What is a Condominium Declaration and Why Does It Matter?
A few years ago, one of the local condominium communities in Collingwood ran into some controversy. A group of owners in one of the developments corporations wanted to exit from the shared facilities agreement. Basically, they no longer wanted to be part of the shared amenities nor did they wish to pay for it. Had they succeeded, it could have had a dramatic impact on the remaining owners who would have had to shoulder the increased costs among fewer units. In the end, nothing changed and that has everything to do with the Condominium Act.
If you are buying into a condo project, you certainly want to know what you are buying into and who is paying for it, right? When you purchase a unit, you will receive a copy of the Declaration as part of the status certificate package and the Declaration sets out, among other things, what the common elements are and for whose use and enjoyment. What if a group of owners wants to change this? For example, open up facilities to the public to reduce operational costs?
A Declaration of a condominium corporation can only be changed in accordance with section 107 of the Condominium Act. Basically it requires a resolution of the board approving the proposed amendment and, depending on what is being changed, either 80% or 90% of the votes of the owners at a meeting, and notification to all mortgagees.
Basically, the Declaration is like the constitution of a condominium corporation. It provides a unit boundary description (is the attic part of the unit or is it a common element?) as well as any common elements that have exclusive use such as patios, storage lockers and parking spots. It also sets out each units share of common expenses and, it describes the recreational facilities and how they are to be used.
I think many people generally ignore this thick and difficult to read document however, as a condominium corporation director and owner myself, I know that it has become very important to understand in many instances.