Frequently Asked Condo Questions



I need to protect myself from the sun, having recently been diagnosed with a skin disease. I want to have a roller sun shade installed on my balcony, which receives sun most of every afternoon. Can the board forbid me from having the shade installed?

The Condominium Act requires the corporation’s consent to an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements which includes your balcony.

The Human Rights Code, however, requires the condominium corporation to accommodate your disability. The Code has priority over the Condominum Act. Your cancer is a disability and the shade appears to be a reasonable accommodation which the board must allow. The board may require medical evidence of the cancer. If you provide it and your request is refused you might make a complaint under the Human Rights Code.



Our condo has a $72,000 deficit. The board of directors has levied a special assessment of one month’s common expenses against the units. Payment is required and, if late, a fee will be charged. Can the board do this?

Yes. The board is entitled to levy a special assessment for funds needed to manage the corporation. If an owner fails to pay within the time specified, the owner may be held responsible for any resulting additional administrative expense incurred by the corporation.



Our property manager wants all owners to sign for any correspondence received from the board or management. If an owner refuses to give an electronic signature the correspondence will not be delivered. There is no rule requiring owners to provide such signatures. Is this valid?

A decision to withhold correspondence without signature must be made by the board, and not by management. Since the board of directors use correspondence as a way to notify residents of implemented condo rules, updates and owners meetings, It would not be in the board’s best interest if correspondence is not received by the owners.
 

My unit has one parking spot which is large enough for my car and my motorcycle. The manager advises that I must remove one since the declaration refers to a parking spot for “a” motorized vehicle. The board interprets “a” to mean one. If there’s room, is it not reasonable that I be allowed to park both vehicles?

You may be correct that parking both vehicles is reasonable. A declaration prohibition, however, need not be reasonable in order to be enforceable. “A” motorized vehicle indicates one vehicle only.



My neighbour across the hall is a heavy smoker. The smoke enters my unit and is affecting my health. Management has said there is nothing that they or the corporation can do. Is that correct?

No. The Condominium Act requires the corporation to enforce the Act. Section 117 of the Act prohibits any activity in a unit or common elements that is likely to cause injury to an individual. That includes injury to a person’s health. A court action could be commenced pursuant to Section 134 of the Act requesting an order that the corporation take the required steps to enforce Section 117.

Alternatively, the court could be requested to order stopping the smoke, an established carcinogen, to escape to other units or to the common elements, constituting a health risk contrary to Section 117.



Two years after we bought our unit, a loud humming noise began apparently from the garbage room below our unit. We have been told that the noise is from a large fan that was recently hooked up and that nothing can be done about it. Is that true?

The garbage room fan, if operating correctly, should not be so noisy as to prevent the proper use of your unit. If that is the case, necessary repair or replacement of the fan is the obligation of the condominium corporation.



The board has sent notices to owners that it needs entry for security staff and a plumber to inspect for leaks in pipes and to install a water conservation device on each toilet. There are no leaks from my plumbing and I have water-saving, dual flush toilets. Can I refuse entry?

Section 19 of the Condominium Act permits entry at a reasonable time, on reasonable notice, by the corporation — or a person authorized by it — to perform the duties of the corporation or to exercise its powers. I am of the opinion that in the absence of evidence of a leak from your unit, entry to inspect for an unknown leak is not within the objects, duties or powers of the corporation.

Similarly, there is no object, duty or power of the corporation enabling the corporation to replace or alter a unit component such as a toilet. I believe that the entry notice does not comply with Section 19 of the act and is not valid.

 

I do not have a parking space in my condo building OR I only have one parking space in my condo building. Can I buy another one?

The short answer is: maybe. Although you can find some listings for parking spaces in your building, it’s the legal description of the parking space and the bylaws that govern the condominium corporation that determine whether a parking space is an asset that can be bought or sold. This means that although you may have the right to use parking spaces in the building, you may not actually own those spaces. 

The status certificate will spell out whether you own your parking space, or whether it’s a common element that belongs to the condo corp. that you are permitted to use. Many condo owners assume that a parking space provided for their “exclusive use” belongs to them. This may indicate that the ownership rests with the corporation. Similarly, an “assigned use” parking space usually belongs to the corporation. This also applies to storage lockers as well.

 

I’m buying a condo and my real estate lawyer is recommending that I get title insurance. I’ll have home insurance, so is it really necessary?

Though title insurance isn't required by law, it does cover certain elements home insurance does not. If you’re buying a property, here’s some general information to help you understand what title insurance is. As well, it’s your real estate lawyer who would typically provide guidance on title insurance.

A common misconception is that title insurance is the same as home insurance or even a home warranty. “Title” refers to the ownership of a property as reflected in the government’s land registration system. Title insurance provides coverage against risks and losses that relate to your home’s legal title or, more specifically, your ownership. 

 
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