What is a condo corporation, and why should I care?

What is a condo corporation, and why should I care?

A condominium corporation is the legal entity that represents and governs the condo building. And you should care because as a condo owner, you’re a partner in it: every unit owner is a shareholder in a building's corporation. As owners, you own the building and the business, together. You make decisions together, and share in the costs of keeping it clean and in good repair with your maintenance fees.

Of course, having hundreds of people decide on a new paint colour for the lobby is a bit silly, so condo corps elect a Board of Directors to do that sort of thing. This group manages the condo’s reserve fund and has the power to determine or change building rules, as long as they respect the Ontario Condominium Act.

Every condominium has a corporation number. You can see a building's corp number on its page on condos.ca. For example, here's the building page for the Shangri-La on University.

What’s a Board of Directors?

It’s a small council made up of elected (and volunteer) unit owners who oversee the corporation’s business needs. They often have sub-committees for things like summer gardening or redecorating common areas, or organizing events like summer barbecues, etc. Anyone can run for the Board.

What does a property manager do?

They make recommendations to the board, maintain and manage the condo’s common elements, usually overseeing security and maintenance and other day-to-day stuff. Larger decisions, however, rest with the Board.

How a hole in the ground becomes a condominium corporation

Going from construction to condominium to condominium corporation is complicated and can take up to 5 years.

Here's how it works:

  • A condo project is approved by the local municipality.

  • The project is announced and sales open. Developers are required to sell at least 70% of a project before construction can begin.

  • Construction starts.

  • The occupancy period begins: buyers move in as floors are finished

  • Registration: the building becomes a condominium and receives its corporation number.

  • Turnover meeting: this is where the building's developer “gives” the condo to the owners.

  • The first Condo Board is elected and building rules are set.

  • The Condo Board and property management company bring deficiencies (building issues or unfinished work) to the developer (this continues for as long as needed).

  • One year after turnover: the Annual General Meeting of owners

  • So now that you’re in-the-know about what a condo is and how a condo corp works, it’s time to get ready to start your search!

So now that you’re in-the-know about what a condo is and how a condo corp works, it’s time to get ready to start your search!

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