the reserve fund study so they can understand how well provisioned a condo corporation is in case of an emergency. See our page on special assessments for more information on this.

Fire and Safety

Depending on the size of the condo, corporations should work with an expert to develop a fire safety policy. This plan must be made available to all residents, fire departments, emergency medical services, and police upon their arrival, as well as kept at the local fire prevention office.

The plan should include:

  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Locations of pull stations for fire alarms
  • A description of alarm sounds
  • Instructions to ensure safe actions during an emergency
  • Detailed, safe evacuation routes via stairwells
  • An updated list of occupants with special needs for firefighters when they arrive at the building

Apart from the emergency plan, all units in a condo should be equipped with sufficient smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure proper warning in case of a fire.

Each unit should be annually inspected by a fire inspection company to ensure all devices are working. Tests of the building-wide fire alarm should be done on a regular basis as required by the fire code to ensure the system is in working order should a fire or other emergency happen.

All condominiums in Ontario must adhere to the Ontario Fire Code. This code ensures all occupied buildings in Ontario have appropriate fire protection equipment and that they are properly maintained, and that fire emergency plans are kept up to date and routinely circulated to residents.

Visit the Ontario Fire Marshal for further information on fire and safety procedures in condominiums.

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