As a homeowner in Ontario's condo industry, it's important to understand your maintenance responsibilities.
One of the key things to understand is the difference between common elements and in-suite areas, who is responsible for maintenance and repairs in each case, and how to effectively report issues. We’ve put together an informative Quick Guide to help you along the way.
So don’t panic! Stratastic’s got you, and you’ve got this!
Common Elements vs. In-suite Areas: What Corporations Typically Cover and Don't Cover
🤝 Common elements refer to the parts of the building and property that are owned and managed by the condo corporation. These can include things like the lobby, hallways, elevators, parking garage, and recreational facilities.
👩👧👦 In-suite areas, on the other hand, are parts of the unit that are owned and maintained by the individual homeowner. These can include things like the walls, floors, and fixtures inside the unit.
In general, the condo corporation is responsible for maintaining and repairing the common elements, while individual homeowners are responsible for maintaining and repairing their own in-suite areas. However, the specifics of what is covered by the corporation can vary depending on the condo corporation's bylaws and policies. It's important to review your condo corporation's bylaws and policies to understand exactly what they cover and what you are responsible for. If you're unsure, reach out to your property manager for clarification.
For example, some corporations may cover the cost of repairing or replacing certain fixtures inside the unit, such as plumbing or electrical systems. Others may only cover common elements like the heating and cooling system, while leaving in-suite systems like the hot water tank up to the homeowner to maintain and repair.
Standard Suite Bylaws and Obligations to Repair
🛠️ In Ontario, most condo corporations are governed by a set of Standard Suite Bylaws that outline the responsibilities of both the corporation and individual homeowners when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Under these bylaws, the condo corporation is responsible for repairing and maintaining common elements, while the homeowner is responsible for repairing and maintaining their own in-suite areas. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
For example, if damage to the common elements is caused by a homeowner's negligence or intentional act, the homeowner may be responsible for the cost of repairs. Conversely, if damage to the in-suite areas is caused by a problem with the common elements (such as a leaky roof), the corporation may be responsible for repairing the damage (likely up to the provisions within the Standard Suite Bylaw). It's important to understand the specifics of the Standard Suite Bylaws to ensure that you are meeting your maintenance obligations and that the condo corporation is meeting theirs.
Owner vs. Corporation Responsibilities
Understanding the responsibilities of homeowners vs. the corporation is crucial for maintaining a well-functioning condo community. When in doubt about who is responsible for a maintenance issue, consult your condo corporation's bylaws and policies, and reach out to your property manager for guidance. Here are some common scenarios to consider:
💧 If there's a leak in your bathroom that's damaging the wall, the corpora
tion is responsible for repairing the common elements (e.g., the pipes) that are causing the leak. However, you would be responsible for repairing the damage to your in-suite area (e.g., replacing the drywall).
🛗 If the elevator breaks down, the corporation is responsible for repairing it. However, if someone intentionally vandalizes the elevator, the corporation may bill the responsible homeowner for the cost of repairs.
🍲If your kitchen sink is clogged, you are responsible for clearing the blockage. However, if the blockage is in the building's main drain line, the corporation is responsible for fixing it.
Reporting Issues and Requesting Service
🧑💼 If you notice a maintenance issue in your condo, it's important to report it as soon as possible. Here are the 3 steps you should take:
Determine the type of issue (in-suite or common element) and who is responsible for addressing it.
Contact your property manager or maintenance staff and report the issue. Be as specific as possible and provide any relevant details or photos.
Follow up with the property manager to ensure that the issue is being addressed in a timely manner.
It's also important to avoid common mistakes when reporting maintenance issues. For example, don't assume that someone else has already reported the issue, and don't dela
y in reporting an issue because you're unsure of who is responsible for addressing it.
Additional Important Information for Homeowners
Here are three more important things to keep in mind when dealing with maintenance and service requests in your condo:
Routine maintenance vs. major repairs: Routine maintenance (such as changing light bulbs or cleaning the carpets) is typically the responsibility of the homeowner. Major repairs (such as fixing a leaky roof or repairing a broken elevator) are typically the responsibility of the condo corporation.
Keep records and documentation: Keep a record of any maintenance issues you report and any communication you have with the property manager or maintenance staff. This can be helpful if there are disputes or misunderstandings later on.
Prepare for a maintenance inspection: Condo corporations may conduct routine maintenance inspections to identify potential issues before they become major problems. To prepare for an inspection, make sure your in-suite area is clean and tidy, and ensure that any minor maintenance issues (like a leaky faucet) are addressed beforehand.
In conclusion, maintaining a condo can be a complex task, but by understanding the responsibilities of homeowners vs. the corporation, reporting issues in a timely manner, and keeping records and documentation, you can help ensure a smooth and well-maintained living environment for yourself and your fellow homeowners.
If you have any questions or concerns about maintenance issues in your condo, don't hesitate to reach out to your property manager or maintenance staff for guidance.
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