With the explosion of condominium interest in the Greater Toronto Area, there’s no shortage of news coverage about this unique form of ownership. A question we often hear in sales offices is, “What do I actually own when I buy a suite in a highrise building?”
The answer is that you own your suite and the exclusive use of the balcony or terrace, if the design includes one. Unit owners have the same rights as lowrise owners in the sense that you can mortgage your home, sell it or lease it.
In addition, you own a percentage interest of all the common elements in the building such as the amenity spaces and lobby. Your maintenance fee is calculated from the square footage of your suite. You share the exclusive use of the amenities and responsibility for their cleaning, upkeep and repair with the other residents of the building. This is a major difference between condominium ownership and traditional lowrise ownership, for which you look after all these things yourself. A major reason for choosing condo living is to enjoy the carefree lifestyle of leaving maintenance to someone else.
That “someone else” is the condo board of directors, which hires a professional management company. The corporation sees that everything in the building is kept in tip-top shape and also administers the reserve fund, which covers any expenses incurred in the upkeep, repair, improvements and landscaping of the building as time goes on.
Of course, as a condo resident, you agree to abide by the rules and regulations set up and enforced by the condominium corporation. This helps to preserve a high quality of life for all residents and protect your investment. The set-up of the condominium corporation and condo documents is important to quality of life. This ensures consideration and co-operation in keeping the building as safe and well maintained as possible, as well as assuring that your rights as an owner are upheld.
If you have already bought a condo suite or are shopping for one, you already understand the draw of having niceties such as a party room, swimming pool, library and theatre room under your roof, without the hassle and worry of having to take care of them. Condominiums offer an exciting and convenient way of life. It is a glorious luxury to know that professionals are mowing your lawn, keeping the gardens watered and weeded, cleaning the lobby and amenity spaces, repairing faulty equipment and the like. The fact that these areas are being maintained for you means that you have more time to enjoy them. So, what do you get when you buy a condominium suite? A wonderful lifestyle and a solid investment!