The condo corporation has a general duty under the Condominium Property Act (CPA) to control, manage and administer its real, personal, common and managed property. It also has an ongoing duty for future maintenance and replacement of depreciating property through a reserve fund. This section will explain these duties.
General duty to repair and maintain
The condo corporation has a general duty under the Condominium Property Act (CPA) to repair and maintain its real, personal, common and managed property. Common property is anything in a condominium complex not contained within the boundaries of a condominium unit. Common property is jointly owned by all owners. Managed property is any unit or part of a unit that a corporation is required by bylaw to maintain, repair or replace.
As part of its general duty to repair and maintain, the condo corporation must also follow repair notices or orders made by municipal or public authorities.
Tips for condo boards:
- Check the bylaws for additional duties of the corporation to maintain and repair property.
- Unless the bylaws say otherwise, the condo corporation is generally not responsible for repairs within condominium units. Owners are responsible for repairing and maintaining anything within their condominium unit such as the fridge or dishwasher.
- Experts recommend having a list of competent, reputable contractors or supplier network at hand to help facilitate condo repairs.
- If there is an issue over the responsibility for repairs or with contractors, a board should consult with a lawyer for advice.
Duty to repair and replace depreciating property
The condo corporation has an ongoing duty for future maintenance and replacement of depreciating property through a reserve fund. Under the CPA, a condo corporation must create and maintain a reserve fund with enough money to cover major repairs and replacement of things like the roof, central heating, electrical system, doors and exterior siding.
As part of the condo corporation’s duty to create and maintain a reserve fund, it must retain a reserve fund study provider to carry out a study of the property, who will then produce a reserve fund report with recommendations to the board. The condo corporation must then create a reserve fund plan based on the report so that it can determine the amounts needed through condominium contributions, special levies, or some other method to finance and maintain the reserve fund.
The reserve fund plan should reflect the recommendations in the reserve fund report. Otherwise, there can be potential problems including:
- Large increases in condominium contributions or major special levies
- Financial stress to unit owners and
- Loss of value in units, which may make the units difficult to sell.
Repairs to units
Condominium corporations must make repairs to a unit (including fixtures and finishing) that are within their responsibility to insure. Condominium corporations are not responsible for repairs to property that they are not required to insure. Owners are responsible for all other repairs to the units, including improvements made by the owner or property that is the owner’s responsibility to insure under the bylaws.
Condominium corporations must repair a unit according to its standard insurable unit description except in certain circumstances, for example:
- the owner has insured improvements or is willing to pay for improvements to the unit as an out-of-pocket expense
- the owner is willing to pay the costs of repairing absent, destroyed or partially damaged property (where at least one of the items is described as fixtures and finishing) or
- the fixtures and finishing in the unit were installed below the standard insurable unit description
Condominium corporations can make unit owners responsible for repairs, or arranging for and supervising unit repairs under the bylaws.
In certain situations, a condominium corporation can make repairs to a unit and then bill the owner for them. For example, a condominium corporation can make, arrange for and supervise repairs when:
- the owner fails to make repairs, putting public safety, the common property, other units, occupants, personal property in common property or other units at risk
- the unit owner or owner’s agent has not started repairs within a reasonable amount of time and
- the corporation has provided reasonable notice to the owner
In such a situation, the owner is liable for paying the corporation for the prudent costs of the corporation’s actions in making, arranging for and supervising repairs.
Corporations can recover an insurance deductible up to $50,000 from an owner if damage originated in the owner’s unit. To learn more about insurance and deductibles, go to the Insurance section of this website.
How does a condo corporation pay for repairs and maintenance?
Condo contributions (fees) are set to help pay for repairs and maintenance. These contributions go towards the corporation’s operating account (which covers the control, management and administrative expenses for the corporation’s real and personal property, as well as common property and managed property) and to the reserve fund. Contributions are calculated based on unit factors unless the Condominium Property Regulation or bylaws say otherwise.
The board also has the power to levy a special levy in certain situations. For example, unexpected shortfalls that are not covered by the operating account or to increase the balance of the reserve fund to meet the requirements in a reserve fund plan. Each owner’s payment of a special levy is calculated based on their unit factor unless the Condominium Property Regulation or bylaws say otherwise.
The cost of some repairs may be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance policy. Condominium corporations should check their insurance policy carefully to help determine which repairs, if any, can be covered by their policy.
Last updated: January 2020