Why the Declaration is Difficult to Modify

November 2022

The Declaration defines a condominium corporation.  It provides information regarding each suite’s boundaries; its share of common expenses; which common elements are for exclusive use such as a balcony or terrace, parking spot or locker.  There may be restrictions on who or how many may reside in a unit, if pets are allowed, or restrictions on certain types of activities.  It is a legal document registered with the land registry office.

When each owner in a condominium corporation purchased their unit, they were provided with this document and agreed to accept its terms.

Changing the document revises the terms under which a unit was purchased.  This requires support of at least 80 percent of owners – a supermajority – by way of a vote.  The burden required to change a declaration is high for good reason.  This changes the relationship between owners, the corporation and the local municipality.  Owners who smoke or desire a pet, for example, are unlikely to support changes to a declaration prohibiting either.

Few communities go through the effort of attempting to change a declaration.  Many owners are likely to oppose a specific change making it difficult to obtain the required support.  Achieving a specific outcome is often possible through updating condo rules which may be done by the condo board and, if a vote is required, does not require the same level of support.