Many of the more than half of all Torontonians residing in condominiums are new to condo living. Here are some of the more common mistakes made by newbies.
Not Paying Condo Fees
When short on finds it may be necessary to decide which bills not to pay for a particular month. Choosing not to pay monthly condo fees is not advisable. Having purchased in a condo community, not paying your share of the cost to maintain common areas forces your neighbours to pay your bills. Condo corporations have remedies to ensure this does not happen. Failure to pay condo fees when due can result in additional costs to you and possible forced sale of your property.
Failure to Inform Management about Noise, Odours, Pests or other concerns
Nobody wants to be a complainer. Nevertheless, informing management about your concerns helps ensure the safety and security of all. Residents may not be aware that loud noises or odours from their suite are heard and smelled in other suites or common areas. Pests in your suite can migrate to other areas of a building.
Community living works best when management is aware of concerns and able to act on them.
Your Home is Your Castle – without restrictions
Anything that may impact on other condo suites or common areas may be a concern. Renovations that impact on structural integrity of the building, vents or water flow are likely prohibited. It is best to check with management before undertaking renovations.
Anything emanating from your suite including noise, smoke and odour is an infringement on the rights of others. It is your responsibility to mitigate this.
Failure to Get Involved
Everyone is busy and spare time is scarce. Yet it is your home and your money. If you fail to attend condo meetings, choose not to participate on committees, don’t vote in condo elections and choose not to run for the board you have not fulfilled your obligations to your neighbours and community.
Complaining about condo fees, how money is spent or dissatisfaction with rules is of limited value. If you really want to impact on this the best way is to serve as a director or participate on a committee.
Abuse of Parking
Condo buildings typically have specific reserved spaces for each suite. These are not spaces for other residents or visitors to use. Conversely, visitor or guest parking is not available for resident use. This is a resident amenity not for use by a resident requiring extra parking for an additional vehicle. Improperly parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Continued abuse may result in revocation of certain parking privileges.
Neglecting to read and abide by Condo Rules and Bylaws
Every new condo owner is provided with current bylaws and rules. Tenants are provided with condo rules. These documents tell you what can and can’t be done in your building and suite. All documents apply to all residents. Failing to read them doesn’t mean they don’t apply.
Condo rules and bylaws apply equally to owners and tenants.
Condo rules and bylaws can take precedence over local laws. Loud noise after a certain hour may be prohibited by local laws, and police may be called to enforce these laws. Condo rules, which are local to your building, may be more restrictive and unenforceable by the police.
Some believe that condo corporations can operate with fewer rules and more common sense. Rules exist to ensure that many people with different ideas of what is “acceptable” can live together under a common framework. Each community determines which rules are necessary to make the system work and avoid conflict.
Condo living is a system that works. While no system is perfect, it has become clear that most people prefer condo living over other available options.