Understanding Your Condo Ownership in Calgary
When you think about owning a condominium, do you really understand to the full extent of what you own or are planning on buying sometime in the future? It’s important that you do!
When buying a single-family home you and I both know that the purchaser owns the land and everything on it. Condos are quite different compared to their residential counterparts.
The term “condominium” is actually a system of land ownership where an individual can obtain “ownership of an area within a shared parcel of land.” Another definition: ” the ownership of a space stacked above ground.”
With that in mind, the term “condominium” can apply to several different types and styles of properties, not just simply the apartment-style condos but also villas, townhomes, bare land condos and more.
A condominium contains both condo units and common property. Each owner gets their own unit while the rest of the areas are either common property or shared common property and are owned by the condominium corporation.
In all types of condominiums the term “unit” means “ownership.” Anything that is part of your unit is your own private space and exclusively owned by you.
As an owner, you are responsible for the the upkeep and maintenance of everything defined as within your unit’s boundaries. Usually it’s pretty straight-forward, but if it’s unclear you can (and should) read the condo documents!
This is why it’s very important as a condo buyer to determine what is and isn’t contained within the boundaries of a unit. This is especially true if you plan on doing renovations at some point in the future, among other things.
- Also see our Calgary Condo Guide to Condo Documents today
Find Out What’s Included in Your Unit
For example, are the parking and storage spaces included or are they a separate unit all together? Maybe your parking space is leased or assigned? If something has it’s own “unit” then it will have it’s own land title certificate showing ownership.
You’ll also want to determine what the wall boundaries are. In some condominiums the unit boundary is described as the centre line of a shared wall, while in others it’s the backside of the interior drywall of a shared wall. A shared wall is a dividing wall that separates units and / or common property from one another.
Another example would be that in many high-rise condo buildings in Calgary it’s not uncommon for the door to be considered as part of the common property. Therefore, it would be illegal for you to replace the door or its hardware by any means.
The common property of a condominium includes spaces that are used by all residents, such as:
- heating / cooling system
- rooftop patio
- party room
- fitness studio
These are identified in the condominium plan as the areas remaining after individually owned units have been established. The common property is owned and maintained by the board of directors of the condo corporation or the home owners association.
Each unit owner pays monthly fees (also known as “condo fees”) to upkeep and maintain the common property. These fees are typically assessed by the amount of square footage within a unit.
- Learn more at our Calgary Condo Guide to Condo Fees today
Sometimes there are parts of a building shared by more than one, but not all owners of a condominium. These may be spaces, internal components or systems outside of a unit but allocated only for that unit’s use, such as:
- balconies / porches
- laundry facilities
- parking / storage spaces
- specific heating / cooling systems
- ducts, wires, chutes
- window coverings / window boxes
- awnings / pegolahs
When in doubt what is and isn’t limited common property, make sure to always refer to the condo documents. Responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of these areas depends on what it is and the rules of the condo corporation. They may or may not be for you to take care of, shared with other owners!
Calgary Condo Guide
Questions about Condos in Calgary?
As a highly experienced condo specialist and REALTOR® in Calgary, I promise to maximize the value in the transaction for your benefit and ensure your best interests are protected at all times!
Contact me today directly at 403-370-4180 or send a message below for a quick, if not immediate response. I am looking forward to helping you accomplish your condo goals!