What’s Yours And What’s Shared In A Condo?
Last year, Ontarians moved into approximately 20,000 new condominiums units across the province. This lifestyle is attracting both young and old, who want to live where they work and relax, and want access to the impressive amenities like pools, fitness facilities, party rooms, picnic spaces and even theatres.
Another benefit of purchasing a new condominium is the mandatory warranty that is provided by your builder, and backed by Tarion.
When you own a condominium unit, there are distinct boundaries between your unit and what is shared by everyone in your building. The warranty for your individual unit is separate from that of shared common elements. Your unit’s warranty covers you for things like deposit protection and delayed closing before you move in, and then a wide range of issues after you take possession, including unauthorized substitutions of items agreed to in the purchase agreement, defects to the electrical, heating and plumbing systems owned by your unit, issues with water penetration, violations of the Ontario Building Code and major structural defects. As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to understand and manage the warranty that comes with your individual condo unit and to submit warranty claims on a timely basis.
But what about the shared elements in your condo? All condos come with some common elements. These elements, like roofing, parking structures, exterior cladding, and some mechanical systems, are covered under a common element warranty that is managed by your condo’s board of directors.
The role of the board
Any warranty claims relating to the condominium’s common elements must be dealt with by the board of directors, but as a unit owner you should report any common element issues to the board in writing.The board of directors is made up of a group of unit owners who are elected to run the condominium corporation on behalf of all unit owners. The board will identify a designate who will act as the representative if a warranty claim is made. Many boards choose to have a property management company fulfill this role.
Managing the common elements warranty
It is the role of the condo board to arrange for a post-construction performance audit. The audit will determine whether there are any major deficiencies in the common elements and will report them to the builder and to Tarion.
Once a claim is submitted, the builder has 18 months to complete the required repairs.
After an inspection, Tarion will issue a report listing any items that are covered under warranty and provide 90 days for the builder to complete any outstanding work. If the repairs aren’t completed, Tarion will work directly with the condo corporation to settle the matter.
Your builder is required to provide you with a Homeowner Information Package, explaining what is and isn’t covered in your individual unit, how to make a claim and when to involve Tarion. Electrical, heating and plumbing systems may be considered part of the common elements and not your individual unit. Check your unit boundary document. It should clearly outline what is unit owned and what is owned by the common elements.
More information is available at tarion.com.