Monday, 1 December 2014

How a Condo Works - A general essay

This post is a bit of an update on how a condo corporation works. We all need to understand the management and the running of a building with multiple residents and owners.

First, there are two primary groups involved in running the building. A third group, the owners themselves, are also part of the team. (Please note this is an unofficial memo of general understanding, consult the Condo Act of 1998 and the Declaration for precise details.)

You can find information and forms on the condo website.

Board of Directors

A condominium corporation is created to manage the property and assets on behalf of the owners. Under section 27 of the Condominium Act 1998, a Board of Directors is elected to manage the affairs of the corporation and carry out the objects of the corporation as set out in s.17; basically making all major decisions regarding the maintenance of buildings and grounds, condos’ finances, and upholding and enforcing the Condo Act, the declaration, by-laws, and rules.

It is a primary board duty to make sure that rules and the declaration are applied uniformly and not just from time to time as suits owners, directors or management. The Board hires the management company. In our building, as in most, Board Directors are an unpaid, volunteer position who work on your behalf. They attend a monthly meeting with the management company, investigate savings and improvements during other meetings, meet with owners and residents and generally try to make sure the corporation runs smoothly. They do not act alone but as one part of the team.

Management Company

The Management company, in our case is TAG. They are paid a fee and are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of the building, and making sure that all systems remain in working order. They supervise staff (cleaning, grounds maintenance etc), do paper work, have the bookkeeping done and see to it that owners pay their condo fees in a timely fashion, following up where needed.

They also serve notices to residents of any violations of Rules, Bylaws etc. They help ensure that residents do not leave excess garbage in the garbage rooms, or junk in the locker rooms, store items on balconies or leave a mess in the underground parking area. Essentially, they police the building for violations. They are not however, onsite every day and since we do not have a superintendent or security personnel either some things can occur temporarily unnoticed. That is where owners can come in.

Owners and Residents

Owners have a vested interest in the building and who uses it. We should watch out for each other, tell TAG when violations are noticed so perpetrators can be charged or billed and of course, obey all the Rules and Bylaws in place. Residents should realise they can be part of the solution and not the problem, by treating the place like they would their own home and not leaving it up to someone else.

We all have a duty to treat the building as our own, to keep it neat, leave the doors locked and not propped open, to keep our dogs on a leash and to clean up after them or after any mess we make.

Remember that everything you leave up to the cleaners or "someone else" to look after costs you money, it a reason condo fees keep rising in many buildings.

If you see a locker room or garbage room light on, turn it off! You end up paying for it so you might as well try and save money.

Items owners need to remain aware of: basically you own everything inside your unit so the heat pump and bathroom fans and dryer vents are your responsibility as they would be in any house. You need to remember to clean your dryer vents to prevent buildup and possible fires, it also helps immensely to service your heat pump regularly like any furnace. Replacing the filter is a part and critical to the functioning of your heat pump but it also needs the coils cleaned to function properly. This is best done in my opinion by professionals.

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