Condo Living Frustrations

November 2016

Condo living is a popular lifestyle embraced by more than half of all Torontonians.

As with other forms of residential living and home ownership, there can be frustrations for those who are unprepared.

Here are eight issues that likely account for the majority of frustrations relating to condo living.


While most would prefer not to live in areas with garbage, many seem comfortable with inflicting their unwanted trash on others. This is surprising in condo buildings with easy access to a garbage chute on each floor.

It is particularly offensive to find the garbage chute room filled with trash or the chute filled with trash from the last visitor to the room. Those who discard
large items in the chute can make it inoperable for days or weeks.

Nobody likes walking through bad smelling areas filled with trash or recycling. Yet garbage and recycling can be found in a building’s public areas including hallways, overflowing or open receptacles in the mail room, on the floor in trash rooms and even in open areas such as the garage.

Garbage is the easiest of all problems to resolve. A failure to do so points to condo management and/or boards out of touch with how to adequately maintain their building for the benefit of most residents.


Loud voices or celebrations in hallways, evening construction work, banging on walls or floors, yelling and excessively loud music can make condo living inhospitable.

The problem is not always residents. It can be inconsiderate or intoxicated guests or visitors who have no awareness that others within earshot are not part of their group.

Cigarettes and Smoking

Smoking becomes particularly offensive when discarded cigarette butts are found near doorways, parking areas, around the building or on outdoor balconies. The smell of smoke wafting into condo suites from other condo suites becomes an infringement on personal space inconsistent with condo living.

In-Suite Speakers

Most condo suites have an in-suite speaker that is to be used in the event of emergency. It allows the concierge or fire marshal to communicate with building residents. Its use is not always tightly controlled.

The first time you hear voices from the speaker may be after a false fire alarm – possibly at 4 am. While understandable, this becomes less tolerable after the second or third event in a week. The speaker system becomes abusive when messages get transmitted throughout the day, especially when the same message is repeated two or three times. It becomes tempting to disconnect speaker wires despite being illegal to do so.

Parking Garage Confrontations

Too many building residents navigate their parking garage as if it were an off-road racing course. They turn corners without checking for other vehicles or pedestrians, turn into oncoming vehicles and generally choose to ignore all posted signs.

Pets and Pet Owners

Pets are great companions except for those that defecate in hallways, stairwells, in gardens or on walkways. Also those which constantly bark, yowl or lunge at other building residents.

Of course, most of this is the fault of pet owners who fail to properly care for their pets or follow building rules.

Some oppose allowing pets in condo buildings. Others advocate for better rules and enforcement while making owners responsible for the costs of misdeeds by their pets.

Out of Date Phone or Buzzer Systems

Many condo buildings have a buzzer or call system allowing guests in the lobby to call up and have you grant access. This may require a hard wired landline. More specifically, the system may not work with mobile phones or wireless handsets.

Many condo residents no longer have a landline. Those that do have a landline also likely use a wireless handset. The majority that now rely on a mobile telephone find it increasingly difficult to connect to their building’s internal telephone system.

Use of Hallways as Personal Space

Hallways are not for storage of shoes, boots or other personal items. They are also not a play area for children.