What Does It Mean To Live In A Condominium/Strata?

Have you ever tried to define a condominium? When I first entered the condominium management business, I sat down with the owner of the company that had hired me. He was a pioneer in the industry, having started his company in the late 1970’s. His first question – “What is a condominium?” Like many would, I began describing the different types of buildings that visibly appear as condominium units, not a single answer was correct. He took what I had tried to complicate and very clearly defined a condominium and condominium living as a lifestyle. Now having committed many years to condominium management, I nod my head in understanding and agreement; it is a lifestyle choice.

When you purchase in a condominium community, you are purchasing an individual unit and choosing to share the use and expense of the common elements with the other shareholders in your corporation. By sharing those common elements, you are agreeing to have the corporation care be responsible for their daily operation, maintenance and management.  Depending on the type of structure you purchase, the common elements can include building heating, parking and hallway lighting, water, sewer, insurance, landscaping, snow removal, building maintenance, amenities and their buildings, elevators, future repairs, parking and roadways.

A little important advice. Always make sure you read the bylaws and regulations prior to purchasing to ensure the condominium community you are choosing melds with your lifestyle.

This is where the lifestyle benefit occurs. No longer are you required to physically participate in the maintenance of the exterior of the unit. Your investment is being protected and you are able to simply lock the door and use you time for other pursuits knowing that when you return, your asset will have been well cared for. 

The reserve fund study identifies all the assets of the Corporation and determines the remaining life of those components.  Further, it outlines a funding model for the Corporation so that they have enough money to pay for the asset failures at the end of their life or repairs in order to extend the life of the asset. 

The reserve fund study must be undertaken by a qualified person as outlined in the Act.  The Board of Directors should be sure to check the credentials of any contractor they intend to hire to do the study for the Corporation.  Most companies will include an update report if major repairs or changes have happened during the 5 year period between Reserve Fund Studies at no extra charge.