Frequently Asked Condominium and Property Management Questions
For new condominium owners, or buyers looking at a condo for the first time – there can be a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions about condominium living, and condo ownership we hear at our office, and some simple answers to make sure you are empowered!
A multiple-unit complex, the units of which are individually owned, each owner has title to the individual unit purchased, including the right to sell, mortgage, etc., that unit. Each owner also shares joint ownership of any common grounds; hallways, parking areas, games or theatre rooms, fitness centers, etc.
A condominium corporation is a legal entity set up when the developer registers the condominium plan with the Land Titles office. Each individual unit owner is included in the corporation, with voting shares based on individual unit factor. Usually an appointed Board of Directors handles the day to day operations and financial decisions with the assistance of a Condominium Management company.
The total of all unit factors in every Condominium Corporation in Alberta is 10,000. The unit factor is a direct representation of your ownership in the common property. It affects how much you will pay in condo fees, special assessments, and also how your vote is weighed.
Your monthly fee contributions pay for the operational expenses at your condominium; various utilities, grounds keeping, maintenance, contributions to the reserve fund, and much more.
Condo fees are generally due on the first day of the month, but can vary depending on the Corporations preference. It is important to know when your fees are due, as many corporations charge interest on late payments. Check with your Board of Directors or Management Company to avoid unnecessary late charges.
Paying your fees is a condition of ownership in the Condominium. If you do not pay, the Corporation can file a caveat against the title of your unit, sue for outstanding amounts and associated costs, have the mortgage holder pay the arrears and add it to your mortgage, and in worst case scenarios foreclose on your unit. You may also lose your voting rights if you owe the corporation for 30 days or more before the vote.
If the corporation cannot collect enough revenue through regular condo fees to cover expenses it may levy a special assessment. After the amount required to cover the shortfall is calculated each unit will be notified of the additional payment required and the approved payment schedule. Special assessments are due in addition to regular monthly fees and are also calculated based on the individual unit factor.
The Board of Directors set the fees by reviewing the Corporation's financial statements, budget, looking at current and future expenses. Fees tend to go up as buildings age and larger maintenance budgets are required.
The Board of Directors is made up of individuals who have been elected by members of the Corporation and engaged to act as representatives of the Corporation. The positions are volunteer, and the amount of Directors required is outlined in the bylaws.
The Board is responsible for carrying out all acts pertaining to the corporation. They make financial decisions, have signing authority on bank accounts, approve and monitor budgets, assess and collect fees and special assessments, set up and oversee scheduled maintenance, and represent the corporation in all aspects of its business. They usually retain a Condo Management company to assist with the day to day operations and gain insight and experience.
Their role can vary depending on the services outlined in the contract between the Management Company and the Corporation. They generally handle the financial aspects including collections, reporting, statements, and record keeping, as well as assist with day to day operations, maintenance, attend meetings with the Board, and work with residents regarding a variety issues. All financial decisions will have the Boards approval before being put into motion.
To comply with the Condominium Property Act your Corporation is required to maintain a Capital Replacement Reserve Fund. It can only be used for replacement or non routine repairs, not for regular maintenance or expenses. Some examples of appropriate reserve fund expenditures would be a roof replacement, or parking lot paving.
The reserve fund is maintained by directing a portion of the collected monthly fees into a separate account. Should expenses arise that require more than is collected, a special assessment could be levied to cover the shortfall.
The Corporation is required to complete a Reserve Fund Study every 5 years, and the necessary monthly contributions are calculated from it. The study must be done by a qualified person; someone with experience in depreciating property, the operation and maintenance of depreciating property, and the cost of replacement or repairs on depreciating property.
Yes. The bylaws are in place to protect the common interests of all the owners. Every individual unit owner and tenant is responsible to adhere to all the bylaws. They are non-negotiable, and repeated infractions can lead to fines or legal proceedings. The bylaws can only be changed with a special resolution, which requires a minimum approval of 75% of unit owners holding no less than 7500 unit factors.
Yes, having a tenant in your unit is acceptable. You will need to comply with the By-Laws regarding rentals and may be required to submit a security deposit to the Corporation of up to the equivalent of one month’s rent. You are also liable for any damages to the common property or bylaw infractions caused by your tenant. The Corporation will bill you for any damages or fines incurred by the tenant, and it will be your responsibility to collect from the tenant after paying the Corporation. Please refer to the Bylaws for your Corporation for more information regarding the rental of your unit.
The contents of your suite, including appliances, electrical fixtures, outlets, taps, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, flooring, etc, are your responsibility. In some cases there could be exceptions if a fault on the common property affected your individual unit. An example of this would be a major plumbing issue in the main lines causing individual units to have issues.
All matters relating to Motor Vehicle Accidents or acts of vandalism should be reported to your local policing authorities in person or by using their non emergency line.
If you have an issue with noise after hours you should contact your local policing authority. The management company can send violation letters and enforce the bylaws with fines if required during regular business hours.
If you feel afraid for your safety you should immediately contact your local police at 911.