Condominium Ownership: What You Need to Know

What do I own?
As a condominium unit owner, you have purchased both an individual unit and an interest in the common elements of the condo corporation.
What this means is that you have purchased a piece of real estate and have also become part of a wider community of owners that together make up the condo corporation. This shared ownership also entails certain expectations from you as an owner, and what you can expect from your condo board. Considering the above, it is easy to see how owning a condo unit can be very different than owning a traditional house. To assist condo owners with better understanding what is expected of them and what they can expect from their condo board, the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) has developed these helpful materials. 

What can I do as an owner?
As owning a condo unit varies considerably from owning a traditional house, the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”) allows condo owners to do certain things that traditional home-owners cannot, including:

• Attending and voting at owners’ meetings;
• Seeking election to the condo board;
• Reviewing the condo corporation’s records, such as financial statements and meeting minutes;
• Requisitioning an owners’ meeting;
• Using the common elements and amenities of the condo corporation in accordance with the Act and the condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws, and rules;
• Requesting that an item be added to an owners’ meeting agenda;
• Working to resolve issues early and maintain harmony within your condo community.

What am I expected to do as an owner?
As an owner within a condo corporation you are part of a shared ownership. This shared ownership requires a governance structure that involves an elected board of directors to manage the operations. It is important to be actively engaged in your condo community and participate in activities that will help ensure it is governed and operating effectively. This participation includes:

• Attending and voting at owners’ meetings;
• Electing qualified individuals to the board of directors and/or standing for election on the board;
• Reviewing and providing feedback on the materials provided by the condo corporation including information certificates, financial statements, the auditor’s report, reserve fund studies, and plans for future funding of the reserve fund;
• Complying with the Act and the condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws and rules;
• Notifying the condo corporation if your unit is leased;
• Repairing and maintaining your condo unit in accordance with the Act and the corporation’s declaration, by-laws, and rules; and
• Paying your common expenses fees on time.

What can I expect from my condo board?
According to the Act, the board of directors is responsible for managing the affairs of the condo corporation. As part of this responsibility, there are several things that owners can expect from the condo board, including:

• Ensuring compliance with the Act and the condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws, and rules;
• Notifying owners in advance if the condo corporation needs to access the unit;
• Notifying owners in advance of any upcoming owners’ meetings;
• Providing owners with required documents such as information certificates, financial statements, the auditor’s report, summaries of reserve fund studies, and plans for future funding of the reserve fund;
• Acting honestly and in good faith in their capacity as directors;
• Planning for the repair and maintenance of the common elements in accordance with the Act and the condo corporation’s declaration and by-laws; and
• Identifying and disclosing any conflicts of interest.

How does the CAO support owners?
The CAO has a mandate to empower condo owners in Ontario by providing helpful information, education, and a tribunal to resolve disputes. Our vision is to support harmonious condo living in all condo communities across Ontario . Under the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015, we have a duty to enhance consumer protection by helping owners and condo communities better understand the expectations of their respective roles. We do this through various online services that are accessible anywhere in the province, including:

• Easy-to-use resources in English and French to help condo communities understand their roles under the Act;
• Free online tools, including Guided Steps to Common Issues, to help resolve issues collaboratively before they escalate into disputes;
• Clear and cost-effective online dispute resolution through the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) – Canada’s first fully online tribunal;
• Free online director training for all condo directors to help them understand their role and legal obligations;
• An online condominium returns and notice of change filing system for condo corporations to provide and update key information with the CAO;
• A searchable public registry, containing information from every condo corporation in Ontario; and
• An integrated Information Services team that responds to all telephone and email inquiries to help owners better understand the legal and governance framework behind condo communities.

As an owner, accepting a shared responsibility for the governance, operation and health of your condo community is the most effective way to reap the many benefits of this unique form of homeownership. Understanding and applying this information will help you make the most of your purchase and your enjoyment of condo living.

Please contact the CAO if you have any questions, by calling 1-844-880-5341 or emailing info@condoauthorityontario.ca.