The practical distinctions between buying a condominium and buying property can sometimes be confusing. Here are a few points to illustrate what you are buying when you buy a condo. The exact definition of what you own and what you are responsible for, i.e. what is your unit, should be outlined in your Condominium Corporation's Declaration.
The walls - You often will own the inside wall and floor, but not anything past that. Meaning the portion of the wall and floor that is directly used by/attached to your unit alone. The floors and walls that touch onto the hallway or other units belong to the condo corporation. The same thing applies to the floor; portion that would form a portion of the ceiling of another unit. However, each condo corporation outlines these details in its declaration, and it may differ from corporation to corporation. It is important to get those details about your particular unit.
Plumbing and electrical – Often you own; the plumbing and electrical that service only your unit. Anything that is common is the property of the condo corporation.
Parking spot and storage unit - These often form parts of your unit, as it were, but always consult the declaration for that corporation to be sure.
You are assigned “ownership” of a percentage of the common elements.
While you are not directly an owner of any of the common area or outside of the building etc. you are responsible as an owner in the complex to contribute to the maintenance of those features. Regular repairs will often be covered by your contribution of monthly condo fees. However, for major repairs the condo corporation can do a special assessment, and ask the owners for additional funds to cover that particular cost. Those costs are supposed to be covered by the reserve fund, but it is not guaranteed that there will be enough in the reserve fund to cover more costly expenses, like repaving the parking lot, or replacing the roof on the building.
The exact details of your unit will be outlined in your condo corporation’s declaration. The details may not be the same for each corporation so be sure to get the details for your particular unit/corporation.
Also check out our blog on Estoppel Certificates and Why You Need one when buying a Condo in Nova Scotia and if you’re considering a bare land condo our blog on that topic as well.
Contact us for advice
If you have any questions about this subject, you can call us at (902) 826-3070 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting with one of our lawyers at our Tantallon law firm. You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.
By: Briana C. O’Grady J.D – Associate Lawyer
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