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Information for tenants

Renting a condominium vs. an apartment

Condominiums and apartments have many similarities. They are shared properties: buildings that contain individual units. In sizes, types, and amenities – condos and apartments can look the same. When it comes to renting, the big difference is ownership.

Apartment buildings are owned by a company (or person), and condominiums are owned by the individual unit owners. So if you’re renting, your landlord is different in both cases. There are also some separate rules that govern condominiums, which tenants and owners alike have to follow.

Who are you renting from?

Renters enter into an agreement with the landlord. For apartments, that’s the owner of the building. For condos, the landlord is the unit owner.

What regulations apply?

For condominiums and apartments: The relationship between landlords and tenants is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006which addresses issues, such as the responsibilities of both parties, rent increases, security deposits, termination of occupancy, maintenance standards of the unit, etc.

For condominiums only: Each condominium has its own declarations (like the constitution of the condominium corporation), by-laws (how to run the condominium) and rules (safety, security, and welfare of the unit owners or tenants). All of these must be consistent with the Condominium Act, 1998.

Tenants should get a copy of the declaration, rules, and by-laws from the condo owner. Tenants must abide by the same rules as the owner and also have the same rights, such as access to all amenities. The unit owner has a duty to ensure their tenant complies with the condominium rules.

Do you need insurance?

In both cases, tenants need insurance for their personal possessions and liabilities.

Do condominium tenants have to pay condo fees?

Condominiums share the costs of use and maintenance of the common elements (from elevators to gardens) among all the owners. The costs for maintaining common elements is called the common expenses fee.

A leasing agreement can detail whether tenants are to pay that share during their occupancy, and to what amount or percentage. That can be added to the rent. Owners will usually continue to pay for property taxes and property insurance.

What are the responsibilities of the landlord?

The landlord, whether in an apartment (the building owner) or a condominium (the unit owner) has the duty to maintain the individual unit in a state of good repair. Condominium corporations are not landlords. These corporations have a duty to operate, maintain and manage the common elements and assets of the condo.

Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs?

In apartments, the landlord is responsible for the building’s condition. In a condominium, the condominium corporation maintains the common elements, while the condominium owner is responsible for their unit. If you’re renting, be clear on whether you or the condominium owner will cover any maintenance repairs during your tenancy.

Can you have pets?

Apartments and condos can set their rules. Please check with your condominium corporation about their rules on keeping pets.

Which costs more to rent?

It depends. Consider what’s included in the rent. You may be paying more for things like a fitness centre, laundry facilities, and other amenities, but what would that cost you anyway? Whether condo or apartment, think of what you can afford for rent and utilities as a percentage of your pre-tax income.