Condominium living is a popular option for many Canadians as it can be a relatively carefree housing option.
Condominium living can offer the prospective homeowner many desirable attributes such as affordable housing and low maintenance requirements. Many condominiums have enhanced security features over that found in single family houses. Condominiums can be complete communities within one complex offering a wide range of social, entertainment and recreational activities. However, buyers should be aware—before they buy—of many issues surrounding the purchase of, and the lifestyle in, a condominium. This section of the Guide will help prepare you for successful condominium living.
A “condominium” typically refers to a form of legal ownership, as opposed to a style of construction. Condominiums are most often thought of as high-rise residential buildings, but this form of ownership can also apply to townhouse complexes, individual houses and low-rise residential buildings. Condominiums are also known as strata in British Columbia or syndicates of co-ownership in Quebec. Condominiums consist of two parts. The first part is a collection of private dwellings called “units”.
Each unit is owned by and registered in the name of the purchaser of the unit. The second part consists of the common elements of the building that may include lobbies, hallways, elevators, recreational facilities, walkways, gardens, etc. Common elements may also include structural elements and mechanical and electrical services. The ownership of these common elements is shared amongst the individual unit owners, as is the cost for their operation, maintenance and ongoing replacement.
Residential condominiums can be high-rise or low-rise (under four storeys), town or row houses, duplexes (one unit over another), triplexes (stack of three units), single detached houses, stacked townhouses or freehold plots.
There are even mixed-use condominiums that are partly residential and partly commercial buildings. They come in various sizes with diverse features and they can be found in almost every price range.
When you buy a condominium, you own your unit, as well as a percentage of the common property elements allocated to the unit. The boundaries of each individual unit and the percentage of common elements you own may vary from condominium to condominium, depending on how they are specified in the condominium's governing documents. Sometimes, the unit boundary can be at the backside of the interior drywall of the unit’s dividing walls. Alternatively, the unit boundary can be the centre line of the unit’s walls. The boundaries of your condominium unit are an important consideration at the time of purchase— particularly if alterations and renovations are a potential part of your purchase plan.
The unit typically includes any equipment, systems, finishes, etc. that are contained only in the individual unit. The right to use one or more parking spots and storage areas may be included. While you may have exclusive
access to parking spot or storage area, you seldom actually own the space itself.
What does FREEHOLD CONDOMINIUM mean?
Should you Buy NEW or RESALE?
Moving from a Single Family to a Multi-Unit