When people refer to a condominium, they are typically speaking of a form of ownership as opposed to a place to make a home. They are often thought of as being high-rise residential buildings, but could be applied to townhouse complexes, individual houses and low-rise residential buildings. In British Columbia they are known as strata and in Quebec they are referred to syndicates of co-ownership as opposed to the condominiums in Ottawa.
Condos consist of two parts. The first part is a collection of private dwellings called “units”. Each unit is owned by and registered in the name of the purchaser of the unit. The second part consists of the common elements of the building that may include lobbies, hallways, elevators, recreational facilities, walkways, gardens, etc. Common elements may also include structural elements and mechanical and electrical services. The ownership of these common elements is shared amongst the individual unit owners, as is the cost for their operation, maintenance and ongoing replacement.
Each unit owner has an undivided interest in the common elements of the building. This ownership interest is often referred to as a “unit factor”. The unit factor for any particular unit will generally be calculated in proportion to the value that the unit has in relation to the total value of all of the units in the condominium corporation. The unit factor will tell you what your ownership percentage is in the common elements and will be used in calculating the monthly fees that you must pay towards their upkeep and renewal.
The creation of a condo is regulated by provincial or territorial condominium legislation and municipal guidelines. It can be created in many different ways. In some provinces, a developer, or other interested party, may register a declaration to create a condominium, while in others, an application may be made to have title issued for the units pursuant to an “approved plan of condominium.” The operation of condominiums is also governed by provincial or territorial legislation and the condominium corporation's own declaration, by-laws and rules.
Once a condominium corporation has been established, a Board of Directors, elected by, and generally made up of, the individual condominium owners, takes responsibility for the management of the corporation's business affairs. There is usually a turnover meeting where this transfer of responsibility takes place. Each unit owner has voting rights at meetings. Your voting rights will generally be in proportion to your unit factor.
Your Guide to Ottawa Condos