Ask Ally

Because she’s here to answer your condo questions with expert advice and professionalism!

Have a condo related question you’d like to ask Ally and addressed in our next issue? Use the form below or email  to submit your question!

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Can I withhold my common element fees until urgent repairs are carried out in my unit?

Withholding common element fees can result in a lien being registered on your unit. Pending repairs should always be treated as a separate issue. Also, there are many different expenses that your common element fees cover so withholding those fees would affect the overall financial position of the corporation and could result in the corporation not being able to pay certain bills, like utility bills.

How is proportioned share determined for maintenance fees?

It is often assumed that proportionate share for maintenance fees for each unit are based solely on square footage. Although on occasion this may be true there are many factors used in determining each owner’s share when the condominiums documents are prepared and registered. Contributing factors can include location of the home relative to others, proximity to amenities, parking allocations, balconies, exposure to neighbouring developments, etc.

If the corporation requires owners to maintain the exterior of the buildings and adjoining grounds, do the same rules governing the common elements apply to these areas as well?

Yes, the rules extend to these areas to ensure continuity in the overall administration, upkeep and appearance of the community. In this situation the owner is solely responsible for any maintenance required to these components at their expense under any requirements prescribed by the corporation whereas in other condominiums these projects would be overseen and paid for by the corporation.

How can I determine what areas I am responsible for as an owner of a condominium home?

There are several sections in the Declaration that will guide you to determine what areas you are responsible for. Typical sections to consult are those referencing responsibilities of the owner or corporation. Of utmost importance is Schedule “C” that defines the boundaries between the unit owner and the common elements for the corporation. It is also helpful to review Schedule “E” as it provides details on common expenses for components you are responsible for. Check to see if your corporation has a standard unit By-law to clarify which components within your home are your responsibility. Further review other By-laws that could be unique to your property and potentially provide more detail.

Does the condominium corporation provide insurance for my home?

The condominium corporation only provides insurance for all original as-built components for your home. All personal contents and upgrades from original construction are the responsibility of the owner to insure. Please consult your standard unit By-law if one exists for your corporation for further details on items to be insured by the corporation or the owner. Ensure you are insured adequately for a potential major loss as the corporation does not cover costs for relocation during restoration and to guarantee full replacement for all lost belongings. Consideration should also be given towards additional coverage for insurance deductibles as they could be charged back to an owner if they are deemed responsible for damages resulting in a claim.