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.
What is a Standard Unit?
The standard unit definition provides a specific list of items that your condo corporation considers part of a standard unit. Generally, these don’t include any alterations or renovations. Anything not included in the definition of the standard unit would then be considered improvements and their repairs are the responsibility of the owner.
Owners may also want to make changes to their exclusive use common elements which depending on the corporation, may include balconies, terraces and other such areas. In this case they must agree on the changes with their corporation and must also set out responsibilities for maintenance and repairs in this agreement.
Corporations must be insured against major issues such as fire, water leaks, vandalism, and more. Owners are not required by law to have insurance but may be required to do so by their condo corporation’s governing documents. Their insurance policy would need to cover improvements made to their unit as well as their personal property.
Deductibles are payments that insurance policy holders must make before insurance companies will release funds to cover claims. Depending on the policy, deductibles can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
Owners are generally responsible for paying their own deductibles unless they or their guests cause damage to common elements directly or by being negligent. Owners should understand that sometimes corporations may have by-laws that extend the circumstances in which an owner will be responsible for paying the corporation’s deductible to include situations where no one is directly at fault.
Owners should take special care to understand their corporation’s insurance policy. If needed, owners should speak to an insurance broker so they can understand if they need to purchase a plan that covers them for situations where they are responsible for paying the corporation’s deductible.